I have been thinking a lot about dolls and my doll business lately. And my hobby slump. It's a super weird place I am in. I am also in the place where my paychecks from school are about to get sadly small again. I didn't make a ton extra as a sub, but it was noticeable. Now I have to go back to HAVING to make the doll things to make enough to try to just get by. Costs of everything have gone up quite a lot. My school paychecks have never been enough to cover things. I have been in a very tricky place with not making enough at school to pay for living expenses, but also not having any energy to make dolls to supplement. I am hoping that now I will be back to having a normal amount of energy so I can make dolls after school instead of just staring at the wall or watching TV without functioning. Teaching was hard. It took ALL of my energy.
Last week I asked for ideas on what type of dolls I should make. I got a lot of great suggestions, though some of them are not things I can make unless they were ordered. A specialty doll usually takes quite a bit more time than a typical rider doll. And unless someone specifically wanted that type of doll it may potentially just sit for a very long time without anyone purchasing it. I wish I didn't have to consider money when I make things, but I don't have that luxury. One of the suggestions was for more youth dolls. Well, I can manage that!
Teresa Buzzell routinely sends me photos of interesting riding outfits she finds, in case I want to use them for doll inspiration. She also sent me a photo of a really amazing hat that I may have to make... because I love cool hats! Which is funny because I really am not a hat maker. But we all know I make driving dolls so I can make cool hats. Anyway, Teresa sends me inspirational photos often. And I appreciate it. I was scrolling through them again to see what I should make next. And I have a really cool idea that I want to get into. Now to see if I can find the fabric for it. This rainbow youth doll is nothing like the photo Teresa sent. Other than it being a little blond girl with black chaps and rainbows in her shirt. The actual shirt was totally different! My brain told me that this is what it looked like. So this is what my doll looks like, lol. She is currently for sale, $230 plus shipping.
In other weird places in my brain, I am still planning on having another live sale (mid-August) but I also kind of don't want to do it. They are a TON of work to set up. And then of course I have to commit to not only several hours of work (setting up, on camera, etc.) on sale day, but also several days of concentrated effort to invoice, pack, ship, all the things. It's a lot of work. It's a lot of work making enough things, in enough of a variety, that people can maybe get the things they want. And maybe also make the shipping charges worth it. Because we all know that shipping costs are insane these days too. Anyway, my brain has kind of been telling me not to make more miniatures, since what I can charge for them kind of makes it not worth my time. My brain has kind of been telling me to just list what I have and not bother with a live sale. But my smart-brain says I should at least finish the batch of miniatures that I started. My smart-brain says that a live sale IS a lot of work, but it is fun and usually profitable (if I can get the inventory made to be able to make it profitable). So yeah, my brain is a very weird place. And you don't get to have clearer insights to my thought processes than I do, lol. It really is very confusing in my head at the moment.
Let's see if I can clear things up some. I make dolls. I have been making dolls since 2006. I don't foresee stopping making dolls any time soon. I am also a little bit tired of/from making dolls. Costs of everything have gone up by insane amounts, but I have not raised my prices enough to keep up with that. And I am a little bit afraid to. I don't want to price everyone out of my dolls, that doesn't make sense. But I also don't want to price myself right out of business. I started making the miniatures so people who maybe couldn't afford a whole doll could still afford something cool and handmade. Maybe for model horse set-ups. Maybe for 1:9 scale dollhouse setups. Some of that is good business. Some of that is giving my brain something else to do that is not just making more dolls.
Did that help clear things up? No? I'm not surprised, it doesn't always make sense to me. What I know is I make dolls. I am not planning on stopping. I can't really afford to stop because I don't make a livable income as a para, I don't have time/money/energy/desire to get my teaching credentials to make more money at the school. I don't know what else I could possibly do that would make more money. Am I saying I am "stuck" making dolls? Not really. I could stop and just be super poor, lol. I took kind of a break for several months while I was teaching. Because I didn't have the energy to make dolls. The last couple of weeks I have gotten back into it and been kind of productive. And it was nice. I have been having a good time again. Not always, no job that I know of is always fun, but it has been better. I am still kind of in a hobby weird-zone where I don't want new stuff and am not really excited about any of the things I see. At least not excited enough to buy anything. But I still love my horses. I still enjoy the dolls. And maybe eventually I will want to show again. Today is not that day.