BAY MINNETTE, Ala (WKRG) — If you think that children are the only ones who play with dolls, then you haven’t met Kiki Caldwell. This Baldwin County High School Senior calls her dolls, her babies.
“I spend money on them like they were real babies, but I don’t buy formula. That would be weird,” Caldwell said.
Kiki loves what are called “reborn” dolls These are dolls that look real. These can cost anywhere from $800-$2000. She says she doesn’t have the money to keep buying them, so she decided to make them. It is not an easy process. She orders a kit that contains doll baby parts and paints each piece to look like a real baby. After each coat of paint, she has to bake the doll in the oven. That helps paint soak into the vinyl. Each one takes at least ten hours.
“It can be frustrating because sometimes I am painting the baby, and I have to strip it and start over. In the end, I am like, I did so good,” she said.
Caldwell’s dolls have sold between $200-$375. She has sold to collectors and families. She says it’s particularly meaningful when a family who has lost a child purchases one of her dolls. Sometimes she is so touched by a family’s story that she gives the dolls away.
Caldwell is earning money to pay for her senior class expenses. She is determined not to ask her parents for spending money. She’s working hard to pay the fees required for graduation. That’s about $400. She is trying to pay her cap and gown fee, class fee, and for her senior portraits.
“I don’t like my parents spending money on me. I am eighteen. I should be making my own money,” Caldwell said.
If you are interested in learning more about Kiki’s dolls, here is a link to her Instagram page.