It takes more than Vitamin “L”

As the month of LOVE arrives, I thought I would tell you a bit about how a MamAmor doll is created...after all, MamAmor means Mama –LOVE, so the timing is perfect! I hope this is good information for those interested in the process of doll making, but also for those thinking that a MamAmor doll is too expensive. Here is how the MamAmor team creates each mama and baby, and why they are priced as they are.

The first and more important ingredient that goes into making a doll is Vitamin “L”, as our mama helper Janine described the day she decided to be part of our team. Vitamin “L” is free, it is our gift to you, to your daughter or son, your midwife or friend....and it is the essence of every single mama that we create.

Then, materials and time come along, a LOT of time....Lots, and lots of time! Starting from the time needed to select and pick up fabrics, notions, fillings, wool, boxes, tape, treats, knitted items from Niko, diaper and blankets from Janine.....It is very hard to keep track of time in this phase, there is so much involved in this process of creation!

Back home, we start by tracing, cutting, sewing and filling the doll, which takes about 2.5 to 3 hours, with filling being the longest, sometimes more than 2 hours depending on the fabric and the filling-kapok and bamboo fillings take longer.

Assembling each doll is also a long process; it takes anytime from 1.5 to 2 hours not including face and hair. Embroidering eyes and mouth is 10 minutes, and putting hair, anytime from 40 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the hair style and the type of wool.

And we can’t forget the baby! Aside from the time to trace, cut, sew and fill, a longer time is needed to embroil its body, face, ears, belly bottom, little bum and hair, about 30 minutes, plus 10 to 15 minutes for placenta and cord. Snaps on mama and baby, 30 minutes.

Once mama and baby are ready, it is time to get them dressed...but wait...we still have to make the clothes, dresses, pants and tops, skirts and tops....anytime between 1.5 and 2.5 hours depending on styles and custom requests, maybe more if considering designing and ironing! Baby’s cloth diaper and receiving blankets, 15 to 20 minutes. Shoes, ponchos, slings, leg warmers, scarfs....about 1 hour per doll, depending on what she is wearing before she gets to you.

Tag on arm, hair style and ready for pictures! I must say that I underestimated the time needed to take pictures....way longer than expected, but at the same time, needed. I like to show as much as possible of each doll, so I usually take A LOT of pictures, I think the dolls deserve to be seeing from all angles, especially breastfeeding, I love nursing pictures! This process takes at least 15 minutes per doll.

From camera to computer, editing, choosing the best ones, posting on Facebook, uploading them on the Shop, doing the write up with the least other 15 minutes per doll.

And that isn’t the end!!!

Selling takes time as well...very hard to measure but it definitely takes time. Getting the order, sending confirmations and email exchanges with the costumer, printing shipping slips and packing up mama and baby for traveling (including putting essential oil in hair...yes!!! did you smell your doll’s hair yet?- treats and personal hand written cards)....about 40 minutes to 1 hour.

Oh...and the Post Office runs! Love those, especially when my husband does them! It is hardly one package at the time; the largest has been 14 boxes...our van was full!

I am sure I am forgetting to count many other things that we do that are part of this process, but this is a close average of the hours of work put into each doll. About 12+ hours per doll....Surprised?

And the cost of materials isn't included here!... I will leave that one for another post, I will only say that I like to use good quality materials, environmentally friendly and local if possible....mostly expensive stuff, and at times, not easy to find.

More or less, this is about how much time we put into your doll to be created, and this, plus the cost of materials makes the price that you pay for her. Fair, enough, not really...I don't want to even stop to figure out how much we make per hour! Obviously, we not becoming rich by making and selling dolls; it is very hard when I read some people's comments about how ridiculously expensive the dolls are, or about how much money we are making by ripping off people!

MamAmor dolls are here to bring something special and meaningful to the world of birthing and breastfeeding, they are here because we believe that they are worth our time and money, and we intent to keep it that way. So for those of you that appreciate and value our beautiful handmade mamas and see more than their price tag, THANK YOU! Thank you for your continuous support and encouragement, you are not only supporting families but you are also supporting a very important cause!!

We all know that at the end of the day...what make us going isn't really how many dolls we have sold, or how much money per hour we are making, but it is hearing that our work is needed and valued, it is hearing how much a doll is loved by your little one....that makes it all worth it!


Paul said…
Lovely, lots of work plus 3 kids. I am very proud of you!
ikwe said…
Wow! Thanks for sharing! I am dreaming up the day when my niece gets a little older and I can purchase one of your special dolls for her! I really love your work! Those dolls are worth every penny! :D
waldorfcreative said…
As a doll maker I so appreciate this post! I'm actually surprised at how QUICKLY you are able to build your beautiful dolls, I guess you have much more practice than I.
I think they are LOVELY and so very worth the price.
Thank you for this unique offering to the world, we are blessed by your beautiful vision.
Mrs. Schaible said…
I was going to start making teddy bears to sell, but the price they would sell for was not worth the 6 hours it took to make just one. When I saw the price of your dolls I actually thought it was on the cheap side considering how much detail and work you put into each one.
Mia said…
Anything hand crafted should obviously cost a little bit extra. Sewing takes time. With some of the costuming I do, I easily spend 24 hours making one dress. I've thought about making them to sell, but there is something so much more personal about only making them for myself and my family. Thank you for sharing your labor of love. I will be ordering one at some point, but being in nursing school severely limits my funding.
Amazing! People just don't realise how much work and love goes into handmade objects so are therefore not willing to pay the price. It's a shame really as skills like this are dying out.
20082010mommy said…
I rather spend around $200 when i want to get my daughter a doll that was made from the heart and by a person who cares about the customers then a silly $15 doll that was made in a factory that parts can go bad quickly and even be recalled or you have to worry about lead..... i rather spend more $$ to get a safer better toy/doll
Jessie J said…
Keep up the good work! Your dolls are amazing and share something so special that only some people will understand how wonderful they are. The ones who put you down are missing something in their own lives. We know that you and your dolls are amazing. You should be so proud. :)

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