Helen is a busy wife and mother who embraces her femininity and decided to turn a hobby into a business, I was lucky enough to be able to find out a little more about her business Miss Ruby-May dolls in this recent interview.
What inspired you to start making Miss-Ruby May dolls?
I have always loved sewing and have worked with fabrics one way or another ever since high school. The first dolls that I made were gifts for my two nieces – Mia and Siena.
Where did the name Miss Ruby-May come from?
Ruby-May was the name I had chosen when I was pregnant if I was to have a girl. I didn’t get my girl, but I have two beautiful boys – Thomas and Jacob – my little girl is now my business.
How did you come up with the designs for these unique and gorgeous dolls?
At the time the whole “softies” trend had started and there were lots of weird and wonderful little creatures being made, however being the girly girl I am I wanted to make something pretty and special for my nieces and the Miss Ruby-May doll was born.
How did you go about turning your hobby into a business and what prompted you to do so?
As friends and my sister’s friends had seen the dolls they had then asked if I could make dolls for their children; it slowly started to grow by word of mouth. My sister actually suggested I try a couple of local children’s boutiques. I plucked up the courage to go in and ask if they were interested in taking on a few dolls and to my delight they accepted! I also looked into handmade markets where I booked in a couple of stalls, and slowly but surely the business side began. I have met a lot of lovely women along the way who have helped me immensely.
Where do you source your materials from?
I have to admit I am a hoader of fabrics, trims and buttons. My sewing room is full and I can’t stop myself from from visiting any fabric store I come across. My favourite fabric store is local, which is both good and bad!! GJ’s Fabrics in Brunswick is where I get most of my fabrics from. I also buy fabrics from various online stores.
Do you make all of the Miss Ruby-May dolls yourself?
YES I make all the dolls myself, from start to finish; including a lot of the hand sewing. I also make all the accessories too. It can get a little overwhelming at times, especially when there is a market coming up and Christmas is always a busy period.
Is it just the dolls you make or are there other items in your product range?
The dolls are the main part of the business. However we also have cushions, bunting, aprons, denim bags and the new little babushkas in our range. Designs are constantly changing as I do not buy bulk lots of fabric. I like to keep designs new and fresh.
Are there likely to be more products added to the Miss Ruby-May range and what might they be?
I am always trying to create something new – the new little babushkas are the latest addition, with more to come.
Has there been any one particular doll or design that has been your favourite?
I can’t say I have one favourite doll as I love them all! I do love the red hair, and probably red and pink are my favourite colour combination.
What can you tell us about the fairy floss markets where you have a stall?
Fairy Floss Markets is a boutique children’s market which showcases gorgeous handmade products that are unique and special. I have been part of the market since it first started last year and it has been a great experience.
I have met some lovely stallholders, who like myself are creative mums wanting to share their work with others, and some great customers who return and comment on how loved their Ruby-May dolls are. It’s very rewarding. It’s great because Fairy Floss Markets are held at various locations around Melbourne.
If we aren’t in Melbourne and can’t make it to the markets, where can we get our own Miss Ruby-May dolls?
You can purchase Miss Ruby-May dolls at: www.missrubymay.com.au
What does being a woman mean to you?
As a woman I am constantly trying to juggle so many roles – I am a mum to my two gorgeous boys, a wife to a very understanding husband, while also running a business and trying to find some time for myself. It’s not always the perfect balance but somehow it works and I wouldn’t change it. Life is great!
Thank you for your time Helen!
If you are in Melbourne and want to go to the Fairy Floss Markets here are some upcoming dates to put in your diary.
Geelong: 18 September
Deakin Waterfront Campus
1 Gheringhap Street
GEELONG VIC 3217
Mt.Eliza: 25 September
The Peninsula School
MT ELIZA VIC 3930
The Manningham (next Marcellin College)
1 Thompsons Road
BULLEEN VIC 3105