Paige Lackey Martin discovered doll making while coming up with a plan to market her children’s book. And like they say, the rest was history. Paige is a phenomenal artist and has created The Color of Humanity™Dolls . These dolls have multicolored faces because humanity has no color. Her company also provides doll making classes focused on the history of black doll making. Learn more about Paige and her amazing doll collection below.
Name: Paige Martin
Her Business: Paige Martin Books & Art
Paige Lackey Martin is a mixed-media artisan. Martin combined her creative talent as a writer and artist into literary and visual art products that inspire, influence, and enable an innovate creativity in others.
In 2010 she launched Paige Martin Books & Art, a book publishing, and art company.
The Color of Humanity™Dolls were created to bridge all cultures thus promoting that humanity, pure kindness, and benevolence are attributes of the human race which transcends ethnicities and cultures. Designed with premium quality materials, these handmade dolls revel in mixed-media artisan, featuring specialty, wall, and soft fabric dolls and doll products.
What services does your business offer?
We are Paige Martin Books & Art and we are the creators of the Color Of Humanity™ Dolls. We specialize in handmade dolls that range from specialty dolls made of clay, Wall Dolls or mixed media art dolls, and luxe soft dolls made of fabric. We also offer other products in our doll lines such as doll pencils and pens, stationery note cards, doll kits, paper dolls for scrapbooking, and clutch bags to name a few. We also teach doll making workshops to kids, teenagers, and adults that focus on the history of Black Doll Making. The doll workshops are a big hit with Girl Scouts, girl groups, self-esteem and self-image building exercises, and parties.
Why did you start this business?
I started this business because even though my educational training is in Science, I have always been artistic and operated arts enrichment programs with non-profits, schools, and churches as a side gig. When my sons were born, my focused changed to pursue my own artistic interests as a way to create income but be able to spend more time with my children.
Why did you enter into this industry?
This industry seemed like a natural progression since I am always creating things. I will admit that the challenge to start creating dolls came from an artist friend of mine. I had written a children’s book entitled “Daniel Keep Dreaming”, two years prior to creating dolls and used photography illustrations for the artwork. I was looking for a different idea for the artwork for my second children’s book and my artist friend suggested making dolls and using them in the pictures. I had never thought of making dolls and didn’t think that I could until I tried. After about 16 failed attempts and major mistakes, the dolls started to actually look appealing and I was creating my own style with them.
I multicolored the faces of the dolls and named them the Color of Humanity™Dolls because humanity has no one color. Humanity doesn’t belong to a particular race, creed, or color. It is about how kind and benevolent a person is. Then people started to buy them and what they represented. The specialty dolls evolved into the Wall Dolls and the Wall Dolls evolved into the luxe soft dolls. I wanted to create a doll for different purposes and at different cost points. The specialty doll is an art piece and is our high end selling doll. The wall doll is also an art piece but it is purposed for wall art and more affordably priced than the specialty doll. Our luxe soft doll is a sophisticated twist on the rag doll of yesteryear. It is for kids and adults, but definitely less fragile than the specialty and wall dolls, and also more affordably priced.
If the specialty, wall or soft dolls are not in a customer’s budget we also offer the handmade pencils and pens which can be framed and displayed as wall art. Entering a handcrafted art industry is competitive and as a seller, your represented products have to be unique but most importantly must sell. Moving into the industry was a natural move for me.
What challenges did you face launching your business?
Funds to support my marketing campaigns has been my greatest challenges in a business. Anyone in business knows that marketing is essential to your success, but marketing is expensive. What has helped my business tremendously is being organized with our social media marketing where most of my customers are found. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest have made great impacts on our business and has helped us to get noticed in major publications such as Art Doll Magazine and Stuffed Magazine. Marketing is a necessary beast which is often time-consuming. Finding a space to showcase our products and conduct our workshops was also a challenge for some years until I was able to secure space in a storage facility which I turned into a doll boutique with a conference room attached. When I was working solely out of my home, people would want to see my products and allowing people I didn’t know to come to my home was an unsafe option. This storage space has been a great affordable solution for our small business.
Marketing is a necessary beast which is often time-consuming. Finding a space to showcase our products and conduct our workshops was also a challenge for some years until I was able to secure space in a storage facility which I turned into a doll boutique with a conference room attached. When I was working solely out of my home, people would want to see my products and allowing people I didn’t know to come to my home was an unsafe option. This storage space has been a great affordable solution for our small business.
What experiences did you learn from corporate America?
I have worked in corporate environments but I never really believed that corporate would be my career path. Maybe because during down time at work I was off sketching or quenching my thirst to do something artistic. But working in these environments did help me to be more organized, conscience about meeting deadlines, and enhanced my communication skills.
What helped you transition from corporate employee to entrepreneur?
What helped my transition from a corporate employee to entrepreneur was the birth of my children and the desire to operate my own business so that I could be available to them. My vision for how I would operate a business also would not allow me to do both. I was ready to dedicate more time to what I wanted to create as opposed to working for someone else.
What tools do you use to help manage your business?
Social Media Platform apps, Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Video and Photography apps
My morning routine is to get my sons off to school by 7:45. I usually return home by 8:15 a.m. and am working until 1:00 p.m. where I am creating more products for inventory, completing administrative tasks, sending invoices, or creating new business opportunities with clients. My business also partners with other companies in the afternoon where I teach kids art with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math for a STEM program.
“You can have everything you want in life, you just can’t have it all at the same time.” ~ Monica Pearson
3 Things in your purse you cannot live without:
I desperately need my reading glasses because the vision struggle is real! I am not a makeup girl at all but I do love my bareMinerals marvelous Moxie lip gloss. I also have dry skin and my friend makes this oil that is oh so wonderful! I wish she would take the plunge and get that oil on the market because I cannot live without it.
Advice I would give to my younger self:
I cannot sum up in a short answer what advice I would give to my younger self. I am a Virgo and we come with a lot stuff! We are so hard on others but mostly on ourselves. We are perfectionists that can be problematic for others. Our vision of how things should be on many levels can be complex.
I would first tell my younger self to be entrusting to God and his will for me. Be the best that you can be in whatever you do, be prepared, be disciplined, be kind to others and but especially to yourself. Enjoy every moment that life has to offer. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Everything doesn’t have to be stressful. Be more optimistic and most importantly, trust your intuition even if people if it doesn’t make any sense to anyone else, trust your own intuition!
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