Girl Entrepreneur #004
Name: Charlotte Gould
Location: Arizona, USA
Business Name: Stitches By Charlotte
Born with a cleft lip and palate, Charlotte Gould had to undergo several operations before the age of four. She remembers the experience even now and can recall being terrified and uncertain. It is this, along with a Christmas gift, that led to Charlotte starting her business.
After her grandmother gifted her a sewing machine two years ago, Charlotte took up sewing as a hobby. Wishing that she had had something soft to hold onto and comfort her while she was in the hospital, she began to sew her first doll. She gave this doll a small scar over her lip so that it had the same surgery scar as Charlotte.
Charlotte received so much positive feedback for making a doll with a facial difference that requests for more dolls started flooding in. She realised that there was a gap in the market for dolls specifically designed for children who had had or were having surgery just like her. As a result, she has sewed and sent over 150 dolls across the USA, with some even reaching as far as Canada and Mexico!
The aim of her business is two-fold: to comfort children having surgery and make them smile with her handmade dolls, and to support cleft lip and palate charities with the profits she makes from the dolls.
Charlotte is currently raising funds to make personalised dolls for different surgeries so that every child who needs one can find a doll with a matching ailment. She hopes to have a line of these special dolls that will be available on her website and in paediatric hospital gift shops. The idea is that every doll will come with a kid-friendly needle, thread and instructions on how to personalise the doll to match the child’s particular medical situation.
Charlotte hopes that her dolls will help children feel less alone and scared during their time in hospital, and help them to understand what the surgery will entail and how it will impact them afterwards. It is so important that every child, whether sick, disabled or scarred feels they are represented in the toys they love. Charlotte’s solution to the lack of representation in dolls is excellent.
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