goodbye 2019

baby talk

baby, baby, baby...

It is almost 2020. just counting down the days, this year flew by so quickly. Saint Cloud has a great year and I am so grateful. A lot of people asked why I say "We" on my website, they want to know who the team is and the easy answer is "It's just me" so here is the scoop on that.

When I started Saint Cloud I was super excited but unsure about what I was getting myself into. This detour from the freelance art I was doing wasn't well planned it just kinda "happened" ( I have talked about accidentally falling into the reborn world before) it didn't feel like a huge undertaking to start making babies as a side hustle but I wanted to do it right. I Have owned a business before and I believe the success that came with it had a lot to do with the vision I had going in. With Saint Cloud I wasn't really sure about the direction this would take, if people would respond to my painting style, or if I was a good fit for this community. So I started with a vision map.

If this were to work, if this were to become a real business and operate like one how would I see it in say five years?

1. A place where doll collectors, people looking for therapy dolls, and prop masters dolls could find what they needed, feel safe, ask questions and get a one of a kind quality baby.
2. A business with integrity promises kept, on time delivery, quality work, good communication, fair prices.
3. Room for growth, that means room for ten team members. This is my goal.
4. Good relationships, this is a small company crafting something unique and personal that means that you know the person who is making this for you, it means you can ask questions and get real answers from a real person in real time.
5. There are a lot of dolls, a lot of doll artists, and a handful of really good reborn artists out there. I want to be one of the really good ones. When you get a baby from me I want it to be a quality unforgettable experience.
6. A company that knows its product and take pride and joy in it.
7. A profitable company that allows me to do something I love and earn a living doing it, it also means a company that allows me the honor to give back.

When I bought my domain and started building the website I created it for the company I envisioned it becoming. I say "we" because the company I am creating has space for more people who want to love to do.

This coming year has a lot of fun stuff to look forward to. I am going to to sculpt my first baby, it is funny looking little fantasy baby.

I have a dozen fuzzy friends (Sugar Babies) I am painting that will be released in limited editions of 12, cute and super fun. I will hopefully have them listed on time for Valentine gifts.

I am booked for The International Rose show in June. I will bring ten of my most beautiful babies and some other goodies. I am mostly looking forward to meeting artists and collectors. I have heard so may great things about the show., it sounds like it will be a great event.

Last and not as positive or pleasant is the fact that scammers have really crushed artists and collectors this year. There will always be people looking to make a fast easy buck, there will always be people that copy and steal, there will always be people who work hard to get something for nothing. I don't understand it and honestly I feel sorry for them, there is so much more you get when you work hard to create beauty in the world.

This year we were hit hard by the marketing campaign of a company/companies in China (Hong Kong) that flooded social media with adds for "Silicone-vinyl" babies (for under 120.00) by Very well know and greatly collected (counterfeit) sculpts, beautiful (stolen) photos and videos, and raving (fake) reviews. They took most of the holiday business away from artists who work hard for this time of year and are genuinely excited for their babies to show up under a Christmas tree. They cheated people into believing they would get the babies in the photos, babies that sometimes never even showed up. The babies that did show up were awful, cheap, knock- off, factory made dolls that people are unable to get refunds for.

This created anger and distrust directed at real artists and the reborn community. I myself received hundreds of emails asking for proof that the doll I was promising was the doll they would get followed up by apologies and stories about being scammed before and so afraid of being scammed again. I also had images stolen.

So many people lost hundreds of dollars and had no gift at Christmas time.

This is sad and it isn't just reborn dolls. We are in a global market place and it is very hard to regulate and keep honest. The FTC has only so much power. As consumers we are going to have to be diligent about how and where we purchase the things we do and it will require a lot more research.

I really thought the Internet would level the playing field for all the smaller companies, big box stores, and the cottage industry folks that were displaced by big box stores. It hurts my heart that the doors were just opened wide for dishonesty.
Be careful out there people, know your artist and if its too good to be true, it just might be too good to be true.
I hate to end on that note.

Support artists no factories, ask a lot of questions, do your research and remember there may be a lot of bad guys out there but there are even more good guys.
I wish all of you a lovely 2020 from all of us at Saint Cloud Nursery (smile) may this year be filled with happiness, unexpected sweetness, a few fun adventures and much prosperity.