Imagination turned invention
For Glenn Ann Bayne, making paper dolls growing up as a child was one of her fondest memories. From the designing and creating process to the intricate steps, it takes to cut around those delicate pieces, ever so carefully as to not tear the paper-thin masterpieces. It was a tedious process and the results were always unique. A lot of lovely memories were made from such a simple craft and the imagination involved knew no boundaries.
For many of us who grew up on a limited budget, paper doll making was an inexpensive hobby that our parents approved of and we knew we didn’t need much to create on our own. The most important part was how much fun we had making them.
Finding the Founder of Paper Doll Blanket; Glenn Ann Bayne
One of our favorite things to do on Instagram is to watch Chrissy Teigan’s Instagram stories. Recently she showed a video of what we thought was a GENIUS product and we had to find out who made these adorable paper doll blankets! So we
stalked found the creator on Instagram and asked her if we could interview her and find out more about her business; Paper Doll Blanket.
Watch adorable Luna as she plays with her new Paper Doll Blanket:
From gift-giving to business beginnings
We love discovering seriously super creative moms such as Glenn Ann Bayne who started her business from simply being a generous person who loves to create unique one-of-a-kind quilts for her family as newborn baby gifts. From one creative gift idea, she knew she was on to something and Paper Doll Blanket was born!
What were some of your biggest hurdles and obstacles you ran into in the beginning? How did you overcome them?
Our biggest hurdle has been working capital. We didn’t have a lot of our own money to put into the business so we run a very lean budget. We do almost everything ourselves to keep costs down. We haven’t had a lot to put into marketing which has made it difficult and slow-going to get our product seen.
What was your first ‘aha’ moment that made you realize you had a marketable product?
I have sewn and have been creative for as long as I can remember. I really started sewing a lot over the last 10 years as I was a stay at home mom and had time on my hands.
I started making baby blankets for all the babies born in our family. Needless to say, we have a huge family and there were tons of baby blankets being made! Each quilt I made had a unique appliqué design on it that was to the taste of the baby’s room or the parent’s likes.
When my sister (and business partner) was having my niece, I wanted to make something extra special for her quilt. I was obsessed with dolls and paper dolls as a kid (and still kinda am) so I thought; “Why not do a paper doll on the quilt so she could change her clothes?”. So I made the first Paper Doll Blanket. Once I saw the finished blanket I knew I was onto something special.
When I gave it to my sister, she could hardly believe it, she thought it was so cool! She started to research to see if she could find anything like it on the market but found nothing. So we decided to go for it!
This video went viral on Facebook and they knew they truly had something special!
Would you do anything differently at the beginning of your shop if you knew then what you knew now? If you could go back in time what would you tell Glenn Ann before she started?
I wouldn’t tell her anything because if she knew how hard it was going to be she wouldn’t do it. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done but I do love what we do and love that our product brings so much happiness to others.
What advice do you have for parents who have a great idea for a product or service and are not sure where to begin?
Either do focus groups or ask a lot of people if your product is “remarkable”. Will people talk about or share your product because they love it or really need it? BE TENACIOUS!
Would you consider or have you considered getting a licensing deal with a major brand or applying for a deal on Shark Tank perhaps?
I am not sure about the licensing deal but we would be open to it. We have applied for Shark Tank twice and are will likely apply again this year. Both times we made it to the second round. They had us make a 5-10 minute video answering a bunch of questions they gave us upfront. They don’t tell you why you don’t get in, but our best guess is that we are not super high energy TV people so it doesn’t come naturally to us. But we will fake it till we make it!
Does anyone in your family help with running your business or do you have any employees/assistants?
YES! My amazing computer genius sister and business partner Laura Villivieille. She does all the website/marketing/photography and much more. We also have two local sewing companies that do most of our sewing (I still do some).
Glenn Ann Bayne (right) with her sister and partner Laura Villivieille (left)
View this post on Instagram
Happy International Women’s Day! We are proud to come from a family of strong women. We didn’t think twice when we opened our company because we were shown as kids that we can do anything. Thanks to all the fab females that showed us the way! @laura.villevieille #internationalwomensday #femaleowned #femaleentrepreneur #sisterowned
What does a typical day or week look like for you?
I still have another job, I work from home as a bookkeeper part-time. When I’m working on my Paper Doll Blanket business, it’s fulfilling orders, sewing and designing new stuff, inventory control, bookkeeping, marketing and research and much, much more!
Do you still have your Etsy shop and if not what made you decide to close it?
We don’t have an Etsy shop anymore. We needed a website that would support our custom ordering options. A site that makes the customer experience easy and fun.
How did you get your product to Chrissy Tiegan? Did someone gift it to her or did you send it yourself? What was your reaction when you saw it on Instagram?
We sent Chrissy a blanket to her agent’s office and we couldn’t believe she got it! It really was a shot in the dark, you don’t expect it to actually work. We created a blanket that looked like her daughter Luna and we sent special outfits just for her. We made little rock t-shirts that looked like her dad’s concert t-shirts. We also sent items that were related to cooking (for Chrissy) and princess dresses of course because we noticed Luna was always wearing princess dresses on Instagram.
We also sent a blanket to Kelly Clarkson for her daughter but we haven’t heard anything yet. We specifically chose Kelly after seeing on the Voice that she liked to quilt and made all of her fellow judges quilts.
I will say a lot of research went into who we chose and what we sent them. I spent about 6 months combing Instagram celebrity accounts with small children.
Questions I asked myself when choosing, “Do they have kids? Do they show their kids with toys? Is their Instagram off the cuff? (meaning not staged and more natural living). Do the products shown in the account only seem to be paid ads?”
I also watched youtube for how to send products to celebrities. There are certain items you should send with your package to get the best results and it gave me tips on where to send the package to as celebrity addresses are not on google.
If there was one thing that you want to be remembered for what would it be? What legacy does Glenn Ann Bayne wish to leave for your children and the world?
That I built a company that brings joy to people and that treats its customer and employees with kindness, respect and love.
Thank you SO MUCH Glenn Ann for your incredibly inspiring words and helpful advice. We wish you great success!