Shop Etsy

Featured Shop: The Busl Barn

Mar 30, 2015

by Michelle Busl

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Hello! My name is Michelle Busl, and I make custom and personalized rag dolls for my shop, the Busl Barn. I live in Kafue, Zambia, with my amazing husband and our four children; when I’m not sewing, I enjoy quality family time, cooking, or going for a run.

etsy-featured-shop-the-busl-barn-001

I am a registered nurse by profession, and I worked in labor and delivery for five years before leaving to focus on my own growing family. While I was pregnant with my daughter, I began hunting for dolls that she could play with, but I was disappointed by all the mass-produced, makeup-plastered dolls on the market. That’s when I stumbled upon a few of my mother’s handmade pixie dolls that were tucked away in the attic. My mother is a master seamstress — she taught my sisters and me how to use sewing machines, read patterns, and embroider at a young age. From a simple pattern and some of my own drawings, I designed a larger version of my mother’s rag dolls, keeping in mind what I would want for my own little girl. And with that, The Busl Barn was born.

etsy-featured-shop-the-busl-barn-supplies2
etsy-featured-shop-the-busl-barn-ber

For me, doll-making is a fluid process. I’m constantly adjusting my patterns and working to improve the way I embroider, appliqué, or attach hair to my creations. I work with natural fibers like cotton and linen, and in an effort to reduce our global footprint and make a happier planet, I also use repurposed fabrics and eco-friendly materials whenever possible. Despite the fact that stuffing the arms and legs can be tedious, my dolls are so much fun to create; each one develops its own personality as I go. I also love inviting my customers to take part in the creative process by allowing them to personalize their dolls.

etsy-featured-shop-the-busl-barn-mom-daughter
etsy-featured-shop-the-busl-barn-doll
etsy-featured-shop-the-busl-barn-embroider

My family and I recently relocated to Africa from Chattanooga, Tennessee. My husband grew up here, as a missionary kid, and we wanted to pass on the same upbringing to our children. Income from my Etsy shop goes directly to support our life, our mission, and our humanitarian outreach here among the Tonga-speaking people of southern Zambia. We are stationed on a 3,000-acre farm, which grows mainly bananas, wheat, and soy beans and provides jobs and training opportunities for hundreds of Zambians. The farm also operates a primary school, health clinic, tailoring school, mechanics shop, woodworking shop and grinding mill.

etsy-featured-shop-the-busl-barn-nora
etsy-featured-shop-the-busl-barn-final

Etsy is the bridge between me and my customers all over the world. I’m amazed and humbled at how small this planet really is, and how global my dolls have become. I’ve shipped to 11 countries so far, including New Zealand, China and Israel. In the near future, I’d love to expand my line of custom dolls to include more African motifs and fabric designs, and to hire a local apprentice to help with production.

Follow The Busl Barn on Facebook and Pinterest.

All photographs by The Busl Barn.

