Business Overview

The demand for dolls has fluctuated over time, but they do continue to withstand the test of time. A custom doll maker will handcraft dolls for clients based on either public demand or personalized requests. For example, they may create dolls that reflect current pop culture or political icons, or they may handcraft dolls that resemble the client who ordered it.

Who is this business right for?

Doll makers typically start off as hobbyists who make dolls for their friends, families, or even just for themselves. But a doll maker should also be creative enough to put clever spins on the general dolls they sell or custom requests.

What happens during a typical day at a custom doll business?

The majority of time will likely be spent in a workshop, but doll makers should also devote some time to advertising and interfacing with clients. Brainstorming and communication should be standard practice because it's the only way to give the customer exactly what they're looking for. A dollmaker may also have to negotiate with supply vendors to ensure they’re getting the lowest possible price for their materials.

What is the target market?

Target markets tend to include either collectors or children who are looking for something different than what's currently available. Most people will be either middle- or upper-class, though there are ways to create less expensive custom dolls for practically any budget.

How does a custom doll business make money?

Doll makers will usually double the cost of the materials they used to make the doll. So, if it costs a doll maker to $100 for the raw materials, then they would price it at $200. However, if the doll is particularly intricate or if the doll maker is able to use techniques that no one else is using, then they can charge much more based on their demand.

What is the growth potential for a custom doll business?

There are people who will pay for custom dolls, though it is definitely a niche. Some doll makers will use their custom business as a way to springboard themselves into more commercialized dolls. For example, if a doll maker is getting requests for small dolls based on public figures, they may create their own line of prefabricated dolls to put into stores. In addition, there is always the chance that a doll makers creations will become the next fad in the same vein as Cabbage Patch dolls or Barbies.