WORK PLACE

The dollmaker principle

"After a few weeks of identifying the dollmaker principle in action, I began to approach my business differently."

Tiny red adobe villages bake in the sun outside the elegant colonial city of Morelia in the Mexican state of Michoacán. During La Semana Santa, or Holy Week, villagers bring their handmade crafts into the plaza of the old city to sell them. The plaza becomes a lively outdoor market filled with street musicians and food vendors and beautiful children with coffee-colored eyes and rows and rows of regional crafts. My husband and I, pale Pennsylvanians still waiting for spring to come to our part of the world, soaked up the sun and the songs, ate fresh papayas and pineapples with chili sauce and grated cheese, and admired the crafts and the artisans.

One day, we heard about a dollmaker who lives in a tiny remote village with only a church and one dirt road lined with little houses made of red clay and straw. She has no shop, no sign, no color brochures, no space ads in magazines or newspapers. And yet, people from all over the world find their way to her adobe house to buy the dolls that she makes. The dolls are made with such skill and precision, with so much love and delight, that they are irresistibly attractive.

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Editorial
Do no harm
February 21, 2000
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