Yes, this is a song from the late seventies by Abba, and it was resounding in my head last night while I dreamt I was picking one of my dolls to take to college with me. Did I choose right? The school. Yes, the Katharine Gibbs School. The photo on the left was taken in 1961 by a staff photographer at Columbia University, my first and favorite job as secretary to the Secretary of the University. I can never choose my favorite Bundle doll. I will stick with Lew, especially that he and the girls love and look cool in our new Bundle vests.View image
What I can share here is 2015 was an amazing year. I do wonder how my dozen plus customers choose? Dale really loves the motif eyes and admits she opens the box only when she has time to raise her excitement level to when she can really connect with turtles, kitties or geese. She likes real eyed gems that speak like those on her Grace do. Peggy first bought for grandchildren, now she decorates her three houses, states apart, with dolls in her favorite colors to blend with their landscape. Then there is Nora who gives generously to her dancing girls who love their Nina Ballerinas, among others. Too she decorates year-round with her Raggedys and the Claus family during Christmas holidays. To her mother and extended family she gifts who she believes will please and provide lifetime love. For herself, face and colors do the trick, often picking and choosing from my "family" on the website, especially ready to ship. Then there is Robin whose family thinks she still acts like a wee girl. This genius uses Olga, Melanie and others to help her teach her foreign language students. Bobbie's great moment was getting her personalized Monogram B with her kitty, Charlotte, embroidered on the jumper pocket. Then finally, again returning after years, someone has a new niece or grandchild. In one case the buyer's wife and sister-in-law got Bundles when they were little, so he passes the joy into a new generation. There is little hesitation in selection on the part of these discriminating customers. They know they are getting unique, one of-a-kind, and guaranteed treasures.
A good year with Bundles pays off with joyful giving. With our profits we are especially grateful to be able to set up an investment fund for our grandchildren's educations, lose the costly credit card option and accept your kind checks, happily giving our returning customers their ten percent reward. We managed to be the first to give a donation to the Preservation Trust of Vermont to keep the charm of Chester beautiful and safe. Finally, I got to share my ethnic dolls with a facilitator at the First Universalist Church on the choosing of a white or black doll. Lo and behold I found Mama Sari, one of eight, who was one of my treasures to tell the story.
The sweetest newcomer was Stella, a daughter of a family friend's son. The five-year-old wanted me to play with her, but we were busy eating, laughing and sharing stories about her grandmother whose life we were celebrating. This treasure noticed all the nude dolls waiting on the deacon's bench for their dressmaker to finish them, so Stella covered each one tenderly with a dinner napkin.
Doll making is great fun and hardly work for me. My embroiderer and dressmaker are treasures who are getting a raise for 2016. But there are tasks ahead, like the web. As Lew and I think, pray and experiment with different web designs, we look to publish our new design in the spring - less content to be sure, perhaps offering the gallery gang and the attic chicks. We know who the favorites are and so do you. Less cumbersome and livelier, we think we can reach the new age using smart phones. But we still like the newcomer who stops in the State of Vermont Welcome Center in Guilford and comes with brochure in hand. They typically stay for an hour and go home with someone in their head or arms, taking a piece of me with them. Sweet Anna will remember her family telling that her when she wanted to stay. We are thinking different web categories, losing "real eyed dolls" which attracts the wrong kind of seekers. Dolls are for children and people who love them, so categories like Best Buddies, Friends Forever, Decorator Dollies, Play Pals, and Love Bugs seem more appropriate. We are already on a roll with a dozen orders, a display in the State Capital Welcome Center for March and April and new designs like Isaac, Scarlett and Nicely Nicely popping out of the creator's head. Who do you want in your life this new year? Marmala, my daughter of six, wants her own custom doll like her two sisters got. Fun ahead!