First, who is Ozlem?
Ozlem was born and raised in Vancouver, until her parents decided to move to Turkey, which is the country she currently lives in. After more than fifteen years working for a big company as a customer service supervisor, she decided to spend time with her two daughters and quit her job.
Let’s dig a bit more…
Alice: Most girls spent their childhood playing with dolls, were you among them or did your interest increase over the years?
Ozlem: Actually, my story is very interesting because I did not even own a sewing machine before I started making my dolls.
In 2013 I had a very spiritual experience that led me to draw pictures of angels. A few months later I decided to turn these angel drawings into dolls.
A: Your creations have different designs; do you remember which one was the first you produced?
O: Of course I do: inspired by my desire of giving a real shape to the angels I mentioned before, I went to my parents’ house. Being both tailors I could use my mother’s sewing machine and some scrap fabric to make my first doll. It was just a trial and I knew I needed to change some details to improve, but I immediately felt like making dolls was the right path to follow. That’s why I got my own machine and tried different solutions, until I was satisfied with the outcome.
I could say I started slowly and, as the time passed, I made many different dolls, but I am so affectionate to the first prototype that I still have it.
A: I couldn’t help noticing that some dolls are dressed like nurses, does it have anything to do with hospitals?
O: If you see my shop you will notice the wide variety of dolls I have. They range from Spiderman Superman, Hulk, Cinderella, Frida to Anna from the Broadway Musical of Frozen. And many more….
My nurse doll is very popular. I have made 10 (girls and boys) for nurse staff in Hong Kong. I was commissioned superhero-nurse dolls for nurses in children’s hospitals. I have even made doctor dolls.
Alice: How did you get into charity? Was it before or after starting your business?
O: The charity I work for is based in North Cyprus. They volunteer to help children with leukaemia. Since last year I have made over 100 dolls for them.
I opened my Etsy shop in 2014 and I could say that I got the idea from a lady who asked me if I could create for her a “No David” doll. Once I finished, she changed her mind and did not buy it, that’s why I decided to sell it online. Fortunately, it later became my best-selling item.
A: Is there a reason you chose fabric over other materials?
O: Bursa is popular for its textiles. There are many fabric factories here. Hence, I buy all my fabric and materials locally.
A: Given the wide variety of your pieces, is it possible to ask for customizations?
O: Yes, I do take custom requests. If the buyer sends me a photo i can make my dolls to look like the people in it. Many of the dolls in my shop are custom orders I made on customers’ request. For example, my bride and groom dolls.
A: What would you tell those thinking that dolls are just made for females?
O: My dolls are for everybody and for any age. I even make dog dolls too, so I don’t see any reasons why someone should prevent anyone from buying what they like.
A: If we wanted to be updated on your most recent works, have you got a website in addition to your Instagram page?
O: I take orders from my Etsy shop. I am actively posting on Instagram and other social media. In fact, you can also find me on Facebook and Pinterest as AngelArtByOzlem
A: What are your plans?
O: I hope to continue working with charities for children, this is what I enjoy the most. I am also planning to expand my superhero collection with new movie characters.
I have recently started getting inspired from children books as well, so I have already made a dinosaur and a boy doll, but I am not stopping here.
To see her creations
give a look to her Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/AngelArtbyOzlem?ref=simple-shop-header-name&listing_id=582957362
and Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/angelartbyozlem/?hl=it