Misfit of the Month July 2019
Our Misfit of the Month this month focusses on wonderful custom cake toppers from Playcraft. If you want to add the finishing touch to your wedding cake with a handcrafted cake topper personalised to fit your own unique style, then take a look at this amazing collection!
Can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Julia and I'm the sole artist behind Playcraft Store on Etsy. I'm originally from Brazil, but now live in America (Florida) with my wonderful husband.
How long have you been doing this, where did it all begin?
I've always loved arts and crafts. I have a very creative mind and wanted to find an outlet that would allow me to share my passion and still be able to make an income doing what I love. One day my daughter set me up on Etsy and we worked together for a period of time. Later, I carried on with it and honed in my skills with each piece I made. I experienced a very humble beginning, but over time my skills improved and I found I was able to create a product someone was willing to pay me for. The rest is what you see today.
What sort of items can people buy from Playcraft?
I currently offer custom handcrafted cake toppers made of cold porcelain. My primary sales are for wedding cake toppers and birthday cake toppers. However, I also receive requests for keepsakes on anniversaries. I have some plans in the works to expand my business into many other celebratory trinkets, but at a significantly lower cost then others. These are items I would produce here in my studio which would be all original works.
Birthday Party Decorations
What inspires you and your work?
My work is the creative imagination of my customers who share their ideas with me and we discuss various options I feel I can offer them. Together we finalize what they would like and I do the rest. Many times my customers tell me; "Just use your creative imagination to fill in the blanks because I want to be surprised." This is wonderful from an artists perspective, but it always makes me worry if they will like the finished product.
I get very inspired when someone leaves me a heartfelt review about my work. When someone takes time to leave a review I know made a difference in their life, at one of the most important moments of their life. That really touches my heart and motivates me to work harder. I absolutely love what I do and the happiness it brings others.
Which of your creations are most popular at the moment?
The most popular are my wedding cake toppers. Not the traditional cute bride and groom, but instead super heroes! Everyone has an alternate identity they want to live as.
I suppose when we were children we always wanted to be Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman or a Princess (Belle).
My work allows my customers to become their favorite super hero on their special day, and they get a keepsake that will last a lifetime.
However, the other half of my business which is very popular are in fact the very adorable traditional bride and groom. I'm able to make fabric wedding dresses in miniature, or a combination of cold porcelain and fabric to make the bride look as fabulous as she is.
The men, well the men.... most want to be super heroes in most cases. Hahaha, I love it though!
Do you have a favourite style/design?
My favorite style or design is honestly whatever makes my customers happy. Their happiness overwhelms me with joy. Having said that, I love making the brides as Wonder Woman, Nurse, Cat-Woman etc. Because the female curves look so adorable and I love my woman dolls to be very beautiful and feminine.
Are there any subcultures or wedding themes you feel your work is particularly suited to?
Honestly, I do cute and super hero so much when I receive a request to do something a little more dark I LOVE IT!! I don't like frightening movies, but I love making some very unusual dolls. One of my most recent was a Nightmare Before Christmas theme. Groom was Jack, Bride was Sally and their dog was Zero.
It turned out so wonderful and I'm proud to say my customer loved it!! I'm happy to create just about anything, "IN MY STYLE." I don't create exact replicas of people. I love my style because it's 100% unique to me and my store.
Without giving away your secrets, can you tell us a bit about your work process?
I build my dolls using cold porcelain I import from Brazil. This is very important because it is unique to the region and you can not find it anywhere else. It's hand made using a very special recipe. It's the secret to lasting a long time and maintaining color and shape. I also use paint, glue, styrofoam pins, etc. Every single piece is made to order. Individually hand-crafted by me alone, painted, packaged and shipped.
As you can imagine I'm very busy. But I love what I do and it allows me to make a humble living. It takes me about 6-8 weeks to complete a cake topper. It has to be done in stages to allow the cold porcelain time to cure properly. However, I often can take rush orders. I always deliver well before the expected delivery date and always have several projects in the works at once.
You obviously take custom orders, what sort of customisations can be requested?
My customers are only limited by their imagination. I've never said; "No, I can't do that." If something is beyond my skills I'll simply let my customers know, but offer alternate options for the creation. My customers can change hair style and color, eye color, skin tone and clothing and color, for FREE. I always offer a free bouquet for the bride and wedding rings as beautiful little details for free.
What is the weirdest, or most interesting/unusual, project you have worked on?
The most unusual doll I've ever created is a groom Darth Maul from Star Wars. It currently has blown away total daily views on my Etsy and Pinterest. There's a huge Star Wars following and people really seem to love it.
Second to that is my various versions of Batman. Each has a slightly different appearance which people seem to love.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
What I love most about what I do is working with my customer to help customize the idea they have, and then bringing it to reality. The positive comments left in my reviews are so flattering. It makes me very proud. If I may toot my horn for a moment. I've sold nearly 700 cake toppers in the 4 years I've been doing this and I've received well over 200 five star perfect reviews. I've never received less than a perfect rating. That in it self speaks volumes to my dedication and the satisfaction of my customers. On Pinterest my wedding cake toppers board receives on average more than 74,000 monthly views. #soproud
Can you talk us through what you feel makes Playcraft stand out from the crowd?
I believe what makes Playcraft Store stand out from the crowd are several very important points.
- Exceptional customer service. I reply to all my customers typically within a few seconds, or a few minutes, 24 hours a day. My husband helps me a lot with this.
- I create a high quality product at a very affordable price. In fact, most of my competitors create a very basic product at a significantly higher price and they charge for every detail. My prices are pretty much exactly what you see advertised on my Etsy. The only time I have to quote a slightly different price is if something significant is requested as an add-on. ie. a dog, a child etc.
- I set the expectation on a delivery date and meet it 100% of the time. I've never been late, and I've never not delivered. Thank you United States Postal Service. At least one thing our government hasn't let me down about. Haha!
- I accept custom orders and I allow last minute changes at NO extra charge. As long as time permits I'll do it, no extra charge. 100% success rate thus far.
Finally, I believe what sets Playcraft Store apart from others is that I genuinely love what I do. I love working with my customers. I love that I'm blessed to be part of such an important day in their lives. If I'm being honest.... I love that my work of art is on display at every wedding and in every home that purchased from me. The stories my customers share with me make me so happy I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
What can customers expect from you and your work?
My customers can expect more than what they asked for. I believe in exceeding expectations, not meeting them. Otherwise, I'm just another shop on the web. You only get one chance to make a great first impression. I have to do just that every day, with every customer.
Do you have any tips or advice for couples planning an alternative wedding?
The best advice I can give is don't hold back on your brilliant ideas. Don't let anyone tell you your ideas are silly. Let your imagination run wild. Be creative and let that side of YOU show to the world. What you're ordering from me is a representation of who you are and your love for one another. It will be a keepsake to last a life time.
If you're in the market for this type of product don't be fooled by initial listing prices. It's typically a bait to get you in the door and then they want to charge for every single detail. Before you know it your price tag just went through the roof. There are many honest and talented artists out there. Everyone has their own style that appeals to specific individuals. No matter where you buy just proceed with caution like anything else.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
As a final thought. The reason why I've have had perfect reviews is because I've developed a reputation of exceptional craftsmanship, customer service and commitment to on time delivery every single time. Come visit me today!!!
What a wonderful insight into the Playcraft world, thanks Julia, you're a superstar!