15 Years Experience

Kansas City, MO

Female, 27

I make dolls and stuffed animals by hand, and I'm learning to do wooden toys also. Sometimes I design my own toys! I've been making them since I was 12 years old. (And this Q&A has been running for 10.) I sell them at craft fairs, farmers markets, through word of mouth, and also (soon) online. Ask me anything! :)

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28 Questions


Last Answer on May 31, 2022

Best Rated

Is it safe to say that when their birthdays roll around, your friends and family know what they're getting from you? :)

Asked by Jasmine about 11 years ago

Haha, pretty much! My mum always wants socks - and I do make her some nice lace ones. By this point, knitting is a skill in my toymaking repertoire, more than the other way round. But I do some other knitting stuff sometimes. But yeah, any kids or kids-at-heart definitely get toys. And if I forget a birthday till the last minute (guilty!!) then it's just so easy to pull an overnighter and make a small toy, and they always love it! :)

Was there a doll or toy you had when you were little that provided inspiration for what you're doing today?

Asked by brikhaus about 11 years ago

That's a good question! I never consciously used one toy as an inspiration or starting-off point. But my interest in simple, often Waldorf-style toys is definitely due to my favorite childhood doll: a Waldorf doll that I still have today! I believe that growing up with a Waldorf doll has informed my knack and passion for making them, and it helps me understand what kids are drawn to in a deeper way. I can't thank my mum enough for that doll! :)

Are you going to college? Are you going to run this as a side business while you're there?

Asked by jsb over 9 years ago

Yes and yes! I am going for my Bachelors in Holistic Health Sciences, and I make toys on and off as a side business or just for fun sometimes. It isn't very lucrative unless I take them to craft fairs, and I've just moved across the country so it'll take me time to find craft fairs worth vending in. So I'm in a bit of a lull right now.

I may also take a bit of a break from selling in the future, since my partner and I plan on starting a family in a few years - what little time I'll have for toy making will definitely be devoted to my own kids for awhile!

But ultimately, toy making will always be something I'm doing in my spare time, no matter who it's for or whether I make any money off of it :)

Do you ever hear back from parents who buy your toys about how much their kid loves or hates it?

Asked by dicktracylol about 11 years ago

Not usually, but once in awhile, and that's a large part of why I make them in the first place. I love to have confirmation of the little fantasies that I see while I make my toys, of them getting loved and hugged and ultimately dragged through the mud, getting time-worn in a way that can only happen when a child really loves a toy.

I remember there was one lady in particular, a rather new grandmother, who became my biggest fan in my early to mid teens and always loved to buy my toys for her little granddaughter. She loved them so much she gave me her business card and wanted me to let her know whenever I did a craft fair in the area so she could come see me and my toys. I loved hearing how her granddaughter loved my toys!

What is something your most proud of making?

Asked by Dj over 4 years ago

Oh, a very good question! Over the past couple of years I’ve been busy designing my own line of knit toys - they can all be made in many sizes and they’re all made in one piece, so you only have to close up the stuffing openings, but there’s no parts to sew on and guess placement etc. So I’m very proud of the hard work it took to design those. I just finished the doll for that collection so I’m excited about that at the moment!

On the whole, more than individual projects I get excited about figuring out a new technique or design!

If you don’t mind me asking how much money do you make?

Asked by Jamie over 4 years ago

Hi there! Not very much, mostly since this is more of a hobby business by now and I’ve largely been selling the patterns more than toys in recent years. It can pay my phone bill. But, I’ll soon be branching out into sewn toys and bringing them to market regularly, so I aim to make several hundred a month with it by then.

Hello, how do you make sure your not breaking copyright, trade mark, among other laws like that when your making and selling toys?

Asked by Diane almost 4 years ago

Good question! There are basically three categories of toys I can/do make: originals, patterns by other small business artists, and big licensed characters.

Mostly these days I am using my own original patterns, so none of those things are an issue.

When I use patterns from other small artists, their own product listing specifies their wishes, which I honor: some say you may produce a small number for sale, some are strictly for personal use. Many ask for a mention in your listing/tag on the finished product. Most all do not want their pattern used for mass manufacturing (reasonable).

When I am making licensed characters (for me this is usually Paddington, Pooh bear, Pokémon, or the occasional Disney character) is where this issue would mostly arise. Different companies vary greatly in their attitude toward fan art. Some are very open and encourage it, since they realize it’s made from the love of their fans - but all-importantly, it does not compete with their products, but rather does free marketing for them! In some cases e.g. Pooh bear, it’s going to be very difficult to enforce a ban on anyone ever making yellow teddies with red sweaters.

Ultimately it’s not a matter that concerns me very much - licensed toys are usually only an occasional one-off and don’t step on anyone’s toes. The rest of the time, I’m using my own work. :)