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WAHM > Stay at Home Mom Work Ideas > Traditional Product > Start a Doll Making Business

Start a Doll Maker Business

What you will be doing.  Custom made crafts are novelty items that sell well as keepsakes.  Dolls are no exception.  They can be wooden, made of cloth, stuffed, or made from straw.  Children have been playing with and collecting dolls for centuries. 

Dolls made of fabric alone are hand crafted with permanent clothing or can be dressed up.  Their faces are painted on and their hair is sewn onto the head.  Stuffed dolls can be made from a pattern that is preprinted with faces and clothing.  Wooden dolls can have hinged joints for better play.  They can have painted on clothing or be dressed by the doll owner. 

How to start.  Before you start, creating a business plan will benefit your efforts to secure a business loan.  A business plan aids in determining what you will need to start your business in the way of supplies and equipment.  The supplies vary between each type of doll. 

Permits and licenses for manufacturing and running a doll business may be required where you live.  Checking into this before you set up shop can avoid problems later.  Registering your business name is wise, especially if you set up a website with the same name.  A title search can tell you if your choice has already been taken.

Starting costs.  Here again, it depends on what dolls you plan to create and sell.  For a sufficient inventory of dolls to sell, consider spending around $1,000-$3,000.  The dolls will need clothing to wear and separate outfits for sale.  Advertising your dolls is included in this price as well.  Ads need to be run and flyers will need to be printed.  Online advertising and association dues (if any) for professional crafting organizations, should be considered as an advertising expense. 

You can keep track of inventory, orders, and bookkeeping with computer software.  Other equipment to manufacture your dolls will need to be purchased or rented.  Renting may work better if you are considering a trial run with the business and don’t want to invest too much money. 

Skills needed.  Creativity and artistic skill are needed for doll making.  Knowledge of doll repair is a useful skill that can expand your business.  Dolls are a personal item so customer service is important.  The product should be beautifully made and durable.  If there are any problems, be ready to offer solutions to your customers. 

Marketing.  Give a few of your dolls as gifts to friends and family members.  Make sure that they each contain your label so admirers will know where to get theirs.  Ads in trade papers and town newsletters let people know that you exist.   

Setting up shop at flea markets gives customers a chance to touch and feel sample dolls and view the accessories you offer for the dolls.  You have time to explain your artwork and show what the dolls were created for.  This is a forum for you to shine without having to knock on doors. 

As an expansion tool, use your knowledge of doll repair to offer additional services to customers.  To protect yourself, draw up a contract that explains what is considered repairable and what is not.  This avoids conflict with the customer who engages your services for an issue that is not able to be fixed.  Offering warranties that replace the doll if beyond repair may be more popular for customers that purchase more expensive dolls.  

Dolls are a treasure that last for generations.  They never go out of style.  Your business can be manufacture and repair them which make it a more marketable idea.

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