Why dolls ?
I have always been obsessed with family history. On my mother's side, my grandparent’s immigrated from Sicily to Chicago in the early 1920s (conclude from that what you will!) and on my fathers side, one of my ancestors' was a signatory on the Mayflower Compact, and wrote the only existing account of the First Thanksgiving. So family history, for me, has always been the world's most fascinating subject. What better way to bring that to life for children than through dolls?
So I created A Girl for All Time®, which is a series of dolls and novels that bring the past to life by showing the lives of girls in the fictional Marchmont family through 500 years of intrigue and adventure, from the Court of Henry VIII in the grisly fifteen hundreds to modern day London. We just did an Indiegogo campaign and funded in 4 days and increasing every day! https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-girl-for-all-time-changing-girls-toys/x/13391587#/
Everyone’s family story is fascinating - and unique - and connects us to each other like nothing else. I love hearing the stories and traveling. I am American, but have lived in The Netherlands, Italy and for the last 22 years in Britain.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had and what did you learn from it?
Oh ha ha yes my worst job was also my first job. I was 15 and I worked for our local little village newspaper and was the poor unfortunate wrench who had to take all the complaint phonecalls about missing newspapers. I worked from 6am-7.30 before school a few weekdays and then Saturdays 6am until 2. It was the most dreadful jb you can imagine. And our village clearly had the worst newspaper
boys in the history of the world because honestly, when 90% of the villages newspapers went missing every week ! But I certainly did learn about customer service, and at the sharp end of the stick. I learned quickly that the best way to deal with customers is to make sure they know they are listened to and to be honest about how quickly their issue will be resolved.
Where were you born?
In a little town called Elmhurst in the great state of Illinois !
Where did you grow up and how did that influence who you are today?
I grew up not far from where I was born, in the Midwest. I am not so sure that where I grew up influenced me as much as the curcumstances under which I grew up. My mother was widowed at a very young age and had to go back to work. Of course in those days there was not much in the way of day care of after school care, so I had to be very independent from a very young age. It’s a discipline that has stayed with me – I do tend to just get on with things !
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
What’s that expression – it’s a mistake only if you don’t learn from it ? .. I’ve made plenty, and I think what I’ve learned as I grow older is to not be quite so pig-headed!
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
I love using Canva which is a sort of Photoshop for Dummies. We use so many visuals that It’s a big part of my day.
(Frances in her booth at the UK Toy Fair)
How do you jumpstart your creativity when you find yourself stalled on a project?
The best thing for me to do is to physically change my environment. It could be as simple as going for a run, or heading out with the lap top to go to a fave café, or meeting a friend for lunch. But I have to change my surroundings in order to break out of a rut.
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
This morning – my husband is a funny man… I will leave it at that !
Are you named after anyone?
Both of my grandmothers – Frances Elinor
Do you have any kiddos?
I have two fab, amazing children who inspire me every day but who do occasionally make me want to sell them on eBay.
Do you have any pets?
A border collie named Oreo. We call him that because he is all black with a creamy white patch around his neck. And my husband and I are Americans living in Britain so we do like to remind people of that in case they ever forget…
Do you play any musical instruments? If so, which one(s)?
Not any more ! I used to play piano fairly well and am tempted to take it up again…