Jan Shackelford , first started designing dolls as a business in 1986. A native of Birmingham, Alabama she sold her first babies at local gift shops in town. Her first babies were made of cotton muslin and had handpainted flat faces. The first dolls were called Babykins.The first dolls sold nationwide were her Lil' Black Countykid Girl and Lil' Amish girl which was advertised in County Sampler magazine.
From the first advertisments Jan recieved many orders which promted her to go to market with her dolls and introduce them to the wholesale market. At the Atlanta Gift Market Jan decided she would need help in order to fill the many orders that she recieved. She hired her Mother, sisters and other family and friends to help.
She designed a small muslin doll called the Youngun's which sold for $24.00 to $30.00 in stores and they were an instant success. They were sold in Hallmark shops, Mom and Pop county gift stores, Florist, Hospitals....and many larger stores.
In 1990 Jan ventured into a partnership with Feltman Brothers Inc. infant clothing which would be a major turning point for her business. Within a year they moved from a small warehouse in Irondale, Alabama to a 6,000 sq ft office warehouse and had as many as 60 full time employees and home workers. This partnership enabled Jan to up the production of her different seiries of dolls and allowed her time to do signing parties and go to all the major gift shows to promote her designs. The less expensive series of babies were stamped with a Jan Shackelford signature as the Limited Edition series were each hand signed by Jan.The limited edition series were each numbered yet since they were hand made they were still considered one of a kind as each baby could have slight variations in the sculpting and even clothing. Most editions during this era were limited edition of 350 to 500, and most of the editions consisted of 12 to 14 babies each dressed similar to represent the series.
When Jan incorporated with Feltman Brothers Inc. in 1990 the name of Shackelford Originals was changed to Jan Shackelford Originals, Inc.
During the 7 years that Jan and Feltman remained partners the company produced thousands of wonderful babies and toddlers and Youngun's that went to lots of loving homes and collectors.
Jan designed a special edition of Youngun's for Winterthur Museum catalog, larger and smaller dolls for FAO SCHWARTZ Toy stores, 6,000 edition of the MARIE Youngun' ballerina doll for Strawbridge and Clothier stores out of Philladelphia, Pa..
Jan's babies were sold through Speigel Catalog. in the early 1990's and on QVC.
She designed for Home Shopping Network one several different occasions in 1995 , 1996 and 1997, making a guest appearance on the show.
A special edition of toddlers for the Atlanta Childrens Hospital was quite a task for Jan. The toddlers were for children to learn about the procedures that were being done at the center, one which included a pacemaker in the doll.
In 1993, Jan introduced her first soft-sculpted babies called the Keepsake Baby. This would be another turning point in the history of her dollmaking. After producing a full 12 page catalog of wonderful musling babies and toddlers Jan was shy of something for the cover of the catalog.The Keepsake Baby was decided as a last minute decision to place two on the cover and after that there was so many floods of orders for the soft-sculted babies that the rest of the catalog was useless. Many of the top adoption centers for Xavier Roberts original cabbage patch children started selling Jan's babies and introducing them to their collectors. One shop in particular called The Cottage of Memories and More started a Jan Shackelford Collectors Club. With this one store,Jan Shackelford Originals started having a yearly convention which was held in Irondale, Alabama. Collectors would fly in from all over the United States for the convention and Jan would design a special doll for each member of the club.
In 1997, the company had grown to have over 3,000 stores worldwide that carried Jan's dolls.During this year, Jan and her partners parted ways.Jan returned to Toy Fair one last time that year and introduced her one of a kind small 3 to 5 inch clay sculpted babies and toddlers. Being a collector of Jan's other dolls the actress Demi Moore loved her new clay babies and bought all that Jan had taken to Toy Fair.It was a nice way to start on the road with her new company which now became Jan Shackelford Collectibles.
Jan decided to return to designing and making one of a kind cloth babies for only a handful of stores and so she dropped out of sight for a few years.
In 2002, with the modern technology of internet Jan decided to try listing babies to eBay as a source of reaching some of her collectors.
would like to be on her mailing list you can email and she will notify you of her latest creations.
The YAHOO Jan Shackelford Collectors Club was formed shortly after
and at present day of 2012 there are hundreds of collectors on the club.
Jan designed animals and special editions for each holiday and still has a special convention each year for her collectors.
Jan sends out brochures every day to her email list of collectors
If you would like to be on her email list send a little message to add your email.
Jan Shackelford Collectibles
8017 Balsam Trace
Trussville, Alabama 35173