Startup Stories: Jacq’s Dollhouse


Tell us about your entrepreneurial product or service.
Jacq’s Dollhouse is an online shop for my original handmade cloth dolls.

What inspired you to launch your business idea?
When my daughter was about 5, she asked me if I could make a doll for her. I had been quilting for several years, and in her mind all sewing was the same: if Mommy can make a quilt, Mommy can make a doll.

I didn’t know how to make dolls, but this was my little girl, so I had to try. I wanted the doll to look like her, but it was hard to find a pretty brown fabric to work with. I learned how to dye fabric to produce shades I liked. After a lot of trial and error, I had a doll that both she and I were happy with.

A few years went by and I had made a few more dolls for her, but never thought of making that into a business until my husband lost his job during the recession. Faced with shrinking income, I agreed to be a vendor at a conference that my mother was attending. I figured that if no one bought any dolls, at least I would have my mother with me.

I was unprepared for the overwhelmingly positive response to these dolls. That was in 2010. Now I am a regular exhibitor at art fairs and festivals, and have had my dolls included in gift shop collections in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and Fort Worth, Texas.

What problem does your business or organization solve?
So many girls (and their mothers) want a doll that looks like them. Although I started out making only African-American dolls, I quickly began including dolls of all races. I hear so many mothers say how hard it has been to find a red-haired doll, or a pretty doll that wasn’t blonde. The dolls at Jacq’s Dollhouse celebrate the beauty in every girl.

What has been your biggest challenge as an entrepreneur and how are you working to overcome it?
My biggest challenge has been delegating some tasks so that I am not doing everything myself. I am taking small steps, letting someone else enter receipts, for example. I’m still working on it!

Give us one word that people might use to describe you.

How has Project Eve helped you and/or your business?
I have enjoyed the various articles on Project Eve (particularly about delegating!). Knowing that there are so many other women out there facing the same challenges has been very reassuring to me.

Give us an insider tip that relates to your industry or startup story.
I don’t have an insider tip.

Company: Jacq’s Dollhouse


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