Interview with Gina Soriano from G.Baby

Gina Soriano is one of the most experienced customizers out there. She’s been doing outstanding work – her dolls are highly developed in concept and make. Her glittery divas portray complex characters full of details, accessories and high-end fashion clothes.

Always put your own twist on everything you do, it’s the only way to stand out because no one else is you.

Gina Soriano / G.Baby

DollyCustom posed 12 questions to Gina Soriano about her history as a customizer, her process, and techniques. Here are those questions:

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I’m originally from the San Francisco Bay area but currently living in Southern California beach town with my two dogs.

When and how did you discover Blythe dolls?

I discovered Blythe 9 years ago while browsing google images. I came across this photo and I thought the doll was so strange and interesting. I clicked on the image and it lead me to Flickr where I discovered a whole community of collectors. I spent several hours every day researching and exploring everything there was to know about this doll. Eventually, I found that some people were customizing them and I wanted to try it myself.

How long did it take for your style to emerge?

I’ve always had a specific style with my work which has developed and become more complex over time. Basically, I want my dolls to represent a part of me and my character and the things I’m interested in. I want them to express this glamorous and more grown up, bratty attitude. Some of the very first images I posted on Flickr were of my stock Can Can Cat doll in a risqué pose and sexy stockings. It wasn’t something that you saw a lot of back then or even now. I knew that I didn’t want to portray the typical “cutesy” look with my work, it just wasn’t me.

Do you do this as a hobby or professionally?

Blythe customizing started out as a hobby and slowly grew into a legitimate business that has become my sole source of income. I think a lot of us Blythe artists have been inadvertently thrust into entrepreneurship since the custom trend has been booming for several years now. It’s crazy to think about but also great. I feel incredibly fortunate that I’ve been able to put myself through college and pay the bills by selling dolls. To this day I’m always relieved and grateful when my doll sells because you never know if the market will slow down or if people won’t be interested in what you’re doing any longer.

What is your creative process like? Do you plan your custom dolls from start to finish or just go with the flow?

It depends on the project. If I have a seasonal themed release or collaboration with another artist we always plan way ahead. Right now I’m already starting to plan a collab that won’t be released until June of 2018. But if it’s just a typical custom I don’t do any planning at all. I’ll just use whatever clothing I have on hand and grab whatever doll is lying around that I happen to have to work on at that moment.

What is your favorite part of this process and your least favorite?

My favorite part of customizing is when all the custom work is finished! Doing the actual hands-on work is a task and can be really hard on your eyesight and your back. Photographing and editing the images of the doll is the most rewarding part for me because I get to see my doll come to life.

How long does it take you to customize one doll? Do you do one at a time or multiple?

It really doesn’t take very long to complete a doll start to finish. If I was only working on one doll I could finish a basic customization in a couple days. However, I’m always working on a million things at once so it takes me much longer.

Where do you work on your dolls? Do you have a dedicated workplace?

I have a small apartment and my tiny work space takes up the dining area.

How would you characterize your style?

G.Baby girls are a little bit grown up, glamorous, bratty fashion queens.

What are your favorite tools? What is your favorite Blythe mold to customize?

My favorite tool is my tiny x- acto knife that I use to clean up carving work with and also my Dremel drill because it makes my life easier and takes care of some carving and cleaning up much faster. I always prefer to work on RBL and FBL because these are the molds that go best with my style.

How did you develop the pricing model for your dolls?

When I first started customizing I was charging $70 for a commission. After taking a few of those orders I decided to sell a doll via eBay auction. My first auction ended up selling for $300. I kept listing my dolls through eBay auctions to sell and the price would rise every time. Eventually, the price reached a much higher amount and remained at that level so I knew that I could price them accordingly.

For the beginner customizer, what advice would you give them?

It’s important to embrace your own style with your work because that is “your brand”. If you stay true to your personal style you’ll be way more successful than if you try to make your dolls look like so and so’s work because they’re popular or marketable. There will always be trends in customizing and it’s ok to follow them, but always put your own twist on everything you do, it’s the only way to stand out because no one else is you.

Highly desirable and sought after, G.Baby custom Blythe dolls are perfect fashion divas. Gina has developed highly professional carving and make-up that mixes with high-end clothes and accessories. Her dolls are beautifully portraited with staged photos that are in itself art pieces.

Follow G.Baby and her ongoing projects on her social media by checking her profile page.

  • Dolls: 300+
  • Started: 2008
  • How to Purchase: “Etsy or people can contact me directly to purchase one of my dolls.”
  • Favorite Customizers: “My favorite customizer is Picara Roguedolls she’s one of the first artists I discovered. Her work inspired me to customize Blythe.”