Own business: production of souvenir dolls

* The calculations use the average data for the World

As a rule, handicraft production does not bring big profits, and for this reason is considered by most entrepreneurs as a pleasant hobby, and not as the main source of stable and high profits. In most cases, this is the case. Manual work, despite the high quality (which, incidentally, can also fail, especially when it comes to individual artisans), can not compete in cost and volume with factory production. Recently, however, there has been an increasing interest among consumers in handicrafts and traditional souvenir products.

An example of such a “well-forgotten old” is the famous Russian doll. It would seem that nesting dolls are produced in many regions of our country and even abroad, but interest in this symbol of Russia and the demand for such souvenirs is still high among both foreigners and residents of our country. There are centers for painting nesting dolls not only in Russia, but also in Ukraine and Belarus. Textile, felted, embroidered nesting dolls are made in Europe and America and sold worldwide via ebay. The cost of a small product is from $ 10 and above at a cost of $ 2-3.

The production of nesting dolls is relatively simple and does not require large expenses. True, one cannot do without special knowledge and work experience. For the manufacture of nesting dolls, craftsmen use blanks that are carefully sanded before work. In some cases, before grinding, the wood is putty and primed, which allows you to create a perfectly smooth surface. The contour of the future drawing is applied to the prepared wood, which is then painted with colored paints. First, the background is drawn, then the details and strokes. Sometimes additional decorative materials can be used: for example, potal or sparkles.

Painting is the most important and responsible component of the process of working on a nested doll. Specialists distinguish several traditional painting styles of wooden toys. The Zagorsk painting is characterized by an abundance of carefully painted small details and gilding. As a rule, 3-4 primary colors are used in a pattern: yellow, red or orange, green and blue. Black color is used to stroke the doll’s face and details of her clothes with thin lines.

The most popular in our country and beyond are the Semenov and Merin dolls. They differ from the Zagorsk one in bright colors, stylized details of contrasting tones, and an abundance of decor. Polkhov's nesting dolls differ from others, primarily in shape. It can be either vertically elongated multi-seat figures with a small head, or single small in height and wide matryoshka-columns. When painting Polkhov matryoshkas, raspberry-red, green and black colors are used, which are applied along the outline drawn by ink.

Polkhov, Merin and Semenov nesting dolls are painted, as a rule, with aniline paints on a previously primed surface. Dyes are diluted with an alcohol solution. And Sergius nesting dolls are painted with gouache (less often with watercolors or tempera) without drawing a preliminary contour. In this case, bright colors are achieved by applying several layers of glossy varnish. Vyatka nesting dolls are less popular due to manufacturing complexity and high price.

In addition to the usual painting, they use an original decoration technique - incrustation with straws. This requires more time than regular painting, and the presence of certain skills and a high level of skill. In addition, such dolls are not suitable for playing and can only be used for decorative purposes.

In addition to traditionally painted nesting dolls, stylized portrait souvenirs are very popular. Such nesting dolls can depict famous political, public and cultural figures, historical characters or heroes of Russian folk tales, modern books and films. Many manufacturers offer an additional service - the production of a portrait matryoshka according to a customer’s photo.

Of course, most of the artists who paint matryoshka dolls do not have a special education. Often, they either copy the drawings of other masters, or come up with their own options, which can differ significantly from traditional ones. However, for those who want to fully follow the canons of folk art, there is the possibility of special training. For example, all the intricacies of this matter are taught at the People's Art University in St. Petersburg, where full-time and part-time forms of education are provided.

So, firms that work in this area provide services in several areas. Some produce only wooden blanks, others paint them. Still others buy nesting dolls from local manufacturers and sell them abroad or sell them for sale in domestic souvenir shops, children's educational toys stores, including online stores.

In addition, nesting dolls are an original and memorable corporate souvenir. Usually they are marked with the company logo and its contacts, and recognizable attributes are used in the design of the nesting dolls (customer products, company business, etc.). Sometimes for special occasions they order exclusive nesting dolls of large sizes (up to 60-70 cm in height), of a special shape, painting and / or with a large number of places. Fulfillment of single orders requires more time and effort, so the cost of such souvenir products is much higher than average. Due to the non-standard sizes, blanks for such nesting dolls are made to order.

Corporate souvenirs may not be single, but, on the contrary, multi-run. If the volume of the order is more than fifty units of nested dolls (especially several hundred or thousands), then, of course, we are not talking about hand-painted. In this case, the emphasis is not on uniqueness and manual work, but on the high speed of order execution and the accuracy of the image applied to the workpiece. Therefore, with large orders, manufacturing companies use printing technology.

