Here at last is my second trunk set for the holiday season! This set features Skipper, Barbie’s little sister. Skipper has the pretty rare mod face with bold eye lashes and white lipstick from 1967 and the straight waist Japan body. Her trunk is from 1964. True to form, Skipper has an adorable ensemble perfect for every occasion. Whether swimming in Lake Garda, skiing in the Italian alps, hosting a garden party, taking her doll for a walk around town, enjoying the Florentine sunset, or just snuggling into bed, Skipper is always impeccably turned out! Some of her clothes and accessories are quite rare and desirable. I had a wonderful time creating this unique set! I’m especially proud of the custom-restored trunk. I repaired the torn sides with pink accents and added a removable accessories case which can also be used as a tuffet-style seat. What an amazing gift this would be! You can find it in my shops. I hope to have more trunk sets completed soon.
Every holiday season my most popular offerings are doll and trunk sets. If you have been following me for a while you know I rarely see a doll trunk I don't love! Trunks sets are really not as lucrative as selling all the pieces separately but I just love making them, and my customers love buying them! I made some earlier in the year that sold out pretty much immediately. Yesterday I finished my first set for the holidays: a Marlo Twist and Turn Barbie from 1966.
I am not a Barbie expert; I've only restored a few of these older dolls. I just ordered a set of magazines suggested by one of my followers and I did a ton of research on this set. The Barbie has the "Marlo" face, a portrait of Marlo Thomas. Her hair is medium brown, which according to a blog I read is the "CoCo a Go Go" shade. This Barbie came with blond, red, brown, or dark brown hair. Barbie wears her original outfit, which consists of a bikini made of orange plastic stuff, a mesh cover-up romper, and a hair ribbon. The trunk is the 1961 Ponytail Barbie case made over into a custom case or handbag. I re-lined it, added an accessory box, and replaced the broken handle with a chain and real leather purse strap. I then restored a bunch of handmade and factory made clothes and accessories. None of the clothes are tagged. I do recognize a couple as Mattel or other brands. The set includes a real fur stole!
Some people on eBay (and only on eBay) have told me the doll's hair doesn't look brown but cherry red or purple. I don't know what's going on with that. The hair is medium brown with a hint of auburn in certain lights. I got a new phone recently and I this is the first thing I photographed with it, so maybe I am doing something wrong with the camera. Or maybe it's the rainy weather we've been having. The fact it's only people on eBay makes me think it's possibly something with their site. At any rate, I can assure you the doll has brown hair and I have taken photos both indoor and out at different times of day so you can get the most accurate picture of it. I actually wish she had red hair; in my experience redhaired dolls sell for about 30% more than other dolls!
Earlier today this set sold, not even 24 hours after listing, but then the buyer changed her mind so I went ahead with this post. The set is now re-listed. If you order from my Depop shop before midnight tonight you will get FREE shipping! So hurry over there if you want sweet Marlo Barbie and her wardrobe please head to Depop or my other shops from the Home page.
What doll would you like to see made into a trunk set next? I have a Vogue Jill, several Topper Dawns, Tiny Betsy McCall, mod era Skipper, and so many more. Please, let me know! And please, enjoy Barbie's home video of her trip to Saluda, NC up at the top of the post!
I just added a third type of doll voice box to my shops. These battery-powered voices make three different sounds. Each time you squeeze the box they cry, laugh, or say "Mama".
I stocked these after complaints about my vintage reproduction voice boxes when people would order them for use in reborn dolls. I had a couple bad reviews on Etsy from people who ordered my vintage voice boxes and didn't like the sound. The sound is identical to the Midcentury "mama" crying dolls like Madame Alexander Puddin' and similar. I have an audio file linked to my Etsy listing, so I was confused about why people were ordering the old-fashioned criers for modern dolls if they didn't like the sound. The mystery was solved a few weeks later when I realized Etsy was recommending the crying boxes on the home page as a suggestion for "Reborn Dolls". It's a huge deal to get a spot on the Etsy home page and to have them suggest your listing, but it's really unfortunate they recommended the wrong product, especially since my listing says absolutely nothing about reborn dolls. Most reborn doll makers want a realistic sounding voice. My pink criers are meant for doll restorers who repair vintage dolls. After a great deal of searching I found recordable voice boxes for reborn and other dolls and these pre-recorded voices. I just hope Etsy will suggest these for reborns instead!
