About 10 years ago, AG’s Felicity and Elizabeth entered our home, and our hearts. We have been collecting dolls as well as designing and producing toys for imaginative doll play ever since. One afternoon we watched the girls pushing their dolls in a laundry basket with a yardstick for a mast and a handkerchief for a sail. They had just read the AG Caroline books and as happens so often around our home, they were acting out the adventures with their own dolls. “We should build a boat for the dolls,” we mused. “How hard could it be?” We had built several full-size wooden sailboats and scaled down many furniture designs for the 18-inch dolls already. Later that year, with squeals of delight, the girls found the prototype for our doll skiff under the Christmas tree. Four months later, prompted by the pulse of entrepreneurial blood coursing through my husband’s veins, we decided to try and sell our 18-inch doll skiff to the public at large. Lemon Bay Schooners opened on Etsy with one listing: “Handcrafted Wood Schooner for 18” Dolls.”
When we opened our Etsy shop, we were living in Englewood, Florida, the location of Lemon Bay. We are boating enthusiasts, as well as amateur boat builders, and we docked several of our boats in a Lemon Bay marina. As the skiff was our only listing at the time, Lemon Bay Schooners seemed to work as a shop name. Although the skiff will always be one of my favorite items to build, over the past few years our product line has grown to include 30+ items. In the process, it has outgrown our original shop name. In April of 2015, we officially changed our DBA to Lemon Bay Doll Company. We felt it was time to have our name and logo better represent what we do here.
We really appreciate sharing the creative process with our customers. It is always rewarding when we receive positive feedback from people who have purchased our toys. Working with them more directly to make their dolly dreams a reality however, is truly gratifying. We have started to carve a niche for our shop as the go-to place for custom wood 18-inch doll accessories, pieces you have always fancied owning for your collection but could not find. Maybe the piece longed for represents a unique interest: an opera stage for a collection of Phantom of the Opera costumed 18-inchers, or a bee-keeping set for a daughter who is a budding apiarist. Perhaps there is a sentimental motivation: a barbecue that looks just like the one grandpa grills on whenever the grandkids are over. Sometimes pieces are needed to fit a particular space: a canopied trundle bunk bed for a college student’s cramped 1-bedroom apartment, or a roof-top fenced garden for a 12’ x 5’ x 4’ doll house. These are just a few of the exciting projects we have had the opportunity to work on. We love the challenge of taking an idea out of the realm of the imagination and bringing it into three-dimension. We love the communication process that is necessary to make this happen. (The stage took 73 emails to accomplish!) Bringing a customer’s dream piece to life becomes a collaborative effort, and in the end, they take pride in the knowledge they were an integral part of the creative process.
Our children and our customers are the inspiration behind Lemon Bay Doll Company. We gave up parking our cars in the garage a while back, and now under air, our garage is the home of our shipping department and “Dollville.” Dollville is an ever-evolving test ground for all our prototypes. It is also the fertile ground of our children’s doll play – where most of the ideas that develop into our products are born. The love of adventure is one of the trademarks of our family. The other is erring on the side of caution. When we create toys for our children's imaginative play, we seek to impart skills that they may someday apply in life. We try to share our love of adventure and provide a means to teach them how to enjoy the adventure safely. We hope our toys offer this same possibility to others. Our customers run a close second when it comes to inspiration. Several of their imaginative ideas have become Lemon Bay Doll best sellers such as the archery set and the two-doll canvas tent.
Over the past few years, we have seen incredible talent and craftsmanship on Etsy. Give cottage artisans a chance to impress you. You never know who might be the next AG . . . Someday you may be able to boast, “I own pieces from when they were still selling on Etsy!”
Time passes so very quickly. Let your adventure begin . . .
Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!