Thursday, August 7, 2008

Business Beginnings

I had a home business for many years making and selling dolls. I had always made dolls for my children. The top 2 pics show me in 1976 with my sons Eben and baby Andy, and a doll I'd made for Andy that Christmas. We were on a shoe string budget back then, so I made Andy that doll from an old red, white and blue striped knee sock. Years later when Andy could talk, he named the doll Champion. "Champ" survived being manhandled by all 5 of my children, and my youngest child, Alec, particularly loved him. When Alec was around 7 or 8 years old, he asked me if I would make him a new sock cat of his own. This led to the manufacture of many sock cats including a trio of tiny dolls made from infant socks. Alec and his friends played with his cat dolls for hours on end. In the winter of 1992 I made polar fleece bathrobes as Christmas gifts for everyone in the family and had a bunch of scraps left over. Alec was still demanding more cats to play with and I was running out of socks, so I figured I'd try to sew a doll from the polar fleece scraps. After a few attempts, I'd made a prototype that satisfied Allie and his friends. My husband observed how much the kids loved and played with these dolls, and suggested that I try to market them. Allie's Cats was born.

You see here my first tags, which were all hand colored (yikes!) and my crude drawings of the dolls. I hired a friend who was a web designer to make me a business card and catalog drawings based on my designs. Posted here are her wonderful computer drawings.
I sold my dolls at craft fairs and through retail stores, and finally in a couple of catalogues.
The last pic posted here is a page from an LL Bean Christmas catalogue that featured my Mainer Cat in 1998.

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