Monday, January 31, 2011

Second Announcement of 2011: Helping Others

Dear Bit of Whimsy Dolls family, please spend a few minutes to read this post of our second big announcement for 2011 – Helping Others – and our first related charitable partnership with Team Getty Owl for the month of February.

Sarah and I would like to call attention to a sweet little girl named Getty who is not yet one year old and battling a degenerative muscle condition called Spinal Muscular Atrphy (SMA)  We were made aware of Getty (nicknamed Getty Owl by her parents) about a month ago by a fellow BOWD fan and our hearts have been truly touched. I’ll cut to the chase and then come back around with a big picture perspective…

The Chase:  Sarah and I have partnered with Team Getty Owl and will donate half of all sales of our Olivia Owl pattern for the entire month of February to raise money for Getty Owl as the search for a cure to SMA continues. Throughout the month, we’ll be mentioning Getty Owl in our social media circles with the hope of increasing awareness for SMA and Getty specifically.  If your circumstances permit, please consider picking up an Olivia Owl pattern or (better yet) donate directly to Getty Owl on her website at The Getty Owl facebook page is and Team Getty Owl has done an amazing job of rallying people to help in so many creative ways as evidenced by the continuous stream of announcements. This is one active page! We thank you in advance for anything you are able to do to help the beautiful Getty Owl.

The Bigger Picture: Sarah and I have made reference that this will be an exciting year of positive changes as Bit of Whimsy Dolls continues to grow.  The first big change was the across-the-board price reductions on our Original finished dolls as we’ve found ways to reduce our costs and pass the savings to you.  There are many more big and small changes we have sketched out (and are working on in the background in some cases) for this year as the appeal of Original Bit of Whimsy Dolls continues to grow with your support and ‘word of mouth’ marketing!

Now it’s time to make our second big announcement – We want to demonstrate the amazing charitable influence of you, the Bit of Whimsy Dolls community, by partnering with select charities or other noteworthy causes.  We’ve seen over the past couple years how giving you are as evidenced by our Boo Bear ‘Pay it Forward’ pattern program and how we’ve been contacted by so many of you wanting to buy a pattern to make dolls for orphanages or other under privileged children. While not necessarily limited to children, we envision the majority of our partnerships going toward matters involving children. Moreover, it is our hope that we find various causes that are brought to our attention by you – the extended BOWD family.  Our goal is to have one charity or cause to support each month for 2011 with February dedicated to Getty Owl.  As a community, we’re in this together and together we will do our best to take care of our ‘BOWD family’ first.

Sarah and I will review all suggestions and make our selections and announcements at the beginning of each month.  We’d like to thank you in advance for your support each month and hope you understand should we select one cause over another at any time.

Sarah and Rob
Bit of Whimsy Dolls, LLC

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Big changes in 2011!

Over the years, Rob and I have often referred to Bit of Whimsy Dolls as a “pattern company that happens to sell dolls” and up until now, I think that accurately described my focus.  I LOVE DESIGNING DOLLS! Moreover, I've always been the type of person to let my business grow organically and let things grow as they will. Bit of Whimsy Dolls had been doing great on Etsy with over 8,000 sales and on my old website that Rob created more as a pet project than anything else.  After a ton of thought last summer about the direction of my business (and frankly in response to feedback by many of you) Rob and I came to the realization that what we are doing is much more than a hobby gone wild and to realize new opportunities would require some change – for the record… I don’t like change. *sigh* My first big decision came down to this: Should I stay on Etsy and just do my thing mainly there or blaze a new trail with my own ‘real’ website and take Bit of Whimsy Dolls to the next level. Believe it or not, this decision is not as easy as it sounds! Nonetheless, I decided to move forward and, with Rob's help, I can tell you that we mapped out specific things we felt we needed to do if we really wanted to grow the business.

