Meet Loanne Hizo Ostlie. The 39-year-old doll collector is the creative force behind a successful Ebay business (Tabloach Productions); she re-paints and “re-roots” Barbies and other dolls to give them contemporary makeup and ethnic hairstyles.
Wouldn’t you or your ‘lil Mama love to own a customized Barbie doll? I know I would. Read Hot Mama Daily’s email chat with the California-based designer and learn how she gets her creations all dolled up.
Hot Mama Daily: Why did you start redesigning dolls?
Loanne: I used to collect Barbies when I was a little girl and discovered Ebay when it first launched. I started purchasing and collecting the dolls again, and stumbled upon an auction for a customized Barbie doll that was going for $300. The doll had makeup and a perm. I think the seller also designed her cute dress. It looked so simple that I thought to myself, “I could do that!” And so I searched on the web for any other doll designers to learn their tricks and techniques. I started customizing Barbie, but the competition became flooded. So I now concentrate on customizing Barbie’s little sister, Kelly.
HMD: Did you originally do it for fun or did you plan it as a business venture?
Loanne: I originally wanted to earn extra income. It’s still a fun side hobby for me and the income that comes from it is an added bonus. I’m still in awe every time someone wants to buy one of my dolls.
HMD: Have you run into any copyright problems with the dolls’ manufacturers?
Loanne: I haven’t, mainly because I put a stipulation that the dolls I use are just used as a base model and that I am not affiliated with any doll company or brand.
HMD: What is involved in giving Barbie, Kelly, or Ken an extreme makeover?
Loanne: It depends on how extreme I get with the design. It all starts with a conceptual idea. Sometimes it’s inspired from the things I see everyday and sometimes it just pops into my head before I wake up. Most of the time, materials that are just lying around my work room end up on the doll, inspiring me to add more here and there until it materializes itself. Usually a full OOAK (One-of-a-Kind) takes about 3 or 4 days. Repaints and reroots can be done in a couple of hours.
HMD: Describe your re-rooting process. For example, do you just restyle the doll’s hair or do you also change the doll’s makeup, complexion, outfit, etc? And how long does it take you to re-root a doll’s hair?
Loanne: If I repaint the doll, it’s usually a partial repaint. I mainly concentrate on the hair. I don’t know why, but the hair is the part I have the most fun with. I begin with popping off the head from the body, cutting and trimming away all the manufactured hair and plucking the rest of the plugs from inside the neck hole. I then add the new hair by rooting it into the existing plugs or hand sew a new wig onto the scalp and they style it. There are a lot of tutorials on my website that will explain the process or repainting and rerooting further.
HMD: Do you have any children and do they love dolls as much as you do?
Loanne: I have one teen daughter who, ironically, isn’t into playing dolls. Perhaps it lost its appeal since she grew up watching me behead a lot of dolls and fix doll body parts.
Image credit: Tabloach Productions