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Make a Sideline Business: Little Dolls

Today you need a few life hacks just to cut through the jungle of information and distractions. Denise has a few that help her cope.

My little gnome dolls

My little gnome dolls

My little ballerina dolls

My little ballerina dolls

Keeping Busy

I didn’t mean to make a business. I have busy fingers and I like to knit. In the evenings when my husband wants me to settle down and sit with him while we watch old TV shows we have on DVD, I needed to do something with my hands. My husband used to be a programmer for a radio station and he still has a bit of the programmer in him even though he is retired. We gave up regular network TV long ago. There was nothing on it fit to watch anyway. But over the years we purchased TV shows that we loved and so we have a stockpile of favorites. During the weekdays he pulls out his favorites starting with Get Smart with Don Adams. Then he pops in Adam 12 and the original 60’s Star Trek or sometimes Perry Mason. We usually end the evening with an episode or two of Downton Abby. On the weekend he lines up Super Saturday with Lois and Clark, the original George Reeves Superman and even Superboy of the 90s. Then he puts in an episode of The Flash and Wonder Woman. On Sci-Fi Sunday, he starts with Lost in Space or The Invisible Man, then Space Patrol and The Time Tunnel, ending with The Incredible Hulk. Sometimes if there is time, he will add another episode of Star Trek. This is all fun to revisit the great TV shows of our past but my hands get itchy and twitchy and I need to keep my fingers busy.

Me knitting another Fair Isle Baby Blanket

Me knitting another Fair Isle Baby Blanket

Knitting

At first, I would knit sweaters for the grandkids. After they were all dressed for the winter, I made a series of doggie sweaters and even sold a few on my Etsy shop. You can only give away so many scarves and hats before your friends tell you NO. They just don’t want or need another one.

I tried to sell a few but too many people in China and places like that are working for pennies per hour for me to compete with their prices.

First modified the bodies

First modified the bodies

Hand Stitching Dolls

I needed something new to keep my fingers quietly busy. When knitting got to be tedious, I started hand-sewing little things. I saw some little dolls on my Pinterest and was thinking I could make something like that so I improvised a pattern of my own and began hand sewing little dolls. Sure I have a sewing machine and that would make the task faster but it would defeat the purpose. I wanted something to do while we sat together watching TV. The sewing machine is way too noisy for that. So I hand stitched these little dolls and their little clothes.

After the first couple of dolls, I modified the pattern to make it “cuter” cut out a few more and then spotted a gnome on Pinterest. Also made of fabric, I thought, “How cute. I could do that.” So I scrounged an appropriate fabric from my stash and cut out a few gnomes to make. The first two were okay but again, I modified the pattern and the hat and made a few more. With each one, I got more confident and made them cuter.

“In America, a small business is a big deal.”

— Bob Beauprez

One of the first

One of the first

Should I Sell Them

It was after a few weeks of making these when a grandchild asked on a Zoom call, “what are you doing with yourself, Gramma.” Chose that moment to show a gnome and he went over the roof. He wanted one, his older brother wanted one and my daughter wanted one of the ballerina dolls too. Oh, I thought, I have a hit.

I took photos and posted them on Facebook asking what people thought. Should I put them in my Etsy shop for sale? The overwhelming response was YES. Without even trying to I created a sideline business because my fingers like to be busy. I only had them on my Etsy shop one hour before the first gnome sold. The key is advertising. I have to post periodically on social media what I have available in my shop. When I let up so does the sales.

If anyone is interested my Etsy shop is called Dancing Paintbrush Co.

The first ballerina with modified bodice

The first ballerina with modified bodice

“You are not your resume, you are your work."

— Seth Godin

What Do You Do

It never ceases to amaze me what people will want and pay for. I think the moral of my story is that if you are looking for a job or a sideline business, you probably are already doing it. You probably have something you are good at that you take for granted. You think no one will buy this because it is just some little thing you always do. Maybe you make flower arrangements, or little crafts, toys, folded paper, sew quilts, cook specialty foods or ethnic foods, take photos, or do yoga. Whatever it is, there is probably someone out there who cannot do that thing and would pay to see how you do it if you create a tutorial or would pay for the product. You simply have to look around and notice. Ask yourself, “What do I do right now that my friends like?” Then find a way to capitalize on it.