1411_instagram_banner_2
Handmade Rag Doll Personalized, Child Friendly Doll with Yarn Hair, Hannah
Handmade Rag Doll Personalized, Child Friendly Doll with Yarn Hair, Hannah
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Personalized Rag Doll, Cloth Waldorf Doll, OOAK, Arabella
Personalized Rag Doll, Cloth Waldorf Doll, OOAK, Arabella
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Handmade Rag Doll, Waldorf Cloth Doll, Eco-friendly Fabric Doll, Personalize, Josephine
Handmade Rag Doll, Waldorf Cloth Doll, Eco-friendly Fabric Doll, Personalize, Josephine
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Rag Doll, Personalized Rag Doll, First Birthday Cloth Doll, Adelaide
Rag Doll, Personalized Rag Doll, First Birthday Cloth Doll, Adelaide
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Handmade Rag Waldorf Doll, African American, Brown Skin, Cloth Doll, Personalized, Millie
Handmade Rag Waldorf Doll, African American, Brown Skin, Cloth Doll, Personalized, Millie
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Eco-Friendly Rag Cloth Doll, Personalization Keepsake Waldorf Fabric Doll, Eleanor
Eco-Friendly Rag Cloth Doll, Personalization Keepsake Waldorf Fabric Doll, Eleanor
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Handmade Cloth Doll, Waldorf Rag Doll, Vintage Lace, Florence
Handmade Cloth Doll, Waldorf Rag Doll, Vintage Lace, Florence
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Newborn Cloth Doll, Short Hair Rag Doll, Waldorf, Handmade Personalized, Charlotte
Newborn Cloth Doll, Short Hair Rag Doll, Waldorf, Handmade Personalized, Charlotte
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Handmade Cloth Doll, Rag Doll, Asian Fabric Doll, Stella
Handmade Cloth Doll, Rag Doll, Asian Fabric Doll, Stella
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Brother Sister, Set of 2 Custom Rag Dolls, Cloth Doll, Waldorf Siblings
Brother Sister, Set of 2 Custom Rag Dolls, Cloth Doll, Waldorf Siblings
thebuslbarn
$175.00 USD
Handmade Boy Rag Doll with Freckles, Waldorf Cloth Boy Doll with Red Ticking Stripe, William
Handmade Boy Rag Doll with Freckles, Waldorf Cloth Boy Doll with Red Ticking Stripe, William
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Brother Sister, Set of 2 Custom Rag Dolls, Cloth Doll, Waldorf Siblings
Brother Sister, Set of 2 Custom Rag Dolls, Cloth Doll, Waldorf Siblings
thebuslbarn
$175.00 USD
Custom Set of 2 Rag Dolls, Big Sister Little Sister, Handmade Waldorf Cloth Doll, Eleanor and Clara
Custom Set of 2 Rag Dolls, Big Sister Little Sister, Handmade Waldorf Cloth Doll, Eleanor and Clara
thebuslbarn
$165.00 USD
Waldorf Custom Boy Brother Dolls, Set of 2 Boy Rag Dolls, Handmade Cloth Doll, Vintage Ticking Stripe, William and Hudson
Waldorf Custom Boy Brother Dolls, Set of 2 Boy Rag Dolls, Handmade Cloth Doll, Vintage Ticking Stripe, William and Hudson
thebuslbarn
$175.00 USD
Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Doll, Cora
Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Doll, Cora
thebuslbarn
$75.00 USD
Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Doll, Ava
Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Doll, Ava
thebuslbarn
$75.00 USD
Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Waldorf Doll, Pearl
Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Waldorf Doll, Pearl
thebuslbarn
$75.00 USD
Personalized Rag Doll, Handmade Cloth Waldorf Doll, OOAK, Arabella
Personalized Rag Doll, Handmade Cloth Waldorf Doll, OOAK, Arabella
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Handmade Rag Doll, Child Friendly Rag Doll, Cloth Fabric Doll, Mirabel
Handmade Rag Doll, Child Friendly Rag Doll, Cloth Fabric Doll, Mirabel
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Custom Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Doll, First Birthday
Custom Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Doll, First Birthday
thebuslbarn
$75.00 USD
Boy Rag Doll, Waldorf Cloth Doll, Hot Rod Ticking Stripe, Hudson
Boy Rag Doll, Waldorf Cloth Doll, Hot Rod Ticking Stripe, Hudson
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Boy Rag Doll, Waldorf Cloth Doll, Hot Rod Ticking Stripe, Hudson
Boy Rag Doll, Waldorf Cloth Doll, Hot Rod Ticking Stripe, Hudson
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Little Red Riding Hood Rag Doll, Cloth Doll, Riley Blake, Woodland Fox Nursery, Custom Personalize
Little Red Riding Hood Rag Doll, Cloth Doll, Riley Blake, Woodland Fox Nursery, Custom Personalize
thebuslbarn
$88.00 USD
Rag Doll, Personalized Rag Doll, First Birthday Cloth Doll, Adelaide
Rag Doll, Personalized Rag Doll, First Birthday Cloth Doll, Adelaide
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Handmade 12 inch Rag Doll, Custom Personalized Doll, Amelia
Handmade 12 inch Rag Doll, Custom Personalized Doll, Amelia
thebuslbarn
$75.00 USD
Red Haired Boy Rag Doll with Glasses, Waldorf Cloth Doll, Hot Rod, Graham
Red Haired Boy Rag Doll with Glasses, Waldorf Cloth Doll, Hot Rod, Graham
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Sisters Set of 2 Custom Rag Dolls, Cloth Doll, Waldorf Siblings
Sisters Set of 2 Custom Rag Dolls, Cloth Doll, Waldorf Siblings
thebuslbarn
$175.00 USD
Handmade Personalized Doll, Child Friendly Doll with Yarn Hair, Hannah
Handmade Personalized Doll, Child Friendly Doll with Yarn Hair, Hannah
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Eco-Friendly Rag Cloth Doll, Personalization Keepsake Waldorf Fabric Doll, Eleanor
Eco-Friendly Rag Cloth Doll, Personalization Keepsake Waldorf Fabric Doll, Eleanor
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Red Haired Boy Rag Doll with Glasses, Waldorf Cloth Doll, Hot Rod, Graham
Red Haired Boy Rag Doll with Glasses, Waldorf Cloth Doll, Hot Rod, Graham
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Doll, Clara
Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Doll, Clara
thebuslbarn
$75.00 USD
Handmade Boy Rag Doll with Freckles, Waldorf Cloth Boy Doll with Red Ticking Stripe, William
Handmade Boy Rag Doll with Freckles, Waldorf Cloth Boy Doll with Red Ticking Stripe, William
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Vintage Doll, Olivia
Handmade 12 inch Rag Cloth Vintage Doll, Olivia
thebuslbarn
$75.00 USD
Prairie Bonnet for Cloth Doll, Rag Doll, or Newborn
Prairie Bonnet for Cloth Doll, Rag Doll, or Newborn
thebuslbarn
$24.00 USD
Custom Set of 3 Rag Waldorf Dolls, Personalized, custom cloth doll
Custom Set of 3 Rag Waldorf Dolls, Personalized, custom cloth doll
thebuslbarn
$275.00 USD
Handmade Cloth Doll, Waldorf Rag Doll, Vintage Lace, Florence
Handmade Cloth Doll, Waldorf Rag Doll, Vintage Lace, Florence
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Handmade Waldorf Rag Doll, Cloth Softie, Laura Ingalls Prairie Doll, Anne of Green Gables
Handmade Waldorf Rag Doll, Cloth Softie, Laura Ingalls Prairie Doll, Anne of Green Gables
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD
Handmade Cloth Doll, Rag Doll, Asian Chinese Korean Doll, Stella
Handmade Cloth Doll, Rag Doll, Asian Chinese Korean Doll, Stella
thebuslbarn
$95.00 USD

263 comments

Sign in to add your own