The History of "Dark Dolls"
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them. If you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there's some way to do it." - Walt Disney
First off, I want to thank you for clicking on this page. It means, that you somehow care for why this store is the way it is and maybe wonder why it even exists.
If you don't care, I want to thank you anyways and suggest, that you might rather want to look at our products instead - or as I should say: my products.
In this post, I will put all the "formal shop pronouns" aside and speak to you as the young and human woman that I am.
So please, get yourself a tea or coffee or maybe an energy drink and make yourself comfortable, this is going to be a bit of a... story.
The ugly duckling
I've always been a little different from others. I don't want to sound like the "pick me" girl or the typical "not like the other girls" - but it's true. It has always been that way.
I was raised by my mother who suffered from quite a lot of health issues, ever since I was born. Who dared to leave my abusive father when I was 4 because she knew we were in danger. From a young age on I learned that life isn't fair. Him getting away without having to pay us a penny or having to face any kind of consequence, other than not seeing his daughter again.
However, my mother, my grandparents, and my uncle really tried to provide me with all the opportunities in life, so I could pursue my dreams, the way I wanted to - or at least that's what they thought.
In school, I've always been an outsider, the little bully-victim. In elementary school, it was because I got along with my teachers so well and had good grades, which is why I went to "middle school" earlier. But the school change only changed the people around me, not the fact that they seemed to pick me once again.
A dream was born
Long story short and a lot of mental breakdowns, an outing as bisexual, depression, and some suicide attempts later I graduated from high school. My dream job had changed within this short life span quite a few times. From becoming a vet to becoming a marine biologist to becoming a singer & songwriter to becoming an author to becoming a fashion designer to becoming an event manager.
By the 9th grade, I KNEW becoming some kind of manager would probably be my best option, as we did a lot of career counseling, but it was in the period of the 10th to the 12th grade and after, that I rediscovered my passion for ... well.. fashion. But not only fashion. I kept liking Instagram pictures of gorgeous women in goth outfits. Handsome, yet sad-looking men wearing dark and torn clothes. I've always felt drawn to the dark and twisted just as much as I did feel attracted to cute kawaii inspired things. Anime was an important part of my life and so were cute, comforting things.
But just as much as the cute things granted me comfort, the deep and dark did as well. Bows and stuffies with chains and knives. Well... I know a lot of you feel the same way.
Back to the story. I was in 12th grade and had just recovered from a very toxic relationship that had almost cost me my will to live. I know this sounds dramatic, but believe me - it was to me.
Imagine doctors telling you that they won't help you because you are still too dedicated to something. I was broken. I felt empty inside, yet the only reason that I had to keep fighting was that I didn't want to let down my family. So I was dedicated to graduate, dedicated to somehow try to make them proud, even though I didn't care for my life to end any second.
If I would have known, that not even they would believe in me... well...
Fast forward a few months later, when I was finally 18, I did feel better. I was in the middle of my exams when I started to work in a clothing store after school & on my weekends to support my mom financially. That's when I rediscovered my passion for alternative clothing. While most of the clothing in this store was rather generic, some pieces weren't and it was fun to put them together and locate the new alt-arrivals.
3 months later, just after I graduated, the store fired me, as well as a few other good colleagues, who did their jobs well! I was shook and told myself, with everything else that had happened thanks to the managers of the store, that I wanted to make it better. But in my heart I was already done working for others, followed by other small jobs.
A year abroad & an expensive decision
About a year and a half after I graduated I was finally able to spend a year as an AuPair in the US. As you might know, I am from Germany - and living in the US was my dream ever since I was little. I was always decent in English and would soon be rather fluent. By then I already knew that I wanted to study "International Business Management" and planned to open my own alternative fashion shop in the future someday -oh boy. If I would have known that about 6 months from then I'd be putting all of my money into a not well-thought trough idea.
It was April of 2019 when I saw pictures of handmade chokers. They were rather alternative. Some of them very cute, some of them rather dark and gothic. And a day later, I was HYPED, spending my saved 200$ on crafting tools, supplies, and more.
In June I opened my Etsy shop with the name "Lunara" which was supposed to be a mix between my cats' name "Luna" and my own "Sarah".
The branding was rather... cheap. Besides a few "book covers" for my stories and a few character sets for my RPG pages, I wasn't really experienced in graphics design & the hell, I didn't know ANYTHING about crafting or how to sell products online, but I was dedicated - and for whatever reason, I was rather good at crafting chokers. But I was SUPER bad with money and planning.
I was so hyped for this project, that I would soon have spent around 600$ - from which I had to leave around 90% back in the US when I flew back to my hometown in Germany, once the year was over.
Time will tell
I closed the shop for a few months, to settle down and find a way to continue doing, what I started back on literally the other side of the world.
I would need some time to get enough money to open the shop again, to create new products and I would need a lot of time to change - EVERYTHING.
I wasn't happy with the shop's branding at all. I just didn't feel it. So I sat down and brainstormed once again.
By that time, a year ago I had created my 2nd Instagram account which was supposed to help me love my body and express myself the way I wanted to. Showing off my body how I wanted to. Becoming the woman, that my younger self would have looked at on Instagram, dreaming to be her.
And that was when I knew, how I wanted to name my shop. That's when I was sure about WHAT I wanted to be as a business and what I wanted to provide others.
I wanted to help people, who feel the way I felt, to believe in themselves and be proud of who they are - even though they are different from what society wants them to be. EVERYONE is beautiful, no matter their skin color, sex, height, body, OR STYLE!
I wanted to combine the darkness I've always felt drawn to with a little bit of the cuteness that has comforted me just as much. And wanted to create something that would allow everyone with the same inner will to express themselves to be able to do so!
That's when I invented "DarkDolls". Even when my personal situation wasn't stable at all, from becoming rather "homeless" to "moving in with a toxic woman" to finally moving into my own apartment to the first-ever "non-toxic boyfriend". And now - we finally moved on from Etsy - to our very own place. My very own website. I could literally cry.
It was a rough ride.
A lot of literal blood, sweat, and tears, and a lot of money going into this business. I want to be transparent with you: I invested WAY more than I had made in sales so far. And yes. I increased the prices, but only because I started to educate myself and learned how to actually make any profit. Because if I wouldn't I'd probably not be able to keep this shop up for longer... but I want to. I put my heart into this. And even though everything went down a different, steep, and risky road, I am glad I took it. My family is rather skeptical as my shop hasn't blown up yet. Because I invest more than I get out of it - but to me, this is a marathon. I want to inspire as many people as I can. Want to support everyone to find and express themselves.
And because I - and the shop as a brand - support EVERYONE I don't want to gender anything on this page. I prefer shopping by aesthetic rather than "male/female", because why should a guy be able to wear a cute black & pink choker that says "Baby" on it? Or why should a girl not be able to dress fully black with tons of chains around her neck?
If you've made it this far, if you've read my entire story until here, I want to thank you. Thank you so much for being interested in the story behind these codes.
Thank you for supporting my small business! And to show you how much it means to me I want to offer you a free discount code. Maybe this is your first purchase here, or maybe you came over from Etsy. But I have never been this personal here before, so I feel like you deserve it!
If you want to, enter "A-LITTLE-STORY" at the checkout and get 15% off right now ♥
Well.. and that's... The End?
We're just getting started!