The Doll Shop Downstairs is fiction, but it is loosely based on one of my heroines in the Doll Industry; Beatrice Alexander A.K.A. Madame Alexander.
As an adult, I liked The Doll Shop Downstairs, I also think it’s a nice read aloud story for the 5 and 6 year olds.
Beatrice Alexander and her sisters did in fact grow up above their parent’s store, and that store really did do doll repairs. That’s the truth behind the story. Most of the rest of it is fiction. I had fun when I found this book and tried to trace the connections between fact and fiction.
The Madame Alexander Doll company got its start during WWI, when, because of the embargo of German goods, her parent’s business couldn’t get doll repair parts easily. Worried about her parent’s financial hardship, Beatrice came up with some cloth doll designs, recruited her sisters and family to help her make them, and voila, the Madame Alexander Doll Company was born.
Madame Alexander made beautiful dolls, and started her own company in an age when women entrepreneurs were few and far between. And to be honest with you, it amazes me that almost a 100 years later, Madame Alexander is still in business and thriving. Very, very few companies last that long!