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Interview with Leslie of Blythe Happy & Giveaway!

Written on March 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm by Michelle
Filed under: Featured, Giveaway with tags: ,

It’s another Friday, which means another installment of the March Talent Showcase! It is time for you to meet Leslie, who is the creative woman behind Blythe Happy! So happy to share her and her wonderful embroidered creations with you – what a niche that she entered into in 2013!

Hi Leslie! What can you tell us about yourself?
I am happy to be a stay-at-home wife, mother (although my two kids are in college right now), cat-wrangler (we have four cats who don’t always get along…), crafter, seamstress, blogger, Blythe collector and Etsy shop owner! For the past 15 years we have lived in the touristy town of Williamsburg, Virginia, which I love for it’s small size and proximity to bigger cities.

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This is me at Blythe Con 2013 NY with my fave girl Candy. Although the quality of the photo isn’t great, it’s my favorite picture of myself with a doll–you can see how happy Blythe makes me!

How did you discover Blythe? Who is in your dolly family?
I first started seeing Blythe on the craft website Craftster.org in 2012, and I wondered what these dolls were. My curiosity took me to eBay, where I started spending a lot of time scrolling through the Blythe listings. I was especially captivated by Raspberry Sorbet, with her long, swingy hair, and finally I took the plunge and bought her. I hadn’t had a doll since I stopped playing with Barbies at the age of 12, and I had mixed feelings–what will my family and friends think about me playing with dolls??? So I kept my new interest quiet at first, but slowly, as my collection grew and my confidence grew along with it, I became more open about my dolls. Starting my Etsy store this year was the turning point–it made my doll collection more “legitimate”, because I was actually making money on my hobby. Now I have no problem talking about what I do! I’m sure I would not have gotten into this hobby if it wasn’t for all the things I saw people making for their dolls; I love to sew, knit, embroider and do general crafting, and all these skills come together for me in Blythe.

I have a nice variety of Blythes in my collection now, including several of the face molds and lots of different hair colors. My first two girls were brunettes (Petit Dejeuner was #2), but I’ve come to realize that the fantasy hair colors are my favorite. Right after Christmas I lined up all 20 of my Neos and took this picture of them in their bookcase/dollhouse:

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What was the first thing that you crafted for Blythe?
The first patterns I found for Blythe were at Puchi Collective, and the first one I made was the Empire Dress. Here is Bonnie–this is both my first dress and my first picture of Blythe! She didn’t even have shoes (she came with boots but they didn’t go with this dress), and I just plunked her down on my front doorstep to take the picture.

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Since then I’ve become a lot more creative with both my sewing, crafting and picture-taking; here’s a recent photo. I made the room box on the right, and the winter-themed stand on the left; I also made the yellow table (from perler beads) and the red and white outfit on Heather (my Prima Dolly Violet). Oh–I just added Precocious Candy Mushroom to my collection–this is her first photo!!

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Tell us a little bit about Blythe Happy – what made you decide to open up a shop?
As I’ve already mentioned, one of the main reasons Blythe appealed to me was that I could make lots of “stuff” for her. I quickly became involved in swaps on Blythe Kingdom and Plastic Paradise, and I got so much positive feedback from my swap partners about the items I knitted and sewed, that the thought of opening a shop started to form. I resisted it for a while though, because I didn’t want the hassle of running a business–getting a business license, keeping records for taxes, and filing quarterly returns for Virginia sales tax DO NOT appeal to me! Eventually, though, as I sewed cute dresses and knit fun little hats, I really wanted to share them with more people. I decided the hassle would be worth it, so I opened Blythe Happy on Etsy in the summer of 2012.

How has opening a business changed the Blythe world for you?
The biggest change has been all the people I’ve been able to connect with through my shop. Although I am active on the Blythe forums and Flick’r and some Blythe groups on Facebook, I’m not really “chatty”, so it was hard for me to meet people. Now that I have a shop, it’s easy for people to get an idea of who I am by seeing what I make. Many of my customers are also in the on-line groups I belong to, and as a result of their purchases, we’ve connected in the groups. It’s so fun to connect with people!

