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Making Money Building Dollhouses


Merry
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Yeah it smells fishy to me.... and it seems like this particular seller peddles lots of the get-rich-quick stuff.

Despite that, it is possible to make a living building dollhouses, but its probably 50x harder than how this guy makes it out to be.

Here's a 100% free guide on building and selling dollhouses by Gina at MoreMinis:

http://moreminis.blogspot.com/2007/01/sell...your-minis.html

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...if I have to hit the page down key more once (10 times in this case) to read a description it'd better be mind altering...LOL! :thumb: ...high school flashback... :D

my head hurts... :cold:

Where are all the pictures of the dollhouses?

Mary you've got us for free! :p

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...if I have to hit the page down key more once (10 times in this case) to read a description it'd better be mind altering...LOL! :p ...high school flashback... :dog:

my head hurts... :huh:

Where are all the pictures of the dollhouses?

Mary you've got us for free! :D

LOL! :D I don't want to build and sell any dollhouses; I just wanted to know if people were making any money doing that in this economy. :hmm:

I'm just now finishing the dollhouse I started 16 years ago! :thumb: :cold: I don't think any book could help me! :dog: Maybe a shrink? Don't answer that! HA!

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Gina notes on her more minis blog

First, you will never recover the actual cost for your labor.

and

it can take months to build just one dollhouse, depending on what options you plan to add. If you were to charge by the hour, even at minimum wage, the dollhouse will end up costing thousands of dollars.

You'd make better money going to work at McDonald's part time.

I've seen several of these "get rich building dollhouses" write ups. the thing is, none of the authors ever actually built one.

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I'm just now finishing the dollhouse I started 16 years ago! :thumb: :p I don't think any book could help me! :D Maybe a shrink? Don't answer that! HA!

Amen to that! If I could be paid for my unfinished projects, I'd be a rich woman! I have a job and I think I'd have to quit my job to have the hours needed to build dollhouses for money. People who know I am into dollhouses always suggest that I should build them for a living but they don't know what all is involved in a dollhouse build.

I know there are some folks on this forum that do build (and they build some gorgeous stuff!) for a living or for income and I hope they will chime in on this - how long they take to do a project for a customer, how many hours they spend a day or a week, could they really live off the income? I'm not asking about numbers but maybe just a yay or nay, if they are comfortable with that. I suppose it could be a good way to support your own collection, building for others.

The only other thing i know about the dollhouse biz is that I had an opportunity some years ago to maybe buy a well established miniatures shop. The owner, who was retiring, told me "Well, if you don't mind an 80 hour a week job it's fine." Yes, 80 hours a week is what she said.

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Sorry Mary I got catch up in the moment...

I don't need no shrink :thumb: < me

Who's making money building dollhouses? Ned Kellogg! Well he passed away in 2008, but his wife carries on. I think I read somewhere he had been building dhs for 30 yrs. 200 to 250 per year! That's a lot a houses $$$

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My only paying customer was a remodeling job, and it took way too long to finish. So it wasn't profitable, even at $1,100 per room.

I have seen dh's go for over $300,000 at auction, but they were full of vintage furnishings (the houses were ugly IMO).

I am aiming at the recession-proof demographic with the Tudor house, but until its finished, sold and I get some orders, I won't quit my day job.

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I know there are some folks on this forum that do build (and they build some gorgeous stuff!) for a living or for income and I hope they will chime in on this - how long they take to do a project for a customer, how many hours they spend a day or a week, could they really live off the income? I'm not asking about numbers but maybe just a yay or nay, if they are comfortable with that. I suppose it could be a good way to support your own collection, building for others.

O.K. I'll chime in...I've had a dollhouse building business for about 3 years now. Here's the reality. It's a good thing I love what I do, because I don't make a lot of money doing it! If I were to add up the hours that I have in a dollhouse, I probably make pennies an hour. But I can't think of anything more satisfying for me to do! It's wonderful to have a job that makes people so happy. There's no such thing as an unhappy customer in my business. And, I feel like Santa Claus at Christmas time! I'm fortunate to have the space - we converted our garage to a shop 2 years ago - and the time - I'm retired and enjoy staying home with step-kids and grandkids - and I love being able to set my own schedule. The bottom line is that I make enough extra money to be able to take some nice vacations, and have the time to do so!

