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A week ago I visited my friend who is recovering from ovarian cancer surgery. Sitting in bed with a nest of pillows around her, she smiled as I entered the room. I sat in a bedside chair and noticed the teal colored “don’t worry” doll I gave her clutched in her hand. This made me smile and warmed my heart. It’s why I make the dolls.
In the last couple months, several cancer situations have come to my attention. The latest one turns out to be a child I have actually met, a recent student in my kids yoga class. Her cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma, is one with which I have been unfamiliar. It’s stage 4 and aggressive. I found out the color associated with this type of cancer is yellow, so I made her a yellow doll. I’m having a friend deliver it to her tomorrow. I only saw her once and she may not remember me, and it doesn’t matter.
In addition to her yellow doll, I also finished up five pink ones for breast cancer healing today. One will go to a friend I’ve learned has breast cancer again. As different kinds of cancer come to my attention, I’ve created dolls to match the corresponding associated color. A few I’ve sold on my Etsy shop, and a growing number are gifts to help bring ease to challenging situations. Most of the time I don’t know the person, just their story. A girl with leukemia in the Pacific Northwest, someone’s friend in chemo in Illinois.
Lately I’ve been learning all I can about marketing, SEO, and optimizing social media for my Etsy shop and website. It’s mind boggling. Sitting here this late Sunday afternoon, I think of an interview with Paula Hoss I heard on the Etsy Conversation Podcast (http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/etsy-conversations-podcast/e/167-cln-drty-etsy-arts-crafts-diy-ecommerce-handmade-49295285). Essentially what Paula said was she’s more interested in forming relationships than making sales. When relationships are established, and the products match what customers need, the sales naturally follow. This rings true with the intention of my business.
Admittedly, I love the cash register sound from my Etsy shop, indicating another sale. More important, though, is having the chance to create small symbols of hope, imagining each one lovingly held in the palm of a warm hand.