What is the first thing that you sold through your Etsy shop?
The very first thing that sold was a Happy Cloud Dress, which was purchased by one of my lovely swap partners because it matched a hat I had sent her! See what I mean about connections? Several other former swap partners made purchases from me in the early days of my shop, which really warmed my heart and boosted my confidence–I truly appreciate those first customers, and every single one since then. Here’s a picture of that first dress; I opened Blythe Happy with a dozen dresses I had made as a personal challenge to sew or knit a dress every day for a month.

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I soon noticed that a lot of people on Etsy sold outerwear for Blythe, but not many were selling underwear, so I decided to try making some panties. I wanted them to be pretty and practical, so I used white fabric (practical, so there are no worries about staining) and I came up with some simple embroidery designs for the front (pretty, but still practical, because embroidery is flat and won’t cause lumps under clothing like other embellishments–bows, buttons, beads, etc.–would). As soon as I started offering the panties, they sold well, so that’s what I concentrate on now. I try to keep a good variety of designs available all the time, and I’m always coming up with new embroidery patterns to keep the shop fresh. I’ve also started making the panties in Middie size, and they have received a good response from my customers.

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Do you end up keeping a lot of what you make, or does most of it end up in the shop?
When it comes to the panties, everything I make is for sale–leaving my own dollies with “seconds”! Only a couple of the girls are actually wearing my panties, and those are the prototypes I made that had imperfections. But I do like to see all my dolls dressed nicely, and I like to see them in items I’ve made myself, so I go out of my way to sew and knit outerwear for them. If a dress doesn’t sell in my shop by the time the listing expires, I keep that for myself. Since I only make items that I love, I am very happy to keep anything that doesn’t sell quickly!

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What has been your best-selling panties design so far?
The top favorite design is a flower trio (on the Middie panties it’s a single flower) that I do in several different colors. I consider it my “signature” design, because it’s the only one I do completely free-hand (for all the others, I trace the design onto the fabric and embroider over the lines.) The next best-seller is a kitty face; every time I put one in the store it disappears quickly! But all the designs sell well, probably because I am careful to choose themes that are popular in the world of Blythe collectors–anything cute or pretty or kitschy will work–like animal faces, mushroom houses, gnomes, hearts, crowns, unicorns, rainbows–even a cute little T-Rex! But since the surface area for the design is small, the images can’t be too complicated or detailed. I keep a little notebook where I brainstorm ideas for embroidery designs. Later I go back and decide which ones will work, and I refine those sketches into workable drawings.

Generally speaking, my dolls don’t run around with their underpants showing – how does it make you feel when you do get to see your embroidered pants on other people’s dolls?
This question brings up the biggest drawback to making panties–they rarely get to be seen in action!! Recently, however, I sent a pair in a swap package, and my partner posted a cute picture of her doll raising her skirt to show off her panties–that really made my day!

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Photo by Heather Roy – used with permission.

I always enjoy the surprise of seeing pretty panties on my dolls when I’m changing their clothes, so for the most part, the panties are a pretty secret to be enjoyed only by the doll owner (and the dolls themselves, of course!)

What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned about business owning and being the owner of an online shop since you’ve started selling things?

You have to advertise! After opening Blythe Happy, I quickly realized that I couldn’t expect customers to find me on their own–as with any business, you have to advertise so people will know you exist. I post links to my shop in the Facebook Blythe groups; and both Blythe Kingdom and Plastic Paradise have sections for shop owners to show what they sell. All of these are fantastic opportunities because they directly target the Blythe community, and they are FREE!! So far I haven’t used the option at Etsy to pay to have my listings at the top of the page when customers do searches, but I am keeping that in mind for the future. Another thing I’m considering is making up something small to be packaged with my business cards to donate to Blythe Con 2014 for the goodie bags. I know that when I got home after Blythe Con this year, I made a point of looking up all the businesses that gave freebies; that would be a great way to put my shop name directly into the hands of Blythe collectors.

I think it’s fun that you make cute underpants for the dolls that we all love. Can you tell us about any future plans you may have for Blythe Happy?
At the moment I am thinking of ways to feature my little embroidery designs so they will be more visible–I might do something like a line of dresses with embroidered pockets, or perhaps shoulder bags with embroidered fronts, for example.  I also like to embroider a doll’s name on a white dress–I do this for all my dolls, and I plan to offer it in my Etsy shop soon.