The first and most significant change (until today) was our new branding and new website that launched in October 2010. We were very lucky to find a team of designers who understood our branding ideas right off the bat and we are still working with them on another huge project. I am crossing all of my fingers and toes that I will be able to share what this next project is in the next few months! With the new website, we decided to move all finished products off of Etsy. Whew… that was a difficult decision! You have no idea how hard it was for me to move everything over to one site! I was a nervous wreck! Etsy has been a crutch for me for a long time! lol I am sooooo glad that I made the move! As I said earlier, I had my own website for a few years and while it always did well for me it was not branded and did not really fit my look and Etsy was my main source of income. This changed almost overnight when the new website went live and we were absolutely blown away by the overwhelmingly positive response we received! 

The new website also brought us the ability to offer more discounts than we would ever have been able to offer on Etsy since it costs significantly less to operate our own website than it does to have a shop on Etsy. I was amazed when I looked at the numbers from my accountant! Yikes! Since we are able to save money, we decided to pass on those savings to you in the form of the DIY discounts… even on dolls!

Okay… so let's get back to the first big announcement of this year! Remember what I said about us being a 'pattern company that happens to sell dolls'? That will be changing today. In 2010, we came to realize that we were kinda wrong with this description. We are both: we are still a pattern company with many great ideas for the future AND a doll company! There is room for growth in both areas! The stories shared during our 12-days of Christmas give away, the pictures shared on our Facebook fan page, the emails and messages requesting a certain type of doll, and the number of finished dolls sold during the run up to Christmas on the new website all reminded us that we are not just a pattern company. What we heard last year is that you LOVE seeing finished dolls.  What we heard was that many of you are non-sewers who want to buy an Original Bit of Whimsy Dolls doll for your child, loved one, or friend. What we realized is that you want more choice of finished dolls on my site. In 2011 we will be taking major steps to meet your expectations AND to make all of our finished dolls more affordable. Let's face it… this economy hasn't been kind to a lot of people! I am so passionate about what I do and I want everyone to be able to afford to buy handmade. Many things have lined up for us in the last 6 months that now allow me to sell my high quality Bit of Whimsy Dolls at a lower price.

<<deep breath>> Effective January 20th at 9pm Eastern, every finished doll listed on will have its 2010 pricing reduced. Obviously this is not because I think the dolls are not worth the higher price, but because we see an opportunity in the way the business is structured to lower our price and make an Original Bit of Whimsy Dolls doll fit in more people’s budget.

So, how much are we talking about for price reductions?  A dollar, maybe two?  For some of the less expensive finished dolls, the answer is yes. On the higher end dolls such as Jane, Mae, or Beth the reductions are much more significant.  Using the Mae design as an example, in 2010 finished Mae dolls listed for $42.00 US and occasionally went on sale.  In 2011, finished Mae’s will list for $35.00 US. This is just one example and it gets better!

Don’t forget about the Do It Yourself – DIY10, DIY15, and DIY20 discount codes!  That $35.00 US finished Mae qualifies for the DIY10 discount of 10% further reducing the price to only $31.50 +shipping!  How great is that! 

Keeping with the Mae example, if you should purchase multiple items in a single transaction to qualify for the DIY20 discount code, it’s possible to buy that finished Mae doll for only $28.00 +shipping!  Yes!!!  Only twenty-eight bucks US plus shipping!

*Everyone who purchased a doll in 2011 at the old prices will receive a refund for the difference (check your email) as we had hoped to have this first big announcement in place during the first days of the year…which obviously didn’t happen.

As for shipping, it’s been almost three years since I’ve made any pricing changes and as many of you know, postage rates have increased significantly over this time, but I don’t want high shipping prices to be a deal killer for anyone thinking about buying a finished doll or clothing and accessories.  Effective Thursday, I will be moving to a flat rate of $5.00 US for shipping regardless of the number of items or shipping destination!  Domestic U.S. and International shipping is five bucks for all purchases from!  One price for all, anywhere in the world you live!

How great is this?!?!  Needless to say, I’m very exciting about the opportunity to make Original Bit of Whimsy Dolls more affordable and hope that you agree that this is a great first announcement!