Toymaker

Toymaker

Maya

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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26 Questions

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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 over 9 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 over 9 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 about 8 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 over 9 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 almost 3 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!

How is COVID-19 affecting your business

Asked by asdf over 2 years ago

It didn’t really. Thankfully most of what I do is online. I am planning to branch out to farmers market / craft fair sales now, but in my area COVID won’t have any effect on that either.

Being 17 and I assume you make a good deal of money (at least compared to your peers) are they ever jelious of you?

Asked by Sam over 2 years ago

Unfortunately you assume wrong :) at least for now. Most of what I’ve done has been hand knit and takes quite a long time to do, so it is not very profitable. I am however considering branching out to sewn toys which I should be able to produce far more quickly, so hopefully that will increase the profit margin.Even if this were very lucrative though, I don’t see jealousy being an issue. Both in my homeschool high school community back then, and in my market community now as an adult, everyone is so supportive of smalltime artisans. We want each other to do well!