First, the designer prepares the layout of the future image on the computer, then the print is transferred to the thinnest film, which is glued to the matryoshka. On the film, individual image elements are arranged. Then marking is applied to the matryoshka, on which, in turn, a photo form and a picture are printed. Products manufactured in this way are called photo-dolls. In one product can be used and hand-painted, and photo technology at the same time. Photo nesting dolls are cheaper than usual, since their production requires only the presence of conventional printing equipment and supplies. As a rule, advertising agencies deal with such orders.

The amount of starting capital depends on what you plan to do. For the production of wooden billets, special equipment and tools will be required: lathes, workbenches, electric drills, drills, woodwork hatchets or planers, lining boards, tridents, rotating centers, chisels, sandpaper, etc. Making molds for nesting dolls is a rather long and laborious process. although it consists of only two main stages.

First, the wood is pretreated, after which it must be "laid down". Then the figures themselves are cut out of it. The difficulty lies not only in the fact that almost all the work is done manually. The fact is that, according to technology, traditional nesting dolls are made from larch, linden and aspen, cut down in early spring. The wood is aged for two to three years and only then turned on machine tools and processed. Moreover, the workpiece is made only of logs, where there are no knots and cracks. The blank before turning into a form for painting, goes through several stages of processing. Their number can reach 15 operations (but not less than ten). First, from the linden, the head and torso of the nesting doll are turned on the outside and inside with the help of a knife and a chisel.

Then the smallest figure is made of birch, which does not open in half, then the lower part of the next largest. The master produces a batch of thousands of bottoms of nesting dolls of the same size at a time. While the work on the next part is ongoing, the previous part dries well. Then the figures are sanded, primed with potato paste and dried again.

Of course, most modern manufacturers cannot, for objective reasons, comply with the exact production technology. Small firms prefer to buy blanks and then paint them. The cost of one small-sized blank is about 50-70 rubles. Larger companies and factories carry out a full production cycle - from turning molds from linden, aspen, alder or birch wood to painting, varnishing and packaging.

Factories and handicraft enterprises for the production of wooden souvenir products are usually located in small cities: Sergiev Posad, Semenov, Vyatka, Khotkovo, Maidan, Tver, Novokuznetsk. These are historical centers where for several decades dolls were made. Firstly, there is no shortage of specialists with extensive experience in this field, and secondly, wages in the regions are usually quite low and amount to 10 thousand rubles. per person per month. People work either in rented workshops or at home. In the latter case, they receive blanks and all the necessary materials (paints, brushes, varnishes), and then hand over the finished painted product.

Such a work scheme is very convenient for small firms, which at the first stages of their work do not even rent a separate room for the workshop. They buy blanks, paint them at home, and then offer them for sale in various stores and sell them through their own sites, other online stores, and groups on social networks. Medium-sized companies begin their work by buying finished products from local manufacturers and selling them abroad.

The main disadvantage of such a work scheme is the failure to meet the deadlines for the fulfillment of orders by artisanal enterprises and often insufficiently high quality (poor drawing of parts, poorly polished surface, etc.). Therefore, the next stage of development of such a company is often the opening of its own production.

After the crisis, even the largest manufacturers of nesting dolls were not doing very well. Many of them went bankrupt, and someone could hardly survive, significantly reducing all current expenses and cutting wages by 2-3 times. Of course, the production volumes of nesting dolls fell sharply, and even the placement of government orders could not radically change the situation. At the same time, manufacturers themselves, wholesale and retail companies claim that the demand for original Russian souvenirs is very high both in our country, where the nesting doll is positioned as a developing environmentally friendly and safe children's toy, and abroad.

Specialists see the main reason for the crisis of domestic producers in the conservatism of factories, which cannot adapt to new market conditions and are not able to competently promote their products. They advise young businesses to invest most of their profits in advertising and marketing programs.

The minimum initial cost of organizing a small workshop for painting nesting dolls is from 100 thousand rubles. This amount includes the rental of premises, the purchase of blanks and materials (paints, varnishes, brushes, etc.), wages for artists (for the first month of work), registration of individual entrepreneurs. Additional costs will be required for advertising (its cost depends on the region and the target audience) and the creation of a site, groups on social networks with examples of work (the simplest version of a catalog site will cost 3-5 thousand rubles).

Think in advance how you will sell the finished product: through wholesale companies, retail stores, own retail outlets, your online store (the latter option is not the best for a young company with a small budget). The payback period of this type of business is six months.

Liliya Sysoeva

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08/18/2019