For those of you writing for HubPages, you already are writers and authors. But I bet that is not your only talent. I bet there is more about each and every one of you than you even know.

Blue Hat Gnome

Blue Hat Gnome

“Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”

— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Final Thoughts

I was reading the article of a dear friend on HubPages recently who was obviously going through a hard time with this COVID 19 pandemic. Her jobs had dried up and she was beginning to feel the pinch of hard times. I cannot say that hard times have not hit us but they haven’t been as bad as they could be only because my husband and I are retired and because we have our eggs in a number of baskets. We have tapped some of our resources and talents and there are more we could tap if needed. The key is self-discovery. What golden talent is still untapped inside you? I'd love to hear about it in the comment below.

Comments

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 08, 2020:

RoadMonkey,

How very kind of you to do that. I'm so pleased. Thank you. I do like to keep my hands busy. It makes my husband a little concerned for me. He says, "You don't have to be productive 24-7." Sure, I know that. But my hands get fidgety just doing nothing. I can't stand it. If I didn't create something, I'd be eating. And that's not good! Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

RoadMonkey on October 07, 2020:

Great ways of keeping your hands busy. I have favorited your store on Etsy. Love the drawing pages!

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on October 06, 2020:

Sp Greaney,

I'm glad you like them. I find many people like the little gnomes. Even more than I thought. My grandkids love them too. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Sp Greaney from Ireland on October 06, 2020:

I like the knomes. They all turned out great though and it's great that you managed to get a side business out of it.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 09, 2020:

William Kovacic,

Well, I don't see you sewing dolls either but I'm sure you have other talents. I'll bet you have a book or two of your compilation of poetry out there. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on August 09, 2020:

Interesting article, Denise. I don't see myself doing that, but interesting nonetheless. I enjoyed your video as well.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 07, 2020:

Ivana Divac,

I am dedicated or maybe obsessed with my art. My husband often asks if I ever take a break. I tell him this is a break. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Ivana Divac from Serbia on August 07, 2020:

I love the whole story you shared with us, it's really inspiring. The dolls look great, and it makes me so happy to see how much you dedicate yourself to your arts and crafts, and how happy it makes you.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 05, 2020:

Lora Hollings,

What ever happened to your daughter's dolls? Did you keep them? They have been fun for me to make. I'm enjoying the process and the added creativity to my evenings. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Lora Hollings on August 05, 2020:

What amazing dolls! It's so nice to share your creativity and gifts with others. I particularly love the ballerina dolls but the gnome dolls are very cute, too. These dolls remind me of fairy tale characters such as the dwarves in Snow White and the ballerina dolls could be Cinderella. You did such a good job on the gnome hat and the dress that the ballerina is in. I used to make dolls out of old pantyhose and tights when my daughter was little. I made a kitty for her and a little Easter bunny. Then I filled them with fiberfill stuffing and used buttons for the eyes and used felt for the nose and mouth. She had as much fun playing with them as I had making them! Thanks for sharing.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 05, 2020:

Drew Agravante,

My pleasure. You are always welcome. I'm certainly glad you like my idea. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 05, 2020:

Jason Nicolosi,

You must be a big fan of my videos. You are always watching them. I'm so humbled and gratified. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 05, 2020:

Linda Crampton,

I like the ballerinas too. I wanted to be a ballerina when I was a little girl. I guess this is getting close, isn't it? Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 05, 2020:

Mary Norton,

I'm really impressed how many of my female friends like the gnomes. I really thought that the gnomes would be more of a boy thing and not a girl thing. I guess I was wrong about that. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 05, 2020:

Devika Primić,

Thank you so much. I'm always so blessed with such complementary friends like you. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 05, 2020:

Abby Slutsky,

Yes, and it is always a good idea to diversify anyway, isn't it? Not having all your eggs in the same basket helps when hard times come and one source of revenue dries up. Although I have to admit, it makes me feel like I am juggling plates and working hard to keep them all moving. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 05, 2020:

