A REALLY Exciting Update From Olivea

Today was amazing! I still am a little bit in shock! Thank you to each one of you who has played a part in this journey. For those of you who were able to make it today THANK YOU! I was so nervous and seeing all of you helped to put me more at ease. My dad works until 7 tonight and so I hope we can go out for a celebration dessert when he gets home! Who wants to join us! 

My winnings are way more extensive than I was expecting. In addition to the $, mentorship, & encouragement, I also came home with an envelope filled with resources & other local gifts! I also have been invited to participate in the Blue Ocean Enterprises Challenge May 23-24. I feel like a whole new world has just been opened up for me. With that said – if you are a seamstress, looking for work, I’m hiring! :-)


My talk from today…

Hello & good afternoon. My name is Olivea Borden.
I am the owner of Oli-Bo-Bolly & am a sophomore at Polaris Expeditionary Learning School. I am grateful today to have the opportunity to tell you about the why, how, & what of my new creation – The Oli-Bo-Bolly Dolly.
The Impact of my company at its core, is the gift of sheer joy to children. It’s helping kids around the world know that someone knows they exist – that they are loved & that each has a purpose in this great big planet of ours. It gives North American children the opportunity to give the gift of a doll to a child who otherwise might never have the pleasure to play with one. The Oli-Bo-Bolly Dolly is handmade out of recycled or repurposed materials, so this concept also has a direct impact on our environment.
My idea is based on the idea of “Buy a Doll, Give a Doll”. It is a very simple concept. Companies like Toms shoes have been doing it for years. I could see my company becoming a non-profit, reinvesting all proceeds to the cause. My dollies could easily be sold in a variety of in person, online, & retail settings. In fact, I currently have 2 Old Town Fort Collins businesses offering to sell my dolls in their stores.
My Purpose is to create a partnership between North American consumers & children of the third world, beginning right here in Fort Collins, Colorado & in a community I got to live & work in last year, Ameya, Nicaragua. I believe North American children want soft but textured, crazy colorful, & uniquely made just for them dolls. I believe our culture wants to help, they just sometimes don’t know how. When given a practical opportunity to help, I think they will see it as a win, win scenario & be excited to jump right in.
In my sewing endeavors, “Make art, not trash” has been my motto for the past several years. Knowing that over 90% of all clothing in our landfills is still wearable, I will be using as many recycled textiles as possible in these one of a kind dollies. Scientific studies have proven over time that natural textiles such as cotton, bamboo, & wool compost much quicker than synthetics like polyester, & so I will use as many natural materials as possible in the craftsmanship of my dolls.
Starting locally, I have used my friend base here in the community to get going. On the receiving end I will partner with international contacts from Food for the Hungry to both identify the children & help distribute the dolls.
I have been sewing since I was nearly 8 years old. Although not limited to, my experience is mostly in children’s clothing & hair accessories. I am a Colorado State Champion Seamstress & have had my designs modeled in the Sustainable Living Fair’s Fashion Show for the past two years. I have also had a booth to sell additional creations.
My start up clothing company is called Oli-Bo-Bolly. So, when I created my first doll for my art class’s final project, I naturally called it the Oli-Bo-Bolly Dolly. As I traveled to Nicaragua for six months just afterwards, the idea of giving dolls to the many children I encountered simply grew.
Up front my expenses are quite low. I have the necessary equipment through my sewing machine & serger & I have quite a few materials on hand. Materials per doll if I had to purchase them would run under $7 each. Using mostly recycled materials though my only big purchases are stuffing, elastic, & thread. Maintenance on my machines does cost $100 each per year.
With the competition originally canceled or on hold, I went ahead on my own to continue developing my dolls, & test marketing them in the community. To date I have sold 46 dolls. As per my commitment, an additional 46 dolls will be going to Nicaraguan girls. The biggest problem that has surfaced from my original idea is with supply & demand. Moving forward I will need to find help in sewing. It takes me around 3 hours to produce just one doll. An idea I have is to train women in Nicaragua to also make the dolls. I had an opportunity to work alongside a special needs sewing class last year. I think this would be right up their alley & would provide a dignified wage for women who struggle to provide for their families.
Thank you for giving me an opportunity to share both my business concept & passion with you today. I know that I would benefit from your help to take this concept to the next level, as well as be able to travel to Nicaragua with my first batch of dolls – I so want to be the one to deliver them to the girls myself! They truly embody the Why for Oli-Bo-Bolly Dollies. The dolls themselves are the What. And I, with your help, am endeavoring to be the How.

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