Hope this helps answer some questions. I'll be glad to answer any others. :thumb:

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I came across this while on ebay. Item # 270474061091

I would like to know if that is highly possible with today's economy. I know the economy hasn't slowed me down! :hmm:

Sorry. My bad. I should have named the book along with a description with everything on the book and page. That would have been much better. :D

Gina notes on her more minis blog

First, you will never recover the actual cost for your labor.

and

it can take months to build just one dollhouse, depending on what options you plan to add. If you were to charge by the hour, even at minimum wage, the dollhouse will end up costing thousands of dollars.

You'd make better money going to work at McDonald's part time.

I've seen several of these "get rich building dollhouses" write ups. the thing is, none of the authors ever actually built one.

Grazhina, I feel that you feel strongly about this. :D You are sooooo right!!!! It costs a bunch of money and time to build a dollhouse!! That's why I couldn't understand that someone could possibly make serious money doing it.

Amen to that! If I could be paid for my unfinished projects, I'd be a rich woman! I have a job and I think I'd have to quit my job to have the hours needed to build dollhouses for money. People who know I am into dollhouses always suggest that I should build them for a living but they don't know what all is involved in a dollhouse build.

I know there are some folks on this forum that do build (and they build some gorgeous stuff!) for a living or for income and I hope they will chime in on this - how long they take to do a project for a customer, how many hours they spend a day or a week, could they really live off the income? I'm not asking about numbers but maybe just a yay or nay, if they are comfortable with that. I suppose it could be a good way to support your own collection, building for others.

The only other thing i know about the dollhouse biz is that I had an opportunity some years ago to maybe buy a well established miniatures shop. The owner, who was retiring, told me "Well, if you don't mind an 80 hour a week job it's fine." Yes, 80 hours a week is what she said.

I would much rather have a dollhouse and miniature shop than have Hobby Lobby. I'm sick of malls. I miss going to town where all the shops were, and you entered them all from outside. I'm talking about the shops from "A Christmas Carol," etc. Okay, you all know I'm not that old! You know what I mean....I hope. :dog:

Sorry Mary I got catch up in the moment...

I don't need no shrink :cold: < me

Who's making money building dollhouses? Ned Kellogg! Well he passed away in 2008, but his wife carries on. I think I read somewhere he had been building dhs for 30 yrs. 200 to 250 per year! That's a lot a houses $$$

Oh my goodness, Mike! That's okay! :huh: I'm the queen of reading things too fast, then going back and trying to explain myself. It's hard being me. :p

My only paying customer was a remodeling job, and it took way too long to finish. So it wasn't profitable, even at $1,100 per room.

I have seen dh's go for over $300,000 at auction, but they were full of vintage furnishings (the houses were ugly IMO).

I am aiming at the recession-proof demographic with the Tudor house, but until its finished, sold and I get some orders, I won't quit my day job.

Jeremy, I'd pay you $1,000,000 for one of your dollhouses! Of course I don't have that kind of money....but I would if I could!! :dog:

O.K. I'll chime in...I've had a dollhouse building business for about 3 years now. Here's the reality. It's a good thing I love what I do, because I don't make a lot of money doing it! If I were to add up the hours that I have in a dollhouse, I probably make pennies an hour. But I can't think of anything more satisfying for me to do! It's wonderful to have a job that makes people so happy. There's no such thing as an unhappy customer in my business. And, I feel like Santa Claus at Christmas time! I'm fortunate to have the space - we converted our garage to a shop 2 years ago - and the time - I'm retired and enjoy staying home with step-kids and grandkids - and I love being able to set my own schedule. The bottom line is that I make enough extra money to be able to take some nice vacations, and have the time to do so!

Hope this helps answer some questions. I'll be glad to answer any others. :thumb:

Great answer. Yes, I do have other questions, but they have nothing to do with minis! :D

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  • 10 years later...

Vanessa, it's more a hobby than a job. Maybe if you try to sell for the cost of materials. No one would ever really buy a house if labor was included. Even then, cheaper plastic houses from Fisher price hold up better for little kids' play than the artwork created by someone building, decorating, and furnishing a dollhouse.