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During the summer and fall, I am planning to do more giveaways through my Facebook page (which is also called Blythe Happy).  I love giving stuff away, and everyone loves a freebie, so giveaways are a win-win!
What would you say has been the hardest thing about having a small online business? 
I LOVE everything about having a small online business–except the paperwork, and it’s not really hard, just boring! I love being able to make what I like, and working from home, and setting my own hours, and meeting people online.

Really, the only hard part is deciding what to charge for what I make.  The dilemma is always the same: if I charge too much, nothing will sell; if I charge too little, it won’t be worth my time.  So, for the dresses and knit hats and sweaters, I looked around at what similar items were sold for, and priced mine accordingly.  The panties are more unique, making it harder to know what they are worth. I started out charging too little for them, and luckily one of my first customers was someone with a lot of experience in buying and selling for Blythe; she told me to charge more! I did as she suggested, and I am grateful she took the time to offer me her advice.

Thanks so much for participating in the March Talent Showcase, Leslie! What kind of advice do you have for someone who wants to start making things to sell in this community?
You are very welcome, Michelle! I am so happy and honored to be included in your Showcase. For others who want to create items to sell to fellow Blythe owners, my first word of advice is this: try to do something a little different. Put your own personal stamp on your creations so you stand out from the crowd and your items will be recognizable as yours.  The next thing is so important: be sure everything you produce is top-notch quality. You may have to practice for a while as you work to get all the details perfect before you are ready to open a shop, but your reward will be happy customers and a personal feeling of satisfaction in a job well done.

You can find out more about Leslie and Blythe Happy on Facebook, her blog and over at her Etsy shop!

Embroidered Panties Giveaway!

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Leslie has generously decided to giveaway three pairs of embroidered panties and each panty will have one lucky winner! Winners will get their choice of size (Neo vs. Middie) and design (from Leslie’s existing designs).

The giveaway runs until Saturday March 22nd 2014 at 11:59pm Pacific. The draw will be held on Sunday March 23rd 2014 and the winners will be announced on BlytheLife.com. Remember to use a valid email address for all comments. If you win, your email will be forwarded to Leslie so she can get in contact with you regarding sending you the prize.

Please only use one email address per person, those using multiple email addresses for more entries will be disqualified.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

44 Responses to “Interview with Leslie of Blythe Happy & Giveaway!”

  1. Karrie says:

    Great interview! I love reading how people started their life with blythe. It’s also interesting reading about the crafting side. I happen to love these undies too! I’ve seen them before and plan on ordering soon. Cool giveaway!

  2. K @maidencanada76 AKA @MaidenCanada
    says:

    So adorable and exciting! Lovely to read about the lady behind the designs!

  3. Deborah Cohen says:

    I have several of these panties, they are soooo well done, and my girls and I love them.

  4. Rosa Solomon says:

    Love the undies I’m planning on ordering some in the near future.

  5. Heather Roy says:

    Great article! I was lucky to receive a pair of Leslie’s adorable panties in a swap. They are so cute and well made! My girls fight over them. 😉

  6. T. Lynne says:

    Wonderful interview! I love Leslie’s designs, especially those adorable panties! :)

  7. Fiona Berger AKA @feejbee42
    says:

    I love these panties! I have a couple of pairs and they are a great fit, with such cute embroidery! I’m sure my dollies would love more. :)

  8. Amy O says:

    Those underpants are genius!! I looove them.

  9. Donna says:

    Lover the little panties, they are so cute.

  10. Ann Kilbreath says:

    My Irish lassies would love some fancy pants.

  11. Mountains and Clouds says:

    I love Leslie’s panties! And dresses! And just about everything. It all makes me happy!!

  12. Valeria says:

    I love those panties!!

  13. Gillian Bell says:

    I enjoyed reading this interview. I love hearing how people come to Blythe. A few of my girls have Leslie’s panties, and the others would like some too! Thanks for the chance.

  14. AmberStar says:

    My girls love their Blythe Happy panties! We are lucky enough to have a Happy Cloud dress and hat, too and they make me happy! Leslie’s attention to detail is amazing.
    I enjoyed this interview very much. It is so interesting to hear about people’s collections and all the inspiration which comes from Blythe.

