I'm super excited to introduce you to my sponsor, BFF and Me Jewelry! The Etsy shop features beautiful jewelry for 18 inch dolls like American Girl, including a large variety of doll necklaces, earrings, bracelets, matching girl & doll sets, and more. I had the great opportunity to interview Laura, the designer behind the jewelry and I can't wait to share our talk with you.
How did you get the idea to open your shop, BFF and Me Jewelry?
I had noticed some small Eiffel Tower charms when browsing another Etsy shop from whom I purchase supplies. I decided to make my daughter and Grace matching Eiffel Tower earrings and a charm necklace. It came to my attention that while I had seen matching outfits for girls and their dolls both at AG and at other department stores, I had never seen anyone selling matching jewelry. I thought there must me a market for it and knew I could make matching jewelry to satisfy that niche. That was in April 2015. I pondered and experimented with some basic ideas for matching sets for girls and their dolls and launched BFF and Me Jewelry on Etsy in May 2015.
When did you first start making doll jewelry?
I began making doll jewelry specifically for dolls in April 2015. I launched BFF and Me Jewelry on Etsy with just a few simple matching jewelry sets including a necklace, bracelet, and earrings featuring either Swarovski crystals or faux pearls. As I researched the market further, I became aware of a significant market for custom and designer style doll jewelry. I had also received a few inquires from Etsy shoppers, about making different doll jewelry pieces. While I still design and list matching pieces and other child and adult jewelry pieces, I have found a great desire from doll enthusiasts for doll jewelry, so my focus has turned more toward this market.
Where does your inspiration come from?
EVERYWHERE! Originally I was inspired by my adult jewelry tastes and designs, as well as what I viewed as more traditional jewelry designs that little girls would like for their dolls. My daughter's taste and input was also very helpful, although she tends to like everything I make.
My customers also provide inspiration when they request custom pieces or inquire whether I have considered making a particular style of item for a specific doll. I LOVE and welcome input and feedback from doll enthusiasts and doll collectors! I like to know what the market desires. Also, when I am inspired by particular adult jewelry pieces, I like to replicate those that I think will suit certain dolls and match a variety collectors tastes.
I think I get a large part of my inspiration on Instagram and You Tube by following doll enthusiasts and doll photographers. I find their artistic flare and eye for design quite inspiring.
Do you have any American Girl dolls? Which one is your favorite?
Actually, I do not own any American Girl dolls myself, per say. My daughter is generous enough to let me borrow from her collection for inspiration; to test jewelry size, drape, and fit; and for photographing my doll jewelry. My daughter has become a rather avid doll collector and has obtained many of her dolls by saving her own money, which I am very proud of. At this moment, she has Julie, Grace, Truly Me doll #55 (adopted after a friend discarded her), Caroline, and we just received Lea less than two weeks ago. In addition, she also has a Bitty Baby and Bitty Twin boys.
It's ironic because I have never been interested in dolls or collecting them and I wasn't thrilled to get my daughter started with AG dolls because of the expense. However, it has opened up a entire new world for me and my creative side and I have grown quite fond of them. I actually get quite excited and inspired when she gets a new doll.
As far as my favorite, that's a hard one. I like all of them for different reasons. Since Lea is our new addition, I am really excited to start photographing my jewelry on her, especially the items I've designed specifically with her in mind. I LOVE her sun kissed skin tone, her gorgeous long wavy hair, her hazel eyes and all of her colorful outfits and accessories. I think my jewelry will photograph well on her. I also completely admire that she is an environmentalist.
Caroline is just stunning with her aquamarine eyes and curly golden locks. Julie was our first, so she holds a special place for me...and I adore her fun, bohemian, hippy, 1970's theme. Our adopted Truly Me doll #55 who my daughter has named Gabriella has gorgeous wavy dark hair and freckles. I think she has a very sophisticated look.
However, I think I have to admit that, presently, Grace is my favorite. I love the highlights in her beautiful, long, dark hair, her bangs, and her beautiful blue eyes. My jewelry photographs so nicely on her and she seems most like a "typical" girl to me. Also, I am a huge fan of baking and eating sweets, so her theme is right up my alley! Yum! Haha.
Is there an item you enjoy making for dolls the most?
My answer might surprise you. As far as doll jewelry, I really enjoy making pieces that are in line with my style the most (i.e., edgier, goth, steam punk, rocker). However, while I completely love making doll jewelry, I am an avid crafter in general with a thrifty side. Since AG came into our lives, I am CONSTANTLY crafting items for my daughter's dolls. I have made a couch and chair out of shoeboxes and felt, a table out of a wooden spool of jute and a plaque.
I have crafted a doll armoire out of a cardboard box, wrapping paper, and duct tape. I made matching girl/doll aprons for my daughter's 8th birthday AG baking party, as well as doll cupcakes and doughnuts out of polymer clay.
Most recently, I tried my hand at making doll sandals and am rather happy with how they came out! I am also perpetually repurposing items I find into AG doll items and accessories. Just ask my 5 year old son...every time he comes with me to any store, he will inevitably pick up something to show me and say, "Hey mom...this would be a great ________ for the American Girl dolls". I've obviously programmed him without meaning to. Hehe.
American Girl dolls have given me such inspiration to feed and express my creative side and my love for crafting and design. So to answer your question more specifically, I cannot say I like any particular item the most. I love making everything and cannot wait to find the next thing to create for our AG doll collection and for my jewelry line!!! I'm actually considering starting an AG Doll/crafting You Tube channel to share my DIY craft items with others as well. That should be fun!!!
Thank you so much, Laura!! You can check out all of her awesome doll & girl jewelry designs at BFFandMEJewelry.etsy.com. :)