Susan Gibbs, 49, from Canada, biggest passion is making baby dolls. She has dedicated her life to perfecting them.. “I saw reborns for the first time in 2009, and I couldn’t believe how real they looked. I purchased my first one that same year, then added two more after a couple of months. I realized they were expensive dolls to collect, so I tried my hand at making them myself.”
Susan decided that she would have to make these dolls herself. They held her attention and refused to let go.
“First, I was only making them for my family and me. Then it took off, especially when I made the switch to silicone dolls. Now I teach worldwide how to paint silicone dolls.”
Susan takes approximately four weeks to master each of her “babies.” By layering paints, she creates this realistic appearance. This method allows Susan to simulate the natural look of skin. Then, one by one, she inserts hair follicles until she reaches perfection. This procedure requires a long time – typically around thirty hours of hard, concentrated labor.
“Each doll I try to make better than the last one,” she stated. “When I do my online class, I finish painting a doll in five days, but on average, I make one or two newborns a month. I don’t take custom orders. I sell what I finish. Some are more expensive than others, depending on the price of the doll and the quality of the kit I use.”
Susan’s dolls are quite popular. Susan is receiving so many requests that she can’t keep up with them.
“I get a lot of inquiries daily. I can’t keep up with the messages. I always tell them that I will post photos on my social media when I’m done, but usually, my dolls sell before I start painting them. People message me what my line-up of kit is, then they secure the doll that they want to adopt.”
Customers buy Susan’s dolls for a variety of reasons. Not everyone is trying to replicate the experience of having a real baby. But some people are!
“Most of these dolls are used as therapy tools in nursing homes,” she said. “Some are memorial dolls for mothers who have lost their babies or had a miscarriage. While some are just collectors’ items. They are also used as special effects props in the film industry, especially birthing scenes.”
In 2011, Susan remembers giving a doll to an elderly woman as a present.
She said, “She never had a doll as a child. So on Christmas, I gave her a doll that I made to look like me when I was a baby. It was her very first doll, and she was 83. She squealed like a little girl and cried happy tears. That was priceless.”
Susan’s accomplishments are incredible and distinctive.
“I know most of my customers. Interestingly, they are young mothers between [the ages of] 30 [and] 40 from the USA. I don’t have a big clientele like eBay users do, and I don’t like selling on there because I want to know where my babies go. I don’t do custom orders.”