“It’s a labor of love,“ she said of her company, Celine’s Dolls.
Living in Brooklyn, Choi is in the business of creating hand made, one of a kind dolls.
“I never make two that are alike,” Choi said. “They are as unique as we are.”
As her orders have started flooding in, the variety is endless as she sews princesses, rock stars, superheroes and even hipster dolls for her fans.
Choi will often match accessories when she sews her objet d'art. The doll’s hair will often match the heart shaped lips, and that color scheme might go along with the rest of the doll’s clothing.
“I’m very French that way,” said the French native now living in Brooklyn. “I need to match everything.”
Aside from the color, Choi rarely plans out a doll, making the result almost a complete surprise.
Each doll can take up to six hours to create.
“I cut everything, and they just come alive,” she said.
Choi’s inspiration comes from the people and world around her. For instance, the hipster dolls resemble her neighbors in Williamsburg, with big square glasses, while the rock stars might have purple hair.
“I love to sit at a café and watch people,” Choi said. “Sometimes I look at people and say, ‘Ah, they would make a great doll,’ because they have such great personality.”
Most dolls are custom orders, modeled after the people she is creating for. According to Choi, many people send pictures of their kids and she puts them in doll form.
“I make a mini version of them,” Choi explained.
Each one comes with a heart and the initial of the first name of the person it was made after. Choi even hand writes the tag.
She uses merino wool felt, French and Japanese cotton fabrics, sparkly thread and hypoallergenic fiberfill. She also adorns the dolls with antique beads crystals, ribbons and buttons that sometimes even come from her own wardrobe.
The materials are chosen to be conscious of kid’s allergies and everything is securely sewn, so the dolls are completely ‘baby proof,’ however they are not just for children.
According to Choi, many dolls get passed on as a family heirloom and many adults even buy one for themselves.
She too will admit that she sometimes finds it hard to say goodbye to her creations, however she sends warm wishes as they are sent off to their new homes.
“They are packed with a lot of positive energy and lots of love,” Choi said.
Her favorite part of making dolls is getting the chance to deliver her toys in person.
“I do that to inspire kids, to create and explore,” Choi said.
Celine’s Dolls can be bought directly through her, on Etsy or in stores like Smoochie Baby at 110 Berry St. and Frolic! Play Space at 34 N 6th St. and at Yoya in Manhattan.