Hi! I recently started another website and as usual, when I change my logo or anything, people are unsubscribing saying they never signed up for my list because they don't recognize me and don't read the message. So, I thought I should re-introduce myself. I do have a number of new subscribers and some of you might not be very familiar with me. My name is Amanda Baer Boggs. I am an artist, designer, writer, and online seller. My grandfather nicknamed me "Mandaline" when I was a child. My brand is Atelier Mandaline and I write the Mandaline Artful Living blog. Most of you know me as a doll artist and doll shop and doll supply seller. My new website is called A. Mandaline Art and it's exclusively focused on my fine art, handmade goods, and fashion design.
First of all, you DID sign up for my newsletter if you are getting emails from me! I don't use that software that subscribes any customer who purchases something to a deluge of emails. I don't like it when that happens to me. Also I am a big rule-follower and Mailchimp requires permission from the email recipient. To get my newsletter you have fill out the newsletter or email form on one of my websites and I enter you manually into my list. I don't even manually add my followers to my email list! A lot of business coaches would say that's a terrible waste and I'm losing money but I believe in treating others the way I want to be treated and I hate being added to email lists without my permission. I do occasionally change things, like my logo. My business is more than 20 years old and things change.
I started my career as a graphic designer and illustrator in Italy in the mid-1990s. When I returned to the States I got a day job as a designer, illustrator, and writer for a publishing company. In my spare time I freelanced as a writer and illustrator and even exhibited my fine art at CAM, the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, as well as in various other galleries. Then, my husband became disabled in a near-fatal work accident when we were expecting our oldest child and had just bought our first house. Our financial situation was dire, so I began selling on a brand-new website called eBay at night and on the weekends. As new selling platforms came online I added more stores. You can shop all my stores on the Home page. In 2011, wanting to keep up my writing skills and learn new technology, I started my Mandaline Artful Living blog. Nowadays I have a chain of 14 boutiques, I am an author, and my work has appeared in galleries, stores, and publications all over the world. My husband and I recently became millionaires, at least on paper. That's still hard for me to believe!
By most measures I would be considered a great success. However, I've really struggled with self-confidence for the past couple years. During the pandemic lockdown I wrote two books and started on two more. Then things got back to normal, which was great, but the return to driving my kids around and attending to all the activities of regular life left me with little time. I started my latest book in 2021 and still haven't finished it and I feel terribly guilty about it. A guy on Amazon reviewed my Tiny Budget Tiny Cabin book and said it's really well written and nicely printed in color but gave it a 2-Star review because he felt it should be "more". Then he said he hopes I will write another book! After that review, sales for all my books ground to a halt, including books I am just re-selling and didn't even write! Then my mother called me several times about to talk about my business. I am a huge disappointment to my mother for some reason. She keeps telling me I wouldn't be able to support myself with my business if it weren't for my husband's job (which, I mean that's true at our current lifestyle but don't MOST families need two incomes to get by?) We got by on one income while I built my business but fairly quickly my income allowed us to enhance our quality of life and I am very proud of that. Anyway, I became really depressed and felt like quitting for a while. Then I caught COVID in January of 2022 and it triggered a relapse of a mystery illness I've had since my pregnancy with my oldest son. I couldn't get a diagnosis and got it under control through experiments over several years with diets, supplements, essential oils, etc, but after COVID nothing was working. Luckily my son is a geneticist now and he ordered tests that led me to a diagnosis of Hashimoto's Disease and treatment. I'm feeling a lot better. I caught COVID again in July and recovered easily afterward now that I finally have medicine. My latest book is back underway and I started a whole new business.
My new business, A. Mandaline Art, is all about returning to my roots as a fine artist and designer. My eBay name is ab_art to this day (my eBay store is Atelier Mandaline) because when I started out I tried selling my artwork. Art wasn't selling for me, however, and we desperately needed money so I switched around until I landed on dolls and doll supplies as my niche. You can learn exactly how I did this and how you can too from my Doll University book. My doll shop was doing great but I really missed art. When I was a little girl in California we went to the beach every weekend and I spent most of my time outdoors. Then my dad died and we moved in with my grandparents in Ohio just in time for the Blizzard of '78. The long months trapped indoors during the blizzard and the long winters afterwards led me to develop a hobby painting and drawing and writing stories. When I tried to make it a business I couldn't make enough money and I gave up on it. Now I am back to painting as a way to relax and I learned about print-on-demand as a business model. I am really talking it up because it's such a sustainable business model. My customers can buy new products I design but they aren't manufactured until someone orders them. So there's no waste. No unsold products go to landfills, and no resources are used to make or ship them unless they are wanted. I don't have to pay for inventory that may or may not sell so there's no risk if I try something new. I can be wildly creative because I don't have to worry whether a product has a wide enough audience. My business has always been sustainable because I restore old dolls and clothing and toys and sell them, but sometimes as a customer you want something new. The print on demand business model allows customers to get a new product without the environmental and human impact of traditional products, fast fashion especially. So I am talking about it a lot because I am so passionate about it. I want to make sure I am providing content and products my readers want, so please, feel free to contact me on either website or email me at email@example.com to let me know what kinds of things you'd like to buy or read or learn about.
I am deeply grateful to you, my readers. Recently one of my eBay customers was extremely excited to find she was talking to the "real" Mandaline from Atelier Mandaline. It was incredibly confidence-boosting for me. It's a reminder that a lot of people see my business and think I have a team of people working for me or that this is a large corporation. It's not. This is just me. Right now I'm sitting at my kitchen table in my pajamas re-writing this because I wrote it previously and then at the very end my website glitched and erased it. I decided it was the Universe telling me the post was too long! So this one is shorter, believe it or not! I'm incredibly lucky to be a teacher, to help other people learn doll repair and other skills, for so many years. I'm an introvert and you readers provide much of my social life outside my family. Whether you have ever purchased anything or not, please know I value you as a reader. You help give me a purpose and that's priceless!
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My name is Amanda, but my childhood nickname was "Mandaline". I am a mother of three turning my passion for creating into a full-time business.