I came across a page on Facebook of these really cute dolls. They looked hand made and zombie-ish, I had to find out some more about them. These dolls are the brain child of Marley Harbuck Gibson. Let us find out just how she came up with this pretty cool idea.
Amy: Where did you come up with the idea for these dolls?
MHG: "My husband, Patrick Burns (from TruTV’s Haunting Evidence and The Travel Channel’s Paranormal Challenge) and I have spent the past three years traveling the country in our RV motor home we lovingly call Midge, seeing America from coast-to-coast, and going to paranormal events and conferences from L.A. to Louisville and Boston to Fort Meyers. We were in Florida in November 2010 at one particular psychic fair where Patrick was one of the headline speakers. I had a table set up selling my young adult book series, GHOST HUNTRESS, as well as other things like necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. There was a lady sitting near me making voodoo dolls. Not just any voodoo dolls, but really UGLY ones with floppy heads, eyes that were not sewn on good and one arm was longer than the next. Really…well, sorry, third grade art project. But she sold them. Every last one of them. People wiped her out. I told Patrick, 'I can do better than that.' I came up with the idea to do not a voodoo doll (everyone does that) rather a zombie doll to capture the popularity of things like THE WALKING DEAD and famous zombie movies. I wanted them to be cute, though, so I sketched out a design and explained it to a seamstress who agreed to help me make the dolls. And thus, they began. But it blossomed from there. Patrick and I came up with the idea of making them different and more memorable…of letting them stand alone. So, we came up with the whole concept of a zombie doll that comes with a death certificate with his or her (punny) name and (punny) cause of death. The original dolls came with a full color death certificate signed by “G. Reaper.” Then, we got smart and put the information on their toe tag and then zipped them up into a body bag. We have several “lines” of new dolls coming out this year, including DogNabIts ™, CatNipIts, GradNabits, DagNabIt Heroes, and many more."
Amy: What was the purpose in making them?
MHG: "Doing so many conferences, you have to stand out in a sea of vendor tables. It’s not enough that I have a 7-book young adult fiction series, I needed other things to get people to my table. Of course, people come up just to talk shop with Patrick, but I really wanted an item that no one else had. Something that set me aside and that’s how the whole idea of the DagNabIt doll took off. Oh…and if people are wondering about the name…there are a lot of voodoo dolls and such, mainly originating from the New Orleans area. Some are called Poppits, and there’s been a line of Ugly dolls and Dammit Dolls. I thought of my grandmother, who taught me how to sew and embroider when I was a little girl, and I thought how offended she would have been with the term, “Dammit Doll.” She had two curse word-phrases. The first was “I swanee,” for “I swear,” and “DagNabIt,” for “Dammit.” Thus the name was born and the concept just took off from there."
Amy: How can people contact you for more information?
MHG: "We have a website for the dolls, but we’re literally selling them as fast as we can make them, so mainly, it’s best for people to contact us via our Facebook page. We have pictures of the zombies available to be claimed from the morgue. If you see a doll that’s already been claimed, we can still make something similar for you. And, we can do custom orders. Many paranormal teams want dolls of their group and their likeness. We did dolls for the SCARED! team out of New Jersey, and have orders for other groups in California, Massachusetts, and Mississippi. You can always contact us by email too."
Amy: What do these dolls cost?
MHG: "All DagNabIts (unless a custom order) are $29.95 which includes the doll, the toe tag, the body bag, tax, handling AND shipping. Each doll is individually handmade and hand sewn...no mass production or anything. There’s a lot of love, attention, time, and hard work that goes into making each doll. You’d pay over $120 for an American Girl doll or a Cabbage Patch kid. We want people to know that we put a lot of ourselves (creatively) into each zombie baby."
Amy: How are they made?
MHG: "Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails. LOL! Well, they are zombie babies. Actually, a friend of mine who’s a seamstress, and I make these by hand. My husband, Patrick is very involved with printing our own fabrics and designing graphics for our use. But my friend and I sit long hours sewing and embroidering, stuffing, shaping and making these dolls come alive with blingy fabric, mismatched eyes, and wild and crazy original and memorable hair-dos. They’re made of a lot of recycled fabrics and older buttons and just embroidery thread and yarn. Very simple, but it’s an effort of love to put one together. The final touch is adding the toe tag death certificate with the zombie’s cause of death. The pun-lover in me seriously loves this part."
Amy: What makes them special?
MHG: "Well, as I said, each doll is handmade and hand sewn. There’s no mass production or sweat shop aspect of it…unless we don’t have the air conditioning on down here in the Florida Keys. Although there are others who are trying to pass off our design and idea as their own, these are the one and only, original DagNabIt dolls. They’re special because they make people smile and laugh. I never get tired of the burst of giggles that come from people when I tell them the dolls come with their own toe tag with their death certificate and zipped up in their own body bag."
Amy: Can they be custom made for anything?
MHG: "Absolutely! I’ve included a couple of custom dolls we’ve done. As I said, a lot of paranormal teams have contacted us to make dolls for them. We have people who want a doll in their likeness and we do everything in our creative power to make it happen. Custom dolls do run higher in price, but it’s usually because we spend a lot more time and effort on them…which really pays off in the end. Basically, since we print our own fabrics, we can do ANYTHING. Any design, any color, any fabric. We even have glow-in-the-dark dolls that people have been snatching up left and right lately. We just enjoy making people laugh and smile and giving them what we hope will be a beloved treasure in their home or office."
MHG: "If you go on Facebook, here are some customers who’ll give you their perspective on the dolls and why they keep coming back for more."
I personally love these dolls and think it was an amazing idea. Go to the morgue and get yours today!