RoadMonkey,

You are absolutely right. I wonder why most people don't use their talents. They could but just don't make the effort. Oh well. It's a mystery. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 05, 2020:

Shyron E Shenko,

I'm glad you got something out of this. I'm always doing things like this but someone had to point it out to me that I could be selling them before I gave it some thought. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 04, 2020:

Bill Holland,

In your case, Bill, I would say you are already using your hidden talents and they are hidden no longer. You let them mature and ferment for a while but they came out eventually. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 04, 2020:

Virginia Allain,

I do like the "wings" idea. I'm going to have to give that some thought. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 04, 2020:

Heidi Thorne,

Thank you very much. It has been a joy to me to offer my work for people and also a pleasure when people want what I do enough to pay for it. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 04, 2020:

Lorna Lamon,

I think you should. It has been very rewarding for me, in more ways than one. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Drew Agravante from Philippines, Currently in Qatar on August 03, 2020:

Cool dolls! Awesome I really love the videos. I never thought about how detail-oriented it was to dolls. Thank you for the new learnings.

Jason Nicolosi from AZ on August 03, 2020:

Cute dolls. Nice article. Great job Denise. Thumbs up on the video too.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on August 03, 2020:

I love your dolls, especially the ballerinas. I like some of the TV shows that you've listed, too. This is a useful and very encouraging article, Denise. Thank you for creating it.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 03, 2020:

Liz Westwood,

Yes, my husband and I love Downton Abby and have watched it several times through now. We even bought the movie and loved it. We loved the coming together of different classes and we love the artistry and costumes. What a fabulous show. Plus the music is so smooth. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 03, 2020:

Peggy Woods,

I do like to keep busy. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on August 03, 2020:

I love those dolls, in particular, the gnomes. You are so creative, and your imagination and your hands keep going.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on August 03, 2020:

Nelvia,

I hope so too. I find it very rewarding and encouraging. Thanks for commenting.

Blessings,

Denise

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on August 03, 2020:

Denise your idea of making dolls is most interesting and creative. Talent shines through.

Abby Slutsky from America on August 02, 2020:

Well, you sound very entrepreneurial and talented too! They are adorable. You are right. Sometimes we fall into a career or side hustle by accident.

RoadMonkey on August 02, 2020:

Love this article. Those gnomes are lovely.Yes, everyone has a talent and it can be used if you choose.

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on August 02, 2020:

Hi Denise, love your dolls and your article about them. Yes we all have it in us to do productive things, but don't really think about it until someone points it out i.e. your article.

Blessings my friend.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on August 02, 2020:

That is very cool, my friend! I love that you came upon a business while watching old episodes of Star Trek. That's a great story.

Hidden talents inside of me??? They may exist, but I'm not looking for them. I'm quite busy as it is and I sure don't need to take on anything else.

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on August 02, 2020:

You might think about making doll clothes with your fabric stash. I started a group on Facebook of Toni doll fans. They are always looking for new outfits for their vintage 60-year-old dolls.

Those gnomes are adorable! I like the fabric dolls too. You could add wings to those to make fairy dolls.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on August 02, 2020:

Those gnomes are adorable! Glad you found this new outlet for your talents. Good luck with your Etsy store!

Lorna Lamon on August 02, 2020:

This is a great idea and another way to utilise your many talents Denise. I remember my mum knitting dolls and little animals for the local children's hospice.She also made dresses for them from odd pieces of material. In these times it is worth exploring our inner potential - I might bring out the knitting needles again.

Liz Westwood from UK on August 01, 2020:

It sounds like you have hit upon a great idea. I am in awe of your creative talent. The dolls are a great idea and the designs are very versatile. I was interested also that you enjoy watching 'Downton Abbey'. It was very successful on TV in the UK.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 01, 2020:

Your little dolls and trolls are so cute. I can understand why people wish to purchase them. You have many talents!

Nelvia from Atlanta on August 01, 2020:

These are adorable Denise. Totally agree about the lack of quality on tv and can understand why you keep your hands busy. Being retired is a rich blessing in these times. Hope this helps a lot of people realize rhe potential for some of their hobbies or crafts.