JoellesDolls has been selling on Etsy since January 2007, they sell beautiful unique art dolls and cloth dolls. Today they are going to give us a little peak behind the scenes of their Etsy shop.
What motivated you to start your shop?
I had been selling my one of a kind handmade cloth dolls at arts and crafts shows in Upstate New York. I wanted to reach a wider market. So I opened a JoellesDolls shop on Etsy in 2007. It was my first online shop, and it worked. I sold my first doll on Etsy to a customer in California. That was pretty exciting. Since then, I've shipped dolls throughout the U.S. and to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, South Korea, Spain and the United Kingdom. Someday, I hope there will be one of Joelle's Dolls on every continent.
What is the story behind your shop name?
My mom named me Joelle after a nun who was my brother's kindergarten teacher, Sister Mary Joelle. My husband said my name is pretty and unusual, and recommended I use it as my shop name.
What is your favourite creations from your shop?
I make a variety of dolls, from mini dolls and dress up dolls that are mostly aimed at children, to very fancy collectible dolls. Over the years, I have made original characters that are angels, brides and grooms, ballerinas and bikers, cowboys and farmers, fairies, mermaids, nuns, princesses, pirates and witches. All of my dolls come from my own original designs and no two are exactly alike.
My favorite dolls to make are girls with fancy outfits. I love going through my stash of fabrics, imagining an outfit, and selecting the material and trims to make it.
What do you find most challenging about being an Etsy seller?
Getting my dolls seen on Etsy is the toughest challenge. The marketplace is so big, it is hard to get noticed. Allowing shops to sell items on Etsy that are not handmade has made it even more difficult. I try to drive traffic to my Etsy shop using an off-site JoellesDolls.com website, a Joelle's Dolls page on Facebook, and a Joelle's Dolls account on Twitter.
What do you do when you aren't working?
I am a mom to three grown sons who are creative. One is a cartoonist and illustrator, one a writer, and one is a guitarist in a punk rock band.
In addition to being a dollmaker, I have another unusual job, working at a Syracuse teaching hospital as a standardized patient. Standardized patients are people who help train the resident doctors and med students. We are given a script with a character that has specific ailments. We act as patients during simulated visits to the doctor so that the students can practice giving examinations and their diagnostic and communication skills. Sometimes I have my heart listened to six times a day.
Anything else you'd like to tell us or share?
I love cats. If my husband would agree to it, I would have a house full of cats. But I only have two right now. So I make a lot of cat dolls.