Sunday, February 19, 2012

Staying Motivated...

I have been down a bit of late. Can you tell? Maybe it's just the time of year. The dark and the cold are not helping. The constant swing in temperatures. One day it's unseasonally warm. The next day we get an arctic cold blast. The weather very much reflects my mood these days.

If you ever wanted to be a professional dollmaker I can give you one piece of advice: Don't do it! Right now I feel like the Fellowship of the Ring in Lord of the Rings. Remember the part where Gimli says about the mission?

"Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?"

Now how does this translate into being in the doll making business? Well, I am feeling like I am dying in a sea of doll makers competing with each other right now.

Sales in my shop are just as up and down as the temperatures. Right now they are mostly down. I work so hard every day. Yet I feel like I will never be able to support myself doing what I do. Right now I have a number of very cute dolls listed in my shop yet they are not selling.  So I start having major doubts about what I am doing.

Are my photos not good enough? Did I price them too high? I worked so many hours on this one, can I let it go for less? How much are you willing to pay for this one-of-a-kind handmade doll that took me 10+ hours to make?

Yet, I know there are dollmakers who never seem to be able to keep stuff on their shelves because they are so very popular. Some don't even make the dolls themselves any more. How do they do it?

Am I shooting myself in the foot by having too many things readily available in my shop? I look at other dollmakers' shops and they always appear to be empty - until that next "upload" that fans are impatiently waiting for.

Somehow I can't help but wonder if this demand is real or is it being artificially created maybe. What is human nature? We always want what we cannot have.

Would I do better to take all my listings down and just sell one item at a time? Should I start a "No-dolls-or -doll -clothing - EVER -available" website?

I have been looking to my Etsy team for advice and answers. Have I told you how much I love this group of people? They always manage to cheer me up when things get a bit rough. I'll just keep plugging along and  hoping that people find me. I am just a hardworking gal who loves to makes cute Waldorf style dolls and doll clothes that bring smiles to people.

Hopefully my story will have a happy ending like Fellowship of Ring's mission. Go Frodo!


softearthart said...

Every doll is special, and when a customer looks at your site, your doll will resound with them.
Mothers buy dolls for their children.
The doll that they see will fit their child, or they will custom one made to suit.
So really the bottom line is a good selection of dolls in your shop to suit most tastes.
You know yourself that you only buy something if it is "Just right"
So keep on keeping on.
Your dolls are lovely and not everyone can do what you do, not everyone has a doll that is imbued with your light,
So let that light shine out,

Cheers Marie

germandolls said...

Hi Marie, thanks so much! As always: you are so sweet and I thank you for your kind words. Love, ulla

A fellow traveler said...

You have expressed one of the main reasons why I am a stifled doll maker who makes no dolls. I have an etsy shop that has never been stocked because I am overwhelmed by the competition. A few months ago when I set up my shop, I looked around to see what other doll makers were doing and I was astounded and bewildered. The"doll grab" that seems to surround some doll makers seems unnatural to me. It seems to be encouraging the exact opposite of what making dolls by hand is all about. Please don't try to become like those shops! Your dolls seem pure and innocent to me. And very well made. If I were to ever purchase a doll or doll clothes, it would be from you. Your shop and your dolls seem authentic, wholesome, alive with presence. Nurture for the soul. Please carry on in your own way. Maybe someday I will have the courage to do the same. I wish you well.

germandolls said...

Dear Jeanne,
thanks so much for your response. It's good to know that there are people who feel like me. I find the hype around some dollmakers very distressing to watch. You are absolutely right, this is not what Waldorf is about. It's about warm life and lightgiving toys.
I hope you will open a shop anyways and create and sell your dolls. I will try my best to stay true to myself and hope my business will survive.

Casey said...

I replied to your posts on the naturalkids team too but want to say here that your dolls are truly a work of art. I bout my oldest daughter a waldorf doll,then thought, "I'm crafty and good at sewing and following direction. I'll make her a second doll." Suffice it to say when my second daughter was born I bought her a doll. The doll I made is ok, but I fear she won't last a lifetime like the well-made dolls will. I know how many hours go into making a doll like yours and your prices are very fair. If you find a way to get more people aware of your shop, I think your dolls will sell better. How can they not love their sweet faces?
Casey- Sesame Seed Designs

germandolls said...

Hi Casey, I appreciate your comments both here and in the group. Thanks so much!

Resourceror said...

Hi Ulla - The other day I responded to a thread you started in the cesspit. it was only after, that I realized that you were THE GERMAN DOLLs dollmaker. I was embarrassed to not have recognized your name. I said something like "I love your dolls - so unique and sweet". In that moment, I knew I liked the dolls, but I didn't know they were German dolls - However, I have admired your dolls ever since I discovered etsy. I, too, am one of the many many doll makers. I also struggle with the same things you mention in your blog post. I can only make a doll a week because I have three little kids. I certainly don't sell a doll a week. Sometimes I think: If I could only just build up a selection of dolls in my shop, then people could have a selection to choose from! But, my hodge podge of dolls trickle in. I have spent too many hours thinking about why some dolls are popular and others aren't...
One thing that has really helped me mentally, is having a friend who is a fellow doll maker. We chat on the phone a few times a week. Almost always, one of us is down about the sheer number of doll makers on etsy and how we can never compete. We take turns cheering each other up. It is inspiring. It is sisterhood.
I know I'm rambling. What I really want you to know is this:
1. your blog post is amazing and generous in its honesty. It resonates deeply with me.
2. your dolls are beautiful. Perfect waldorf ideals. Simple and elegant features, sweet and childish and enchanting.
3. Your business is something I and many other more fledgling doll-makers look to in wonder.
4. If you ever want to chat in person - feel free to convo me (invitingplay on etsy) or
5. I think this is the slowest time of the year for selling dolls.