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12 hours ago, Vanessa Trujillo said:

I build a dollhouse as a hobby how can I make money doing it in Dallas Texas

I think people get excited when they see expensive dollhouses on Ebay ("I had no idea a house could sell for that much!"), but what they don't consider is that Asking is Not Getting. Those houses HAVEN'T sold for that much, that's why they're still for sale. Some of those houses have been listed for over a decade. Not an exaggeration, I remember talking about some of those houses with a friend who died in 2010.

To be really, truly successful you'd have to do entirely bespoke work, which means not only a scratch-built house but also handmade finishes, and custom doors and windows with no pre-made components that everyone into dollhouses recognizes as store-bought Houseworks or Alessio or whatever. If you have the talent to compete with Mulvany and Rogers, you might be able to pull it off.

Even then you'd likely need to get written up in dollhouse and miniatures magazines for name recognition. For that, you'd probably need to attend the larger and more famous shows such as in Chicago (or preferably England) to exhibit your work. You can imagine how expensive that would be.

You might be able to find people in the Dallas area who will pay you to build kits they've purchased, but I can almost guarantee you'll largely be dealing with correcting a lot of mistakes after they've mostly finished them but given up. I like rehabbing dollhouses but I don't do it for anyone else. I've helped others with simple tasks like painting and wallpapering, for which I didn't charge anything, but completely fixing a terribly built house from the bottom up? No way!

There are so many houses for sale cheap on Ebay or, to avoid high shipping charges, locally on Craigslist. Most sell for a small fraction of what the original kit or materials would have cost. I got a Lawbre Rosedawn for less than just what the six columns retail for, and it came with all the other expensive components (and the useless over-priced additions for both sides!). Many dollhouses for sale are even furnished. I've bought houses for $50-$75 just to get the hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of light fixtures and collectible furnishings inside, and then the houses themselves got gifted As-Is or simply put out onto the curb with a big FREE sign.

I mention all of that because they are the sorts of things you'd be competing against. As Holly pointed out, you can read all the previous posts in this thread. I've probably repeated much of what others have said (sorry, I skimmed, didn't over-analyze it all!). I hate to discourage but if you can figure out how to make a living selling dollhouses, be sure to let us know the secret.

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I sell some of my books, furniture, paintings, and I hope to sell the busts I will be casting. My only plan is to offset some of the cost of supplies as I don’t see this as a viable money maker unless you went really high end which I think has a limited market and takes a long time to get established. 
 

of course it probably doesn’t help when I give things away but I mainly build for enjoyment 

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38 minutes ago, jaxenro said:

I sell some of my books, furniture, paintings, and I hope to sell the busts I will be casting. My only plan is to offset some of the cost of supplies as I don’t see this as a viable money maker unless you went really high end which I think has a limited market and takes a long time to get established. 
 

of course it probably doesn’t help when I give things away but I mainly build for enjoyment 

This is an excellent point. I think there's money to be made in accessories and furnishings for those with the talent and patience to create and market them. Look at what artisan pieces sell for on Ebay. Dollhouses not so much but miniatures, yes. Partelow pianos, Jane Graber pottery, dressed canopy beds, paintings, etc., and not just the older collectible items but things from newer artists as well. I see a lot of those sorts of things go for simply breathtaking prices, some for more than I've spent on full-sized pieces for my real house! And miniatures would sure be a lot easier to take to shows than a bunch of enormous dollhouses.

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2 hours ago, Kells said:

... I see a lot of those sorts of things go for simply breathtaking prices, some for more than I've spent on full-sized pieces for my real house! ...

When folks ask where I get furniture and accessories, I tell them you can get anything for a dollhouse that you can get in real life -- at roughly twice the price. :D 

2 hours ago, havanaholly said:

The last post before Vanessa's was 10 1/2 years ago.

Times haven't changed.

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I made good money on one mini scene I made; I was working hourly for a woman who had worked with three different people who had all dropped the project.  I did it and billed for hours plus materials.  Late 1990s, $20 an hour.  I don't know the total because it was mixed in with the rest of my jobs for her.

I wouldn't expect to ever do that well again on a house, but I've done well with dolls and accessories.  I've developed a number of 3D printed furniture designs, and hope to get them up on eBay soon, to find out if there's a market.

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