Far from the traditional outfits you’d usually find on these pretty dolls, Sew Fun Doll Clothes specializes in making offbeat and fantastical outfits that any one of us would LOVE to have! It seems almost unfair that the dolls get all the fun. The lovely Urban Entrepreneur Cher joins us today to tell us how she made a growing biz out of making one-of-a-kind embroidered outfits.
I assume the love of dolls and doll clothes came first. What got you into all that?
I’ve been sewing since junior high, but started sewing doll clothes when my daughters got their American Girl dolls as gifts many years ago. I loved the historical outfits and stories those early Pleasant Company dolls came with, but since we couldn’t afford to buy that many doll clothes back then, I started sewing for my daughters’ dolls.
My girls are now grown and on their own, but making doll clothes gives me an excuse to still play with dolls!
What then started you into embroidery?
Several years ago I was using a Brother sewing/embroidery machine as a back-up machine, but I had never used the embroidery attachment. On a whim, I decided it was about time to see what it could do … and as anyone who has done machine embroidery knows, it didn’t take long to become completely addicted! It was only a matter of months before I outgrew that little Brother machine and upgraded to a Viking embroidery machine so I could do bigger and better things.
What made you take the plunge into starting your own store?
I love sewing, I love making doll clothes, and if I didn’t sell what I make, or want to make, I’d run out of room to store all my creations. I opened my Etsy shop, SewFunDollClothes, in 2008 to fund my addiction! And I am so grateful that people like my doll clothes enough to keep me sewing full time.
Where did you first find Urban Threads?
I saw several Etsy sellers using UT designs on baby clothes and thought it would be fun to play with putting some of UT’s designs on my doll clothes. Did a quick Google search, landed on your website. Perfect timing too – it was right when I was starting to prep for Halloween, and there are no better Halloween designs than UT!
My Stitch Witch Halloween outfit did so well, I knew immediately that I would be using Urban Threads designs a lot more from then on.
What kinds of folks are your customers? Who do you hope to cater to?
I sew for a wide range of customers. When I first started my shop, it was moms and grandmas buying gifts for their daughters who love all things girly. I still love creating the cute girly outfits for them, as that’s where I got my start. There is also a growing number people looking for doll clothes for boy dolls – moms, grandmas buying for their sons’ boy dolls, and adult doll collectors customizing their American Girl dolls into boys.
Once I started using UT’s designs, I was able to offer gothic, fantasy, and steampunk doll outfits to teen and adult doll collectors adding to their collections. I love the diversity of my customers, I never get bored with just one style.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?
Biggest lesson for me was that, while it can often take me longer to get decent photos than sewing the outfit did, getting good photos is extremely important, especially when presenting outfits for doll collectors. I’m still learning which backgrounds and lighting work the best, how to take a decent close-up, and even which doll model shows off the outfit best. With what I know now, I really wish I could go back and re-take photos of some of the outfits I’ve done in the past!
Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?
When I started my shop on Etsy, I never could have anticipated where it would be today. It seems to work best when I let my creative whims lead the way! But I’m pretty sure it will include more steampunk, some adventurous outfits for boy dolls, and some UT designs on leather.
I am just in love will all these little outfits. That steampunk dress and the tiny matching top hat? To die for. Seriously, I wonder if we could briber her into turning these out in slightly larger sizes? It’s always so fun to see someone who gets to turn a passionate hobby into a thriving business. There’s nothing better than doing what you love! Thanks, Cher, for sharing your story with us. If you love her stuff, be sure to visit her super cute Etsy store to see even more.
Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!