Here is a tutorial showing how to install these squeeze boxes. These have replaceable batteries so I recommend closing part of the seam or applique with hook and loop tape or a snap or button so you can get to the box.
I apologize for my long delay in posting. I always have the best of intentions to post at least once a week. Unfortunately, last month we had an illness go through the entire family and I was sick for more than two weeks. I don't think it was COVID because my oldest caught it first from an outbreak at the Starbucks where he works and they required him to get a COVID test, which was negative. I think it was probably the flu. It had a long incubation of about a week and then the respiratory and stomach symptoms lasted for at least 10 days, so it took up our whole September moving through everyone.
I have also been feeling discouraged and depressed lately. My sales have been slow, and I'm behind on my book. The main problems though are issues with my sales platforms, beyond my control but still causing me a lot of angst. Besides Etsy's misguided voice box recommendations I have had a recent rash of customers who don't read listings or measure or who flat out disregard my advice and then leave me bad feedback when they order the wrong items. I had one customer who ordered the wrong size doll shoes several times despite me repeatedly stating they wouldn't fit the doll in question! Normally I just let bad reviews like that go because I have a 5-Star rating with almost 2000 sales on Etsy and I figure anyone who does read the listing will see the reviewer obviously didn't. Unfortunately, Etsy has premiered a new "Star Seller" program. Despite my mostly stellar reviews I don't qualify because it requires you to have essentially 100% positive reviews. I am enough of a perfectionist without Etsy pressuring me further, especially when their website is far from perfect 100% of the time! Their sharing feature for listings hasn't worked for months! They also require sellers to respond to 85% of messages. I respond to 100% of messages but their algorithm isn't working. I figured it out, I think. If you send me a couple messages on the same topic and I only respond to the most recent one it counts it as me not responding. So, if you send a seller different sentences as different messages or you send a message with just an emoji the seller has to respond to EVERY message separately. So, if you want to help out Etsy sellers please send your entire question or comment in one message and PLEASE don't leave poor reviews for sellers if you're the one who didn't measure or read the listing or whatever!
My sales slowdown is largely due to problems with USPS and eBay's Global Shipping Center. They have stopped delivering to Australia and New Zealand due to COVID. International customers represent at least half my sales and my products are particularly popular in Australia. I had to cancel a $100 doll sale the other day because Etsy allowed the buyer to choose USPS postage to Australia for $53 even though they are supposed to have their own global delivery program. USPS isn't delivering there and the only alternatives were UPS or FedEx at a cost of more than $200! So, I don't know what to do. Someone told me Pirate Ship was selling postage to Australia but they only use USPS so I think it will be another situation where they sell the postage but the packages will be returned. Over the summer I told you about eBay's Global Center returning all my doll-related orders marked as prohibited, even though they are not prohibited. I reported that to them about a thousand times and I THINK they finally fixed it. The other day I was able to send a pair of doll eyes to Australia through their Global Center. I sincerely hope it's fixed because eBay is delivering to Australia and New Zealand at no extra cost. So, if you are a customer there please contact me on eBay to add the Global Center to your delivery options if you don't see it. Of course eBay possibly fixed the issue after I spent a month converting all my listings to USPS instead of the Global Center!
So, anyway, I am sorry to be absent and in such a funk. I am working hard to focus on the things I can control and find alternatives for my international peeps. Besides the doll voices, I am in the process of listing an enormous Barbie lot from 1959 to the present. I am also going through the attic and selling my kids' outgrown toys. I read there will be a toy shortage this holiday season so I am determined to get everything listed for sale. There will not be a toy shortage at Atelier Mandaline!
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.