Victoria’s little shop of horrors in Daventry has become a monster success

Victoria Malin and her dolls
Victoria Malin and her dolls

Not many people have the courage to leave behind a secure job to focus on achieving their ambitions, but that is exactly what this Daventry-based artist did.

Victoria Malin left her management job on Halloween in 2015 to focus on designing and creating her cute horror-themed dolls full-time.

She now owns and runs Pins & Needles Art Dolls and, thanks to a Prince’s Trust Enterprise scheme, has grown her business since taking the “terrifying” decision.

“Around October 2015, I quit my job to do this full-time, which was terrifying,” said Victoria.

“I’d had a lot of feedback from friends on the prototypes and their accompanying stories, and I checked the Facebook page and saw that people started getting interested in them, so I thought ‘I’m just going to go for it!’”

The dolls take Victoria between two to four hours to make at her Daventry studio and are predominantly made from cotton and felt. They are hand painted and she does everything by eye.

Each doll has its own personalised back stories inspired by Victoria’s experiences and her outlook on life.

For example, one of her dolls called Krank is a character who became a recluse as a result of years of bullying.

“I’ve been told that they seem to represent me,” said Victoria. “Some are based on friends and on things that have happened. Some of them are just messages that I think everyone should adhere to.

“I’ve always been a bit different and I’ve tried to entwine that in their stories.”

These tales not only help make each doll different, they offer a hand to those who have been through similar experiences.

Customers have purchased items at fairs around the country purely on the basis they can relate to, or have connected with the doll’s story.

Victoria says the five-day Prince’s Trust Enterprise scheme course she did gave her the belief to take her business idea forward.

“They’re fantastic because they add more confidence to what you’re doing, and they also really believe in you,” said Victoria. “That gives you a boost to get on with it and think that it could work.”

After learning about bookkeeping and marketing, she was awarded funding and allocated a mentor, with whom she meets every month to discuss ways to continue growing her enterprise.