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These Missouri-Made Bespoke Baby Dolls and Stuffed Animals Make the Perfect Holiday Gift

These Missouri-Made Bespoke Baby Dolls and Stuffed Animals Make the Perfect Holiday Gift

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From Andrea Martin’s home in Washington, Missouri, come the cutest custom creations for kids. Her bespoke baby dolls, bunnies and more are all created under the brand adorably dubbed Woodland Whimsies.

“Collecting dolls was something I always did with my grandma, and she’s the one that taught me to sew when I was like 15,” says Martin, who founded Woodland Whimsies in 2020. “I wanted to re-create a doll that my grandma and I had made together when I was in middle school. When she passed away, she had given me the pattern for that doll, and so I guess that was my first doll I created for my daughters last summer.”

Martin says the first doll she made inspired her to search for more patterns, which ultimately led her to start creating her own such patterns.

“Suddenly, I just made everything from little swaddle babies for younger kids to stuffed animals and look-alike dolls for older kids,” Martin says. “My goal is that vintage vibe without having a 1990s craft-fair feel.”

Woodland Whimsies dolls are sold at Lass & Laddie in Kirkwood, at Bonboni Mercantile Co. in St. Louis’ Shaw neighborhood and at woodlandwhimsies.shop.

“I make all of them by hand,” Martin says. “It’s me embroidering faces, and I’m cutting out patterns and searching for really beautiful fabrics. There’s no two identical creations.”

Woodland Whimsies offers ready-to-ship items, such as its swaddle babies, a beautiful blue floral bunny and a darling deer sporting a bow and blue overalls – as well as custom dolls.

“They can choose the animal; they can choose a color scheme,” Martin says of her clients. “I can also embroider names onto the animals for the kid. I can do matching bows for a little girl to match her dolls. I’ve done a matching bow tie for little boys to match the fox. Pretty much anything that someone’s come up to me and asked, ‘Can you?’ I will try. If I think I can achieve it, I’ll go for it.”

A portion of the proceeds from each sale benefits Woodland Whimsies’ St. Jude Buddies initiative, which Martin started this past March.

“A close friend of mine’s son was diagnosed with cancer, and he was in Memphis at St. Jude,” Martin explains. “Our kids are the same age, and so it felt really personal because here I am, with my healthy daughter, and her son is so, so very sick. You just feel so helpless – like I can do zero things to help him survive. I just kind of woke up one day with this crazy idea of, what if he had a friend that looks like how he looks now, with his scars, his tattoos from radiation and his new hearing aids from his hearing that he lost from chemotherapy and radiation?”

Martin says she messaged her friend and asked if the friend thought her son would like one, and she said yes.

“I just created it that day – I got really excited about it,” Martin says. “I looked at her pictures of her son, and I always noticed that this one owl stuffed animal always went to St. Jude with him, and so I created a little version of the owl for his little doll, and I sent it away, thinking, ‘I hope this goes well.’ He received it and he loved it. He took it with him to every single treatment, and I always got pictures back of his little buddy in the wagon with his mask on, and he would get an IV first, and it was just very special to him. That’s when I was like, OK, this needs to become a thing.”

Martin says she has created three St. Jude Buddies this year and looks forward to making more.

“It just feels so purposeful,” Martin says. “I will make as many as people let me create because it just kind of takes away that helpless feeling of ‘There’s nothing I can do.’”

Woodland Whimsies, woodlandwhimsies.shop

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Dan Bindler has served as a committee and board member of multiple professional and civic organizations, both in the St. Louis area and across the nation.