The Sandie Unger story (Part 1)The Sandie Unger story (Part 1)

Dolls by Sandie´s Sandie Unger is a well known celebrity in the doll world, has taken the time to introduce you to the Colliii Awards 2008 jury member and doll world personality Sandie Unger

It was a priveledge to get together with Dolls by Sandie´s Sandie Unger not only for the Colliii Awards (of which she is a jury member) but also for this story and interview.

First lets let Sandie tell us about herself and her business. Many of you know that her webshop was one of the first worldwide, even having the shop translated into German to meet the needs of the German customers that loved to buy from Dolls by Sandie. After that find out Sandies opinions in this interview exclusive for


My Story....
Hello, my name is Sandie Unger, I live in the North Eastern part of the USA, in Pennsylvania. The area is known as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, decendants of Germany. Their dialect is Pennsylvania Dutch. (A form of German).

My husband of 43 years, Merlin (Moonie), was my childhood sweetheart, We met in 6th grade and have been together since. We have 3 grown children, 2 daughters and a son, all living within 5 minutes of us. We have 8 grandchildren ranging from 19 years old to 3 years old. Iam very fortunate to have a close, loving family.

I am also fortunate to do what I love the most. I get excited to get up in the morning and log into my website. I love my business and my customers. I devote my time and talent to my site.

I always considered myself crafty, even as a child (my sister tells me that I took all the talent and she got none). I was always designing and sewing. I can first remember using a needle and thread as a young girl to sew fabric scraps together to make my doll clothing, That progressed as I got older, designing for my dolls and recreating them into what I wanted to see. I just loved Dolls.

Once I was married and had children, I started sewing the children clothes. As the children grew, I would make them matching outfits. And once again I went back to making doll clothing so the girls could dress their dolls. I just loved to sew and it showed.

As my children left for school, I started to pursue my other love, painting, That grew into a Ceramic Studio and over the years, I went into pouring, painting and teaching. I loved to paint and I had students lined up and waiting for openings into our classes.

During the mid 90's, with our children grown and gone, I discovered vinyl doll kits and fell in love with assembling and creating these vinyl dolls. I found out how much I missed my dolls and this was just the greatest to create dolls and dress them again. I enjoyed it so much, I started to sell them in my Ceramic Studio. These dolls became so popular. They were taking more and more of my time. After having a ceramic studio for 32 years I decided to sell my business and devote
all my time to my growing doll business.

My children talked me into making a website for the dolls. I explored the internet and in the year 2000. I started my website for the dolls,

The first year was very slow, I would check my site every few days for an order, that is funny to think back on it now. I can even remember the single page of instructions to do a purple wash and reborn a doll. I guess not many of us can remember that day. There were people who actually sold those pages of instructions for $3.00. That is back when I had the time to paint the dolls.

Well, we just grew and grew from there. Now, all my time is devoted to the site and my customers. At first Reborners were ordering Berenguer Dolls and Ashton Drake Dolls and we would take them apart and ship them the doll parts. Secrist started making many size doll kits, ready to paint, as did other companies. But people still loved the Berenguer Dolls and would have to purchase the completed doll to reborn it. We spoke with Berenguer and convinced them to make the doll kits
that they have now. Saving the reborner from stripping paint off the doll first, before they could start their own creations. The Berenguer kits saved us lots of time instead of dissassembling dolls.
The customers loved these kits, and many companies started to produce them.

Our youngest daughter, Lisa, began working with us two years ago. Between the three of us, we work together to serve our customers. Our minds are always working on new ideas for the site and new ways to improve our service. We pride ourselves in prompt response to questions, same day shipping, and having everything in stock our customers may need. I love to add items to orders Free of charge and surprise my customers. I am always looking for Bargains, that I can use
as Free Gifts in their orders. I realize that this practice adds up to alot of money over time, but that will not stop me from giving back to my customers.
I am totally committed to doing my very best on my site and to serve my customers the best I can.

I absolutely love what I do and hope to continue for many years!

Sandie :
Why do you think people collect dolls, where is the attraction for most people?

Collecting dolls is a hobby. It is personal preference as to the type of doll they collect. Doll collectors enjoy the presence of dolls. They are very comforting and sometimes therapeutic.
You have been in the doll business for over 30 years, how have the dolls changed in that time?

I have actually been in the vinyl doll business for 14 years. My business began with assembling prepainted kits and selling them as completed dolls. I continue to sell these kits and completed dolls, however, the majority of my business is supplying reborners. How do you feel about all the new doll suppliers, have they affected the market for you?

Sandie: There are so many popping up and after seeing the market boom for dolls. They think they can just start a business and make a go of it. I have also seen many fail in this same amount of time. It takes 12-15 hours a day here, people do not understand that it takes that kind of time, the expense is high to stay up to date and keep the inventory stocked. We do same day shipping so that keeps us extremely busy! All the new business havne affected us so far though. Do you Reborn dolls yourself, if so who are your favorite artists?

I did reborn several dolls years ago when it first started around 2001. The last one I created was with Nicky and the Real Effect Paints, I absolutely loved it. But running a website is full time, I love what I do here and I devote all of my time to my website and servicing my customers. I enjoy seeing what others have created from their kits.
What things about dolls do people look for most when buying a collector doll, in your opinion?

Definitely the quality of the doll. The choices are so vast, every collector looks for what appeals to them. That is why we have such varieties in the market. Something for everyone!
What aspect of the doll world do you now have most contact with?

That answer is simple, Supplying Reborn customers with the best products, and the newest products and ideas
The global doll world has been brought together through the Internet and platforms like this one, but what differences do you see between doll lovers in the USA, Europe and other places. What about the artists, how do they differ from one region to the next?

With customers worldwide, I can honestly say I see no difference. All of my customers purchase a variety of kits from all different artists and all types of supplies. It does not differ from one region to the next. With so many customers and so many choices, we have something for everyone. Dolls by Sandie used to be in German as well as English, how did that develop?

Sandie: Well I used to have the website tranlsated by a friend of mine. I had a lot of German customers and there were no other webshops to supply them with the things they needed. I had a lot of fun and good times with the German side of things, but now that there are so many webshops in Germany, I decided as it was a lot of work to translate the website, I would concentrate on English. I like Germany a lot though and look forward to coming!
Thanks for your time Sandie, we look forward to welcoming you to Eschwege in a few weeks!

We would also like to thank Sandie who has just returned from doing some volunteer work. Sandie and her husband have travelled accross the USA to donate dolls to the children in a Native American reservation in Arizona. This has been done at their own expense but surely shows their wonderful spirit! Read more about this in "The Sandie Unger Story part 2" coming soon!

To visit Sandies website click here: