On this very rare sunny day, I am just sitting on my couch and watch the shadows reflected on a colorful surface. The sun shines through my window, the gray days of November are just behind us and December has already started. The days are so short on this part of the world, that even my eight years old daughter complains that time passes too quickly.
I didn't even realize that I haven't written anything on my blog since summer.
I had been thinking about life, and my doll making adventure within my life: how to place this passion into it. Most probably it is not a surprise to read for many of you that it was not my main job from the beginning on. It started somehow, because I love to make dolls. And with time it started taking more importance as well as time. So I came to a point, I have to decide, will I make this my main job. Can I replace my 'real' job with my doll making. I had to decide, as I already have my family, kids and work. The day is short and somehow the time for 'hobbies' is getting less and less.
So I concentrated on the questions: what do I want to do to earn my living, can I do it with my doll making so that I can replace my actual work. I thought, I am happy with it if I earn less than what I earn now, in order to commit myself to my passion fully.
Last year I attended to the International Waldorf Doll Seminar in Holland. I needed to see the community to which I belong, or wanted to belong, as well as refining my doll making skills. As I was there I once more saw: "yes this is it!"
Although doll making is a work of solitude, as we are social animals, we need our community, also as a doll maker. I had already contacted couple of my favorite local doll makers in Berlin and organised a regular meeting to drink a coffee together while we are chatting together about doll making in real life.
In our latest meeting, we all brought one of our dolls with us. (I took two :) )
It was so lovely to see their beautiful dolls and talk about us. I was at that moment thinking of giving up the professional path as a doll maker. As all my calculations did not help to reach the amount that I needed to earn for living. I either needed to sell them for higher prices or stop dreaming. Most creative people know this dilemma. I needed my friends helping me in this. That's why I took two of my latest dolls. These two are intended for adult collectors and made in a complex way, with needle felting technique, the head and the whole body! Their hair is made from high quality alpaca locks. Their dresses were made with beautiful fabrics and a lot of patience. I knew they had to be priced higher than my children dolls, but it was still hard to take that step. What will my actual customers think? Will they think I am getting greedy? Will they understand my decision? How many of them will I loose? Will I reach other people who would appreciate my new dolls? ... So many questions...
So I went to meet my friends, with two dolls in my bag, and my heart full of insecurities...
We sat at a lovely coffee, which Laura recommended us, although she couldn't attend. Julia, Maike and Maria and I ordered the avocado sandwiches, which Laura highly recommended.
The first subject we had was about Julia's dolls. I had coincidentally saw pictures of 'her dolls' in one of the facebook sale groups. I wondered, as I knew that she is not present in Facebook at
all. So I checked the post, and saw that it was from someone else. The dolls were to the details of the clothing exactly the same with Julia's. I was very upset, as I knew Julia is one of
those doll makers who is completely earning her living with it. I wrote her an email to inform her. As we met I wanted to know if she did anything about it. Julia is such a lovely person. She
went to the web page of that lady, selling 'her dolls' and saw that she had four children. Instead of contacting her, she decided to do nothing, as she felt emphatic with her. "You know she has
four kids and probably needs that additional money she earns with the dolls. I can only wish her luck."
after talking about Maike's new project we all took our dolls from our bags. Every one of them was special in its own way.
I told them about my feelings, and that I couldn't decide what to do, what to ask for for my new dolls. They all told the same price, what I was also thinking after having calculated all the time and the material costs etc. It was a relief hearing from experienced doll makers that I was right. But taking the step to put the dolls on my shop with higher prices was also not an easy one. Julia told me she will check my shop and call me once a week to put pressure on me until I put them onto my shop. An she really did :)
So I also did. It was such a stress and stomach pain, but the both of the dolls were sold within the first ten minutes.
With my doll making workshops and collector doll's, I am reaching more or less to that amount which I calculated for my living. It is not very easy to learn living with insecurity about your income. It is every month another amount, depending on your productivity as well as your customers. But still for me it is worth taking the risk and trying. As for me, the satisfaction I have from my job is very important. I love having the personal contact to my customers. It is not about selling dolls, it is about taking part to the happiness of other people, making them smile may be even giggle. I love hearing them saying "thank you, you made my day shine" or " your doll gives me exactly that comfort I needed during these hard times I am going through"... Of course I can give my dolls as gifts, but how long and how many? If I want to continue doing this, I need to have a plan which functions. I am glad I had built a network of friends who support me in my doll making adventure. That is the key idea, what I would share with anyone who is thinking about a doll maker's career: find friends who share the same passion, who are around you, whom you can meet and share experiences, ask questions, ask for help. Just do it. I wrote these four doll makers who live in Berlin an email, a very personal two a years ago, without knowing if they would ever answer. It was so beautiful and heart warming reading their responses, and meeting them in person. Use any opportunity to meet other doll makers, other doll lovers. And start creating, first just for yourselves, then for other people.
I am curious where your journey will take you to. I am curious where my journey takes me to...