We've been doing this for a decade. (I know. We don't know how either!)
When the global pandemic hit and lock-downs started, we thought we were doomed. We were wrong! (Surprisingly.) I guess everyone wanted whatever kind of joy we could offer at the time. So we did our best to oblige.
It was difficult, though, because supplies were hard to get. And even when the world started opening up again, we still couldn't get everything we needed for a very long time. (So much of it is made in China, after all.)
And the things we could get our hands on skyrocketed in cost, and it's never quite come down to where it was pre-pandemic.
We didn't increase our prices over that time, though, because it wasn't your fault any of this happened. We just ate the difference and worked the longer hours needed to produce more.
But then our rent shot up by $400 a month. The following year, another $200. And suddenly there wasn't many hours left in the day to work longer, to make more dolls, to pay that difference. We were already working 7 to 8 days before taking a single day off.
So we no longer had a choice.
We raised prices on some of our dolls to keep from going under. But we also offered bigger, more elaborate dolls to make up for the price difference. So, in a sense, you were paying more overall, but you were also getting more doll for it, too. (We're not greedy people. We'd give every doll away if we could. Those that know us, know this.)
And for a while, that was fine...
But then this dystopia that is the United States had other plans — and the downward spiral began.
In many states, bodily autonomy was stripped away from women. And still we made dolls. Like, "heyy, I know you're losing rights and all, but look at this doll!" 😱
But it didn't end there, did it? LGBTQIA was the next target in many states, with even more barbaric infringements on civil liberties — for children and adults alike! But hey, "Check out our new dolls! Woot!"
🎶 Forget your troubles, come on get happy! 🎶
And now here in Florida books are being banned. But "don't look there. Look over here at this new doll! Yaay"
Peddling dolls in this dystopia is increasingly difficult. We're not a necessity. And to be honest, doing it just feels wrong. The only reason we're still trying is because we don't know where we go from here. It's been 10 years. This is our livlihood. This is how we pay our ridiculous rent. What would we do next?
And it's not just us. We know a few other artists who are having a hard time of it lately, too. Art isn't essential. And we totally get it.