by Katherine Renton
As every person in this world is unique, so are the dolls of “Khloe’s Krochet” which are tailored to look like every little child who owns them, from their hair to their complexion.
If you can imagine it, Shevonne DeShong can likely realize it, using her crochet needle, yarn or thread. Whether this be animal and human dolls, baby clothes or keyrings.
However, her hottest items on sale now, are her 15-inch crochet dolls modelled to look like her clients.
“I make them to the complexion of the child. So if the child is dark skinned, I use a dark tone texture yarn to make the doll, and I give them the texture hair,” DeShong explained, using dolls on stands in front of her as examples during an interview with SEARCHLIGHT.
“If they have puffs I give them the puff, if they have curly hair, I make curly hair,” she continued.
DeShong works full time at a security company during the week, and uses all the time that she can get on nights and weekends to complete orders.
Every product from “Khloe’s Krochet” (or khloes_krochet on Instagram), is handmade by DeShong, as she does not have an assistant.
Clients send her photos, and she also conducts research on what is trending as it concerns fashion for doll clothes.
The dolls’ key point is their uniqueness. “Each doll is never the same”, which is in contrast to dolls mass-produced by factories overseas, she stated.
When her business began, DeShong was making dolls for new-borns to play with, such as Octopi, with tentacles that they can pull on.
But one day, she asked herself “why don’t I make some dolls that can look like our little girls’ hair in St Vincent? So that they could feel comfortable in their own skin.”
A recent incident reinforced this motivation for her.
“My daughter came home from Kindergarten, and she was saying that some of her friends were laughing at another girl and talking about how her complexion looks,” the mother said, which prompted her to have a discussion with her daughter about respecting and loving who you are.
DeShong believes that one should start from home, letting children know to love themselves.
Therefore, “by having these dolls it kinda shows them that ‘hey I have a doll that looks just like me’”.
When her clients send her pictures on receiving the dolls, “The reward of seeing those pictures. Oh my God! I feel so good. I feel uplifted when I see the babies hugging them, and smiling,” the crafter reveals.
Videos are also sent of children opening their packages, “Some of them would scream like ‘Ahh she has curly hair like me’”, Deshong commented fondly.
While her dolls may currently be turning heads in the local arena, Deshong’s business has been growing internationally since 2016, although it has now been forced into hiatus due to the pandemic.
Further, she has been a crochet aficionado since she was a child, and some may say that crafting is in her blood.
“I was about nine years old, and I would see my mom making little doilies to put on centre tables, she would make chair back designs…” she recalled about her mother, Avis Deshong-Clarke.
At that time the family resided at Mt Grennan.
In the beginning, her mother wouldn’t accept her daughter’s pleas to be able to help with crocheting, as she was making items for other persons.
Not to be dissuaded, little Shevonne picked up a baby pin used for diapers, and formed it into her own ‘crochet hook’. “I took scraps of her thread or yarn, and I started looking at what she was doing and imitating her,” she recalled.
Her enthusiasm brought her mother around, and that Christmas she received a book on crochet stitches.
“I learnt all the stitches from the book and she gave me yarn and the hook to practice, and I practiced, practiced until I learnt all of them,” DeShong disclosed. From there, she was given assignments, and her mother would teach her when she was stitching too slack or too tight by using incorrect tension.
Eventually, DeShong would reach the point of expertise that she would be allowed the assist her mother.
Later, she would study craft in school although she only did so because she was unable to get into the Home Economics class.
“I fell in love with being able to create things,” she admitted, recalling that she started a business back then.
Unable to afford a sought-after friendship bracelet, she went