Dolly spa freshens old, tired dolls

Sara Jordan-Heintz

Just like people, dolls need a little R&R sometimes.

Mother/daughter team Cheryl Hoiler and Jennifer Moyer own and operate My Little Dolls, a company established in 1997 that sells and repairs antique and vintage dolls. Hoiler is based out of Onancock, Virginia, formerly in Gaithersburg, Maryland, while Moyer works out of Pasadena, Maryland.

My Little Dolls co-founder Jennifer Moyer, left, lives in Pasadena, Maryland, while her mother, co-founder Cheryl Hoiler, lives in Virginia. Photo courtesy My Little Dolls

My Little Dolls co-founder Jennifer Moyer, left, lives in Pasadena, Maryland, while her mother, co-founder Cheryl Hoiler, lives in Virginia. Photo courtesy My Little Dolls

As a subdivision of their business, the ladies offer a service called Dolly Spa.

“I would say the spa is basically a day of beauty for your cherished doll,” Hoiler said.

Dolls are cleaned, re-stringed, if necessary, and attention is given to eyes, hair and makeup.

“We don’t change the look of the doll. We keep it looking exactly as she did when she came in, but refreshed,” Hoiler explained.

Not keeping intact the essence of old-time dolls is considered a cardinal sin in this business.

“We don’t want them to look modern. I will not take a doll made in 1890 and put it in modern clothing. I’ll find them like that, but when they leave me, they are dressed in something appropriate for the timeframe they were made,” Hoiler affirmed.

Hair in disarray can be replaced, as well as outfits that are soiled, damaged and beyond hope. Dolly Spa services start at $45, and increase in price based on how extensive the pampering and how much any new wigs and outfits will cost. Dolls spend around 1-2 weeks at the spa, depending on cleaning and repairs.

Moyer noted that most of their clientele are folks looking to reinvigorate a beloved family heirloom – not turn around and resell it.

“People bring us their dolls because they have sentimental value, and we bring them back to something that can be appreciated,” she said.

“People who want to resell a doll, I just basically let them know, if they put all this money into a doll, they are probably not going to recoup it,” Hoiler said. “So most of the dolls I repair are from customers who want to keep the doll because it belonged to their mom, and I’ve repaired dolls that went from crib to college.”

To learn more, visit www.mylittledolls.com. Contact the women at chery1215@yahoo.com or Jenn.moyer@yahoo.com.

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Sometimes more than a dolly spa day is needed

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