Originally published by me on Mamamia.com.au.
Have you ever refused to buy your child a doll because of the way they look?
Were you told by your child that ‘all the other kids have them’ and ‘you’re being so unfair?’ You are not alone.
One Sydney mum has decided to do something about it by transforming traditional dolls into a toy she really wants to give her daughter.
Mim Hammonds collects pre-loved Bratz dolls from various op shops and garage sales and transforms them by removing their makeup, repainting their faces, fixing their hair and eliminating the six-inch stilettos.
The mother-of-two appeared on The Morning Showearlier this week where she told hosts, Kylie and Larry, she initially only intended to ‘makeunder’ dolls for her young daughter. But the word spread and now she’s receiving hundreds of orders from people all over the world.
“I have a three year old daughter who’s obsessed with dolls, and I wanted to give her some to play with,” she told The Morning Show.
“The ones I found in the shops I wasn’t happy with. I just didn’t think they were appropriate. And being a crafty mum, I thought – ‘right, I can do this’.”
Mim began her creative pursuit after she won a competition where she was gifted with a gorgeous repainted doll from talented artist, Samantha Murphy. Mim became so inspired she nabbed a DIY booklet from Tree Change Dolls, and with the help of various YouTube tutorials, she slowly learnt how to manufacture these dolls herself.
And now her thriving online business, Mim’s Dandy Dolls has become more popular than she ever anticipated.
With Mim’s doll of choice to ‘makeunder’ being the popular Bratz doll, she has had a surprising reaction to her venture.
“Since starting my page, I have been abused, trolled and attacked by hard-core Bratz fans who are obviously heavily influenced by the Bratz image,” the businesswoman told Mamamia.
“There’s a big emphasis on being skinny, on appearing sexy and having attitude. The sexual connotations and comments, the shocking language and level of abuse they direct towards anyone who doesn’t like Bratz, and the open bullying on social media is quite frightening and disturbing,” she said.
“Children have the right to not be bombarded with that message when they’re simply being children and playing, which is just one reason I think my dolls are important.”
Each one of Mim’s Dandy Dolls has her own unique story and personality, as opposed to existing on appearance alone.
In fact, they’re just like the special kids in your own life. They climb trees, play in dirt, help each other, solve puzzles, run fast, are intelligent, love reading and writing, have great senses of humour, throw their heads back when they laugh and are one of a kind.
“Meet Lisa! My little thinker, kissed abundantly by the fairies. She may appear to be listening to you but is more likely inventing something terribly clever in her mind! Lisa is often in trouble at school for not paying attention but it’s so hard to stay focused on something that doesn’t interest you when you have more pressing matters to think upon! Like why one layer of clouds is moving faster than another, or how the bird outside is making such a compact, fiddly little nest with out any fingers, or how she could save time in the morning by wearing her school clothes to bed at night.” Image and caption via @dandelionthread on Etsy.
“Meet Alison – a vivid reader with a vivacious and cheeky personality. Her heroine is Hermione Granger because aside from the fact that they share the same thick, bushy hair, Hermione is brave and clever and kind – all things that Alison tries to be. Alison wants to be a writer when she grows up.” Image and caption via @dandelionthread on Etsy.
By creating these stories, Mim hopes to pass on messages that children should come just as they are, and to embrace their perfect imperfections. To show that sometimes the thing that makes them a little different can actually be the thing that makes them so special.
“I love the quote ‘We get so worried about being pretty – let’s be pretty kind, pretty funny, pretty smart, pretty strong.’ That’s the message to young girls that I hope my dolls encourage. To put more value on character, on kindness, on the ability to solve problems or help others. On appreciating all the amazing things the human body is capable of doing rather than how hot or sexy it can be.”
Additionally, Mim has dabbled in the art of recreating a few Barbie dolls. And although she’s not 100% confident with them yet, she’s determined to keep practising.
For more information on Mim’s Dandy Doll, please visit Mim’s Etsy page.