Baby dolls big business


It started as a hobby – a way of expressing her passion for beautiful dolls.

Now, looking around the headquarters of Baltorina’s Unique Babies in Table View, Cape Town, one thing is certain: this business has outgrown its bootees.

Five years ago Rina Muller, the brains behind the factory, offered about only 40 dolls for sale in a nearby shop – and did so grudgingly because she loved each of her “babies” so much. Today she runs a full-scale production line.

Her babies fly off the shelves. They’re available at about 60 toy shops around South Africa and she gets orders from as far afield as Dubai and America.

Some therapists even use her true-to-life dolls in their sessions with children. One of her dolls was used as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela’s baby in the film Winnie which starred Jennifer Hudson.

“I never dreamt I’d be doing this today,” says the erstwhile personal assistant at Eskom’s Koeberg power station.

“It used to be me and two other people. Now we have 40 staff. We make between 1 000 and 1 600 babies a month. To date we’ve sold more than 15 000 in total.”

Read more in Haidee Muller’s article in YOU 29 March 2012.

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