She’s a Barbie girl and she doesn’t mind admitting it!
Blackpool businesswoman Clare Rawling has rediscovered a childhood love in lockdown and discovered a whole world of new friends thanks to the best-selling doll.
And not content with collecting she has launched her own social media channels, uploading stop motion animation films featuring her favorite dolls
Clare Rawling who films her Barbie collection using stop-motion animation techniques and uploads them for an online community of collectors
Clare runs The Film Poster Store, selling vintage original posters online, and she and husband Colin are both keen collectors of memorabilia.
She said: “I absolutely adored Barbie when I was younger. I decided to buy back the ones I had , not really knowing how much the vintage ones are worth these days.”
She said some can fetch £200 if they are in their original boxes. Collecting them is a world wide phenomenon and she has been interviewed by the Financial Times about her hobby.
She took pictures of the dolls when they arrived and put them on social media and discovered many other people did the same.
Clare started collecting the fashion dolls in lockdown by re-buying the ones she had as a child
From there she started doing films, painstakingly posing and photographing the dolls and setting it to music. She has around 70 Barbies plus accessories.
“I totally understand that I look like a complete idiot having a mid-life crisis! I gave up Barbie when I went to secondary school, some girls found out and I had to stop.
“My dad had boarded out the loft as a Barbie room full of furniture and all that sadly went. He passed away six years ago so some of it is memories of my childhood.”
But the real attraction has been the friendships she has made. One lady from the US shipped over a whole a box full of furniture she had made and clothes.
Now she enjoys making a posting videos she has made.
She said: “The feedback I have had has been amazing and I just enjoy doing it.
“It is not hard, but it is time consuming and you need a lot of patience to balance them in position and move them.
“Yes I am 40, with a 12 year old son Zach! Luckily he thinks some of my videos are ‘OK’ and my husband is very supportive too.
Clare has more than 70 of the dolls plus scores more accessories including a Barbie dolls house
“Not long after starting my Instagram account, I was invited to join a UK project called Dollsinboots. This is a group of UK dollstagrammers who share a passion for dolls (mostly Barbies) and who share a pair of travelling red wellies! They take pictures with their dolls wearing them and then share on social media.
“I have made so many friends, most of them of around the same age and from all over the world.”
Her films can bee seen on Instagram, You Tube and Facebook under the name Vintagebarbieclare.
Barbie is made by US toy firm Mattel, and launched in March 1959. It was created by Ruth Handler who knew that kids would want a grown up doll to dress up and play with. In 2020 Mattel sold $1.35bn worth of Barbies and accessories.