Growing up with two brothers meant that if you didn’t want to play G.I Joes or transformers, you played alone! So rather than having couch cushions tied to my body and forced to play goalie, I took my dollies and played. I had two Cabbage Patch dolls, Holly Melanie and Lisa and they were my everything! I still have them to this day, they’re pretty gnarly looking after all these years, but I know how important dolls are to little people! Someone to confide in, someone to hug and hold when you’re sad, someone to tell your hopes and dreams too! Please allow me to introduce to you Bamboletta Dolls, and the dearest Christina Platt, the kindest, most generous mama behind it all!
Bamboletta Dolls were actually part of the inspiration behind our Wish It Dream It Do It Campaign by an act of extreme kindness this past November with a sort of anti-black Friday Blessing Dolls Giveaway. Instead of the usual discounting the 20 Dolls that they had done in the past, Christina decided to gift 20 dolls to families in need of a little magic in their lives.
The Bamboletta crew began pouring love, kindness and generosity into 30 of these beautiful little Blessing Dolls.. yep, originally they planned to gift 20 but knowing 20 wouldn’t be enough, they added an extra 10 through the generosity of donated sewing time and generous donations from a lot of lovely people who love Bamboletta as much as I do!
Christina and the entire tribe behind her is amazing and as the pictures began appearing on Facebook from the boys and girls that were receiving their Blessing Dolls, my heart grew and grew. I knew that if you hadn’t fallen in love with these beautifully handcrafted loving little dolls than you needed to.
I was recently afforded the chance to ask Christina some questions about Bamboletta in hopes that you will spread the word and help her dreams come true as much as she helps so many children become one step closer to achieving theirs.
Me: How long has Bamboletta dolls been around and how did it come to be?
Christina: I can’t believe it’s been well over 13 years now! I started Bamboletta when I was searching for a natural doll for my niece. I had been reading about ‘Waldorf’ dolls (what my dolls are based off of) and was entranced by the philosophy. That they are made with all natural materials and that their facial expressions remain neutral (to engage the child in open play) really drew me in. I searched but could only find somewhat old fashioned and stern looking dolls, so I figured out how to make one. I became totally hooked and made another one and another and here I am now.
Me: You have an army of incredible people helping you make these dolls, roughly how many people do you employ and where did you find them? Or did they find you? Is it still 32-34?
Christina: There are about 30 of us now. Most I found through the good old ‘someone who knows someone’ which is an incredible method to find good people. They already know the story and what we are about and what the work entails. I’ve hired a few times outside this way and most times it’s been great, but the interview process is a bit funny. I think some may have an idealized version of what this work entails, but when it comes down to sewing the same head of doll hair 3 hours later reality can kick in.
Me:What is the difference between all the different dolls that you have ie: Blessings Dolls, Cuddle Dolls, Sitting Friends.
Christina: Blessing Dolls are a special even I do once in a while where I ask people to write in and tell me about someone that may not be in a position to buy a doll but could do with a smile and some goodness. It’s not a style of doll, but it’s a way for us to find homes for some of our ‘booboo’ dolls. Some slight sewing imperfection or a little tea stain. So, it can really be any type of doll.
The Sitting Friends are a 15″ doll – a more substantial doll with some nice heft to it. All my dolls are stuffed with wool, which is a wonderful material for children as its naturally antibacterial and absorbs smell in a way that is comforting to children – the doll smells like home. It also has a nice weight to it that some children find grounding. The cuddle dolls are a smaller version of this doll with not so much heft to it.
Me: Your recent Blessings Dolls Campaign created a lot of buzz and touched a lot of hearts. What was the inspiration behind why you chose to give away so many of these dolls?
Christina: My main goal in life is to spread as much delight around as I can. It’s my life’s work. Too many children have faced circumstances that most of us won’t endure in our entire lives. If I can make that child smile – my work is done. I am honoured that I can do this. I know that the cost of the dolls prohibits the purchase by some ,but they are expensive to make. So, this is a way I like to spread them around a bit. These are all handmade – dolls can take upwards of 10 hours to make. I think when something takes this long and made with so much love there’s a bit of magic in them. Over the years I’ve had countless people tell me that these aren’t ‘just dolls’ these are little treasures and the doll that their children will one day pass along to their child. My accountant wants me to break the ‘booboo dolls’ down for parts, but that feels so utterly wrong. So, I do the Blessing Dolls 🙂
Me: I can only imagine how many emails you received about the Blessing Dolls. How hard was it to narrow down? Are there any emails that particularly stuck out and touched your heart the most?
Christina: Lots of tears. Lots. And extremely hard to narrow down – oh I wish I had several hundred dolls to give away (we gave out 72 this year). And a few stories of some newly single mom refugees really struck me. And countless others – how does one tragedy ‘win’ over another – it was really hard to decide. But I trust they all went to exactly where they were supposed to.
Me: What new things can we expect in 2016?
Christina: I want to open up a retail studio space again. Last year saw me move from my studios on the Island to Vancouver to be close to my family and friends. I’m working from a home studio, but I am craving the interaction again. My production still takes place mainly on the Island but I want to get things going over here now too.
Me: This campaign is about dreams and making them come true. What is your dream and how do you see it coming true?
Christina: The studio space in Vancouver as I mentioned previously is a big dream. To have a community – that’s the best and I miss it being over here. So, I’m rebuilding it. I’d love to teach workshops in there and have a little bubble of magic.
Well friends, I hope that this has given you some insight into this incredible company, owner and tribe of hardworking ladies who come together to put smiles on faces day after day. Knowing how precious those cuddles and hugs and kisses are with our dollies as young children are, I do hope that you will strongly consider shopping small this year and gifting one of these treasures to a little person in your life. There is no better feeling that supporting local businesses, especially ones with owners as talented, creative and as kind hearted as Christina Platt!
Please follow Bamboletta Dolls on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and for an extra special treat, the YouTube Channel has fun videos showing how the dolls are put together! Christina Platt is the perfect vision of Wish It Dream It DO IT! Show your support and tell a friend, shop small, spread the word!