  15. martimez says:

    they are so cute.

  16. addie says:

    Oh these are fantastic!! What a great idea, love it!

  17. dominique says:

    Hi Leslie, violine here, great interview! It was lovely to get to know you a bit better.
    I am a great fan of your panties as you might know and even if I do not win, (I never do lol) I have plans to buy some for my middies as the quality they come with is so poor.
    Have a nice weekend
    domi

  18. B says:

    Hi Leslie! This is Blyhtecarina… congratulations on your interview!! Your panties are adrorable and as Violine said we surely need you for our Middies!! :)

  19. dollinka says:

    Love them! Keep my fingers crossed 😀

  20. Sam Sykes says:

    Great interview, nice to learn more about you and your passion for Blythe :)
    Thanks for the chance to enter the giveaway too!

  21. Maddy Webster says:

    it was lovely to discover this page. And thankyou for the chance to win some of your lovely dolly panties, I would love to win some for my middies, we all know Middies need nice underwear!!!

  22. Charlene says:

    So much cuteness!

  23. Julie A Blake says:

    I have bought countless pairs of Blythe Happy panties, and I am always in need of more! They are a great little gift to tuck inside an envelope to a fellow collector too!

  24. Jessica says:

    I have some amazing things from swaps with Leslie. She’s so creative and her little panties for Blythe really showcase how much fun she has making things for her dolls!

  25. Bad_juju2 says:

    My girls LOVE their Blythe Happy pants.

  26. Brena says:

    Loved putting the face to the name and that someone is offering underwear for these beauties. I will make a point of photographing my girls showing their Blythe Happy underwear.

  27. Amy says:

    Love these pants, so pretty! :) xx

  28. Jane Miller says:

    I love the items that Leslie makes and will be ordering some panties soon! I especially like the ones with little forest animals!

    Leslie’s interview was really interesting and makes me want to purchase from her because I feel like I know her now.

    Love,
    Jane

  29. Heidi Corley Barto says:

    Great interview and those panties are just awesome! Shop favorited on Etsy!

  30. Naomi AKA @AgentOwen
    says:

    Awesome interview! I love these tiny underpants!!

  31. Stacy says:

    What a wonderful interview with a wonderful talent!

  32. Sally says:

    Hi, nice to learn more about you, thanks for sharing

  33. Hey9irlie says:

    What a lovely interview! I love Leslie’s items. The quality is beautiful and everything is made with love – you can tell. The knickers are sooo cute. I love that she has made an item that was previously unavailable (to my knowledge) for Blythe.

    I loved reading this!

  34. Cherish says:

    Great interview!
    I’ve been stalking these panties for a while now (gosh, how creepy do I sound?! XD), they’re reasonably priced and the perfect solution to the current issue of ugly Blythe stock knickers!

  35. Lissa says:

    Oh these Pantys are so cute! I put them on my wishlist!

  36. Heather AKA @littlebearries
    says:

    Ok, those embroidered panties are just about the cutest things ever 0_0

  37. susanab says:

    fantastic article on an amazing artist! i have been privileged to know leslie for a few years and have seen–and owned!!!–so many of her amazing creations. every stitch is gorgeous, thought out and sewn with loving care. she indeed does make every blythe happy : )

  38. I love these panties she makes! I have been eyeing them for a while trying to decide which ones my girls need. Problem is they “need” them all! Haha:D Would love to win:) thanks for the great interview and chance to win a pair of adorable undies!

  39. Angel AKA @angelfclemente
    says:

    So adorable!!

  40. Chun AKA @puppy52
    says:

    Awesome interview and giveaway! Who can resist embroidered panties lol!

  41. Kat says:

    Adorable! I should get them for my pants-less Friendly Freckles. She’s been indecent for months.

  42. bluestarbaby says:

    Supercute panties! Such good work

  43. Jen says:

    we’d put a pair of those unds to good use! 😉

  44. Jane Miller says:

    Love the interview. I had to stop and say I just tried to crochet a pair of undies for my Blythe..poor thing…I couldn’t even get her dress back on over them!! I went to your Etsy shop and ordered the poor girl a pair of panties straight away! Thanks for being there!
    :)

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