SOS // Sup, Lima Nesting Dolls

Every piece that comes from Son of a Sailor is hand-crafted in our Austin, Texas studio. William and Jessica design each item with a specific function and meaning in mind, and often times the products have a unique story. Our talented team works together to produce each piece with a keen attention to detail, and we take pride in our process. We'd love to give folks a little bit of insight into how we do things, why we give our items their names, and what the process looks like!

Our Lima nesting doll is a re-imagination of the traditional Russian Matryoshka Doll. Scandinavian colors and color-blocking give the dolls a super clean pop and bring them into the modern design realm. With influences pulling from all over the world, many things come together for a modern hybrid. Jessica gives the down-low on the product and its creation, as well as the most interesting customer reaction.

What inspired this design?

“Nesting dolls have always had a special place in our relationship. When we first launched Son of a Sailor, I found a lone sailor nesting doll at a local thrift shop and couldn’t resist getting the little guy for Billy. Then, on our honeymoon in Playa Del Carmen, we found an adorable set of traditional Mexican lady dolls. We know it’s a little cheesy, but they became our little family and have been a part of us for a long time. As SOS developed, we wanted to incorporate that feeling into our brand.”

What was the most interesting design aspect of this product?

“Choosing the colors was surprisingly difficult. Finding the perfect harmony and balance between the different sizes was a challenge. We were inspired by classic Scandinavian colors and wanted to give them a modern twist. While I love the results, it was by far the most in depth color study we have done to date - and it’s still ongoing! Expect to see the Limas this fall in a whole new color incarnation.”

How are the Lima Nesting Dolls made?

“The Lima Dolls are made from traditionally carved Russian Nesting Dolls. We source them straight from Russia where they are still hand carved by classical methods. In our studio, each doll is sanded, masked, and then painted in small batches, each one gets some individual love. We have an elaborate system of clamps and squares set up for painting. It’s easier this way to make sure each doll is evenly painted, but I love it because the dolls look like 1920’s circus performers, dancing around in the studio. During the entire process, intense inspection is required. We use tweezers to remove any unwanted material and make sure our painting environment is spic ‘n span. To finish them off, each doll gets a clear coat and the big guy of each set is branded with the SOS logo.”

Is there any meaning behind the name, Lima?

“The name of every Supply item is from the naval phonetic alphabet. After we went through almost every call letter in the US naval alphabet, we started pulling from the British Royal Air Force and will probably continue to work our way around the globe as the line grows. So you’ll see the familiar phonetics of your childhood such as Alpha, Delta, and Charlie. You’ll also see some that are unique, like London, Baker, and Oscar. While you won’t see Son of a Sailor with very much that is literally nautical, we love incorporating subtle, nuanced naval elements. We try to pair up each piece with a name we think is fitting - and we often put a lot of thought into it! Lima just fit perfectly to the dolls for us, and we love the nautical nod.”

What is the most note-worthy customer reaction you have had to Lima?

“While most customers are incredibly responsive to the Lima, there are some folks that, well, just don't get it! My favorite story comes from a craft show with one sour-faced woman at our booth that perhaps didn't appreciate our take so much. After looking at our wares for at least five minutes, she picked up the Lima, looked us dead in the eye and said, ‘excuse me, you know you forgot their faces.’ Her judge-y attitude only added to the hilarity of the situation. And yes, while we are aware that these little dudes remain out of the face loop, we don't feel it necessary to add "face not included" to their product description."

What is your favorite way to style the Lima?

“The combination of bright colors, modernly blocked and warm, traditional, wood dolls makes this a perfect fit for our home space. We have ours sitting above our coat rack. However, we still appreciate the fact that these are toys! As decorative as they may be, they’re also a great way to play. We love the idea of them in a nursery, growing up with a child and becoming a much loved heirloom.”

What can we expect to see next from the Lima?

“The Lima has some exciting stuff in the works. Our lips are sealed at the moment, but expect great things this fall...we’re talking a re-release and maybe (most definitely) a major partnership.”

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