December 04, 1990|By Lorraine Mirabella | Lorraine Mirabella,Staff writer
They branch aloft shelves in Hazel’s Allowance & Cards, world-famous dolls with names like Isabel, Desiree and Grace, porcelain-smooth complexions and apparel of Chinese silk.
New Orleans’ Gambina dolls amidst architect Charles V. Gambina on Friday during his appointment to the Glen Burnie allowance boutique — the best contempo accession to a cord of outlets about the world.
The baby maker’s appointment gave a much-needed attempt in the arm to Albert Jones’ business in the disturbing East Park Shopping Center.
Jones’ ancestors opened a alternation of allowance shops added than a year ago. But sales in East Park, off Crain Highway a the I-97 intersection, accept alone off this year, abnormally aback Ames bankrupt aftermost summer, Jones said. He’s acquisitive the Gambina band will advice about-face that.
On Friday, Jones awash 50 dolls, with some advice from Gambina, who active certificates of actuality and airish for photos with customers.
“Is this your aboriginal Gambina doll?” Gambina asked one aged chump who’d bought her babe a Little Bo Peep baby and chock-full to get her account taken with the baby maker.
Gambina, a 67-year-old New Orleans resident, apparent his aptitude for baby authoritative at age 50. He started C. V. Gambina Inc. with three baby designs, again went on to aftermath the better band in the nation, with 80 models. His dolls, fabricated of porcelain, vinyl or cloth, advertise for amid $20 and $300.
“I started this business by demography a little old adult out of a flea market,” Gambina said during a breach from barter Friday. “I didn’t apperceive annihilation about dolls. I abstruse by accomplishing it. I acclimated to abatement comatose on the branch attic at night.”
Gambina, who’d formed as a pewter and argent manufacturer’s abettor for 20 years, tells the adventure of his airing through a New Orleans flea bazaar one cold, clammy Sunday morning, about 20 years ago.
He noticed an aged woman captivated in a blanket, bed-making rag dolls.
“I said, what would I do if that was my mother,” Gambina recalled.
He saw the woman there several Sundays in a row. Once, he bought her coffee.
“Impulsively, I said what I capital to say,” he said. “I asked her, ‘What would you do if somebody bought all the dolls you could accomplish and you can go home?’ ” He formed out a accord with the woman. She would sew rag dolls, Gambina would buy them and abundance them away. By the time the woman absitively to stop, Gambina, his wife and babe had become acclimatized to the dolls. They began creating their own designs.
“We’d advertise 10 dolls one week, bristles addition week,” said Gambina.
Now, Gambina employs 42 workers in his factory, who design, cut, sew, accumulate and address all dolls from the New Orleans plant. The ceramics dolls are active and numbered.
Workers additionally hand-finish all apparel and dress the dolls in styles such as Victorian, Early American, French or Southern belle.
These days, Gambina spends abundant of his time traveling beyond the United States, Europe and the Orient to advance his dolls.
Jones is acquisitive Gambina will be aback in his Glen Burnie boutique aing year.
“One chump said she’d aloof chock-full by to say hi to Mr. Gambina,” Jones said. “She bought three dolls.”
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