For custom doll maker Cassie Booth, the journey of creating a doll for someone is not unlike dancing.
There are many intricate steps and the doll can only be one that fills its creator and its new owner with joy if the two have worked in sync along the way.
Ms Booth found her way into the world of doll making after taking miniatures from a war-focused game and using them to build dioramas focused away from the front line.
“I enjoyed looking at that in between combat time and wondering what they might spend that time doing, and then I realised that with dolls I could build bigger dioramas with different themes,” she said.
About five years ago, Ms Booth decided to turn her passion for dolls into a home business and to start using her skills to help others.
The home business venture proved successful and now, together with husband Shaun, she has taken it to the next level by opening Rare and Pretty Dolls in Ipswich’s Top of Town precinct.
The store opened this month and is really two businesses in one – the doll store as well as hobby and tabletop gaming shop The Dark Magician.
Shaun and Cassie Booth are excited about their new Top of Town store.
The Dark Magician name will be familiar to some, with the store have previously operated in the Top of Town, in Bell Street and then in Brisbane for the past 12 months before a return to Ipswich.
Ms Booth said both stores were founded on a sense of promoting community, celebrating inclusion and sustainability.
“We always work hard to create a space that is inclusive where anyone, young and old, can come and enjoy themselves and their hobby,” she said.
Rare and Pretty Dolls sells one of a kind dolls with a particular focus on vintage dolls, My Little Pony, Monster High, Pop Vinyls and reborn dolls.
“Reborn dolls are created to be as lifelike as possible, that includes things like painting veins onto them and things like fingernails,” she said.
“We sell a lot of vintage dolls and I have connections with collectors if people are looking for a particular doll, or can source parts for older dolls which may need some repair.
“Someone might come in and say their sister ripped the hair off their My Little Pony when they were younger and now they want to replace it, and I can source the same colour hair as was used in the 1980s for them.
“We have dolls from all over the world here, including handmade teddy bears from the UK and dolls that if you buy them in Japan you are limited to buying only one or two.”
The new store at Top of Town.
Hosting customer workshops at the store to help new and experienced doll lovers make the most of the hobby is also a major focus for Ms Booth.
“I love helping other people and a lot of customers want to learn about doll customisation so I’m able to teach them,” she said.
The story is much the same when it comes to the gaming side of things.
“Maintaining a positive culture in the gaming scene is not always easy but it is definitely worth it and something Shaun and I are absolutely passionate about,” she said.
“We pride ourselves on providing a safe, inclusive space for people to play.”
Games stocked by The Dark Magician include role playing games, Warhammer 40k, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering and board games. Weekly tournaments and events for various games are held in store.
Ms Booth said the Top of Town was the perfect fit for Rare and Pretty Dolls and The Dark Magician.
“We love the Top of Town. It has a real artistic feel about it and is enjoying a real renaissance which is very exciting and we’re happy to be a part of that.”
Rare and Pretty Dolls is at 2 West Street, Ipswich and is open from 10am to 10pm Wednesday to Sunday.