SOME years ago, Cassie Booth decided to turn her passion for dolls into a home business and to start using her skills to help others.
The home business venture proved so successful, together with husband Shaun, she took it to the next level by opening Rare and Pretty Dolls in Ipswich’s Top of Town precinct.
The store is really two businesses in one – the doll store as well as hobby and tabletop gaming shop The Dark Magician.
Cassie said both stores were founded on a sense of promoting community, celebrating inclusion and sustainability.
“We always work hard to create a space that is inclusive where anyone, young and old, can come and enjoy themselves and their hobby,” she said.
Rare and Pretty Dolls sells one of a kind dolls with a particular focus on vintage dolls, My Little Pony, Monster High, Pop Vinyls and reborn dolls.
“We sell a lot of vintage dolls and I have connections with collectors if people are looking for a particular doll or can source parts for older dolls which may need some repair,” she said.
“Someone might come in and say their sister ripped the hair off their My Little Pony when they were younger and now, they want to replace it, and I can source the same colour hair as was used in the 1980s for them.
“We have dolls from all over the world here, including handmade teddy bears from the UK and dolls that if you buy them in Japan you are limited to buying only one or two.”
Hosting customer workshops at the store to help new and experienced doll lovers make the most of the hobby is also a major focus for Ms Booth.
“I love helping other people and a lot of customers want to learn about doll customisation so I’m able to teach them,” she said.
The story is much the same when it comes to the gaming side of things.
“Maintaining a positive culture in the gaming scene is not always easy but it is definitely worth it and something Shaun and I are absolutely passionate about,” she said.
“We pride ourselves on providing a safe, inclusive space for people to play.”
Ms Booth said the Top of Town was the perfect fit for Rare and Pretty Dolls and The Dark Magician.
“We love the Top of Town. It has a real artistic feel about it and is enjoying a real renaissance which is very exciting and we’re happy to be a part of that.”
Rare and Pretty Dolls is at 2 West Street, Ipswich and is open from 10am to 5pm Wednesday and Friday, 10am to 9pm Thursdays and 8.30am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.