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About Kountry Bumpkin
Hi! My name is Mandy Handlin and I am the owner of Kountry Bumpkin which specializes in new dolls at affordable prices. My interest in dolls is the basis for my business.
Starting a Collection
I have been a doll collector basically my whole life. My mom started a collection of Madame Alexander and Vogue dolls for me when I was a baby. For my second Christmas I received a Mrs. Beasley doll from my Great Aunt Cleo and I would say that was the beginning of my love for dolls. My favorite TV show was Family Affair, and I took my Mrs. Beasley everywhere with me. I still have a Mrs. Beasley doll but unfortunately not my original childhood doll.
Expanding My Collection
Even though I still played with dolls, I went through a phase when I didn't want my collection displayed in my room so I packed it away. One day, when I was around 11 years old and staying home sick from school, I decided I was ready to re-visit my collection. I renewed my passion for dolls and my collection began to grow rapidly. My mom and I frequently attended doll shows, flea markets and antique stores. I wanted a blue Shirley Temple pitcher and a Shirley Temple doll. We found these items at an antique store; put them on layaway, and made payments. I mowed yards in the summer to earn money for my dolls. My favorites were baby dolls, dolls from my childhood, and Shirley Temple dolls. My collection expanded beyond dolls to collect anything related to Shirley Temple and Family Affair, e.g., dishes, books, paper dolls.
Opening a Doll Shop
In 1981 my mom and I opened a doll shop in a vacant old farm house on our family farm. We called it Country Corner Dollhouse. My dad and brother tolerated the girly-girl activities but secretly questioned our sanity. Two rooms contained our inventory, the dining room and kitchen became an area for birthday parties. We were open for about two years and closed due to my busier high school schedule.
Even though the store closed, my collection continued. In August 1988 my family endured the tragedy of a house fire. The fire started in our garage and went straight upstairs to my bedroom and my doll collection of 19 years. Fortunately, no one was injured, but our home was a total loss. We salvaged a few of my dolls but the majority was lost or damaged. With the insurance payment, we rebuilt our home, replaced some of my dolls, and began rebuilding my collection. To this day, my bedroom at my parent's home is the doll room. I now buy dolls for my daughter and my collection will be hers someday.
Building a Business
Upon graduating from college in 1991, I moved to Springfield, Illinois to start my career in Consumer Affairs. I worked for the Illinois Attorney General's Office, Consumer Fraud division. Even though I had a full-time job, I wanted to own my own business. In Springfield several craft malls offered booth rental. I started making crafts, opened a booth, and started Kountry Bumpkin. One booth eventually grew into 5 and suddenly I had a second job. In addition to making things, I also attended wholesale shows and purchased items for my booths.
Sustaining Personal and Business Interests
With the birth of my daughter in 2000 and the desire to be a stay-at-home mom, I took 6 months maternity leave from my job and after 3 months starting experimenting with selling on e-bay. I sold items that I picked up at garage sales. I am a shopaholic and enjoy garage sales. I seized this opportunity to run a small business based on my personal interest in dolls. Kountry Bumpkin is the result of my efforts.
Kountry Bumpkin offers a wide variety of new dolls from companies such as Adora, Bergenguer, Corolle, Lee Middleton, Madame Alexander, Paradise Galleries, Jun Planning, and more. All dolls are in stock and ready to ship. From time to time you will also see antiques and collectibles up for auction in our Ebay store. Kountry Bumpkin features unique, high quality items as well as hard to find collectibles. Whether you are a collector or just looking for a unique gift, I hope you will find what you are looking for at Kountry Bumpkin
You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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