I create art for licensing. . .
Over $30,000,000.00 of dolly mamas have been sold! What? I know…crazy!
Fun Facts: I produced commercials in another life. I love photoshop as much as I love coffee! I’m easy to work with, love a challenge and always complete my work on time. I’ve been on Oprah, my studio made the cover of “Where Women Create”, I’ve won multiple Louie Awards (Oscars for greeting cards), the sitting metal dolly mama “Queen Bitch” was on a TV sitcom in the 90’s, my “High Maintenance” compact mirror was seen on Christly Knows Best” and the dolly’s and I have made an ass out of ourselves on QVC, HGTV and the local news.
And this is how it all started . . . While growing up, I always thought I would end up in advertising, publishing or as a back up dancer for Tom Jones.
I did “the plan”, marriage, kid, dog and the fence thing. My dream of being a stay-at-home mom and playing house was coming true. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. After a couple of years of struggling with who I was and feeling guilty that I was “just a mom”, I hit rock bottom. I had lost my self esteem, my brains and my waist all in my 30’s!
My dad said I came out of my mom with a crayon in my hand chasing boys. Then I grew up and became one of those artists who always said “I can make this myself”; but never did. My world was not how I thought it was going to be, the Brady Bunch lied to me, life was not so perfect and everything wasn’t solved in an hour!
On my 33rd birthday, I went into a fabulous arty store and walked around saying “I can make this”. The store owner over heard my big mouth and put me in my place by stating “Oh, are you an artist, can you make jewelry displays?” Before I could weasel my way out of it; my husband at the time said “yes” and that is how it all began. She asked me to design big jewelry stands made out of aluminum screen and wire for her store window. I have never worked in either; but being Jewish, I was good at faking it. Two months later, to my surprise, she sold the displays right out of the window. I had finally became a working artist. The next step was to freak out, which I might add, I accomplished thoroughly. Now, with that out of the way, I got into The Buyers Market of American Crafts (my first wholesale show.) The first day I was so nervous I scared the buyers away. I was sent out of my booth and spent the rest of the three days shopping at other artists booths. By the third day we had sold enough jewelry stands to pay for the booth, hotel, food and my shopping. I set up a studio in an extra bedroom, outgrew that and moved to the basement with the spiders. Through trial and error, (oh, there was lots of errors!) and a lot of hard work, I formed a real business that didn’t loose money. I expanded the product line to include many other useful art objects. By the winter of 2000, I was in stores all over the country and I hired real live help, (before that, Fred, the dog was my assistant).
Of course, things were going really well and I got bored. I started to complain that the “crap” I was making was not giving me pleasure, I wasn’t following my passion. I wasn’t sure what that was at the time; but I knew it wasn’t in aluminum!
With my new found information late at night while being lazy and inspired, I had come up with the idea of the dolly mamas. I needed paper; but all I had was the newspaper besides the bed. That was the lazy part and also how the dollymamas became long and lanky. (I had to fit them into the thin blank margin because I was taught “you never go out of the lines!”.) Two months before the next wholesale show I stated I was going to make these dysfunctional ladies out of metal that sit on shelves. Everyone said I was crazy and it couldn’t be pulled off. They were right; but I did it anyway . . .the first ladies were made out of roof flashing and paint with a little rust for character! I didn’t know what I was doing; but I knew I was following my heart. My booth at the show was so busy, buyers came in, laughed and filled out their own order forms. This success gave me the confidence to apply to the New York Gift Show. From there, I was contacted by manufacturers who wanted to license my dolly mamas. I wasn’t sure what that meant; but it sounded good to me and I was getting bored (again) making the same dolls over and over. And that my friend is how it all began . . . I now design dolly mamas and a myriad of other designs for many companies and I am NEVER bored!
The End or Just The Beginning!