20 sets of peering eyes led me to Giovanna’s BonniyDollies store in Greenwich Market! There I met cuddly companions Lola and Pepe the cat, Giovanna’s cute, totally customisable dollies kitted out in adorable dresses, trousers and tutus. A thoughtful gift for loved ones, these dollies can be made to resemble loved ones so families far and wide can remember those we miss and cherish.
What town do you work in?
Tell us something that makes your town special.
London is an amazing place for creative people. There are so many things, places and people you can get inspirations from. I am originally from Cali, a City in Colombia, South America and I personally like watching people on the street, I love to see the diversity in cultures, something I never experienced back home. London is big and there are many places I still need to explore; I like to have that sense of discovering and feeling surprised every time I see something new.
How long have you been in business? Is it something you started yourself, inherited or ‘fell into’?
I started to make rag-dolls 2 years ago. It was introduced to me by a friend who live in Barcelona; We talk occasionally about sewing projects and she was making a doll for her little niece so I thought I can take the challenge too.
Making rag-dolls is not my only job. I do work full time in the NHS as a Medical Technologist at Guy’s & St Thomas hospital and in my days off I make the dolls. To me it is a perfect combination; My job in the hospital can be stressful at times and making the dolls help me to have the right balance and keep any stress level down.
What’s special about your business? What sets you apart from the competition?
At the moment I make a doll called Lola and a cat called Pepe.
Initially I wanted to make a doll for my little nephew that lives in Colombia. I don’t get to see him often enough so I wanted to make a doll that looks just like me with dark skin and dark eyes, something he will remember me for.
I make custom dolls too.
Anything else you want to tell us about your business? Have you got famous customers, do you do anything special for the local community, do you run workshops?
I’m working at the moment with new dolls, so watch the space!
Do you employ other people? Are they friends, relatives or ‘just employees? What do they bring to the business?
I do not have employees. At the moment is only me. I do everything, the drawing, the sewing, stitching, stuffing, packaging and the selling at the market. I am planning to get my boyfriend involved as he is a photographer and will take pretty pictures of my dolls to improve the ones I already have on my website.
Tell us ONE thing you love about being a market trader.
Being in the market is a privilege. I like the PEOPLE, the interaction I have, not only with customers but the other traders too.
Tell us ONE thing you could do without.
Take away service. I am not fan of take away and I’m not a lover of fast food either.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Breakfast. I am a breakfast person and I have to have lots of food in the morning to feel good for the rest of the day. I am lucky that in my days off I get to spend my mornings having a good big breakfast and planning my sewing projects.
Are you doing anything to celebrate International Women’s Day #downthemarket?
I’m going to be working at home in my new dolls. I would like to be ready for Easter so I need to hurry up. They are going to be smaller but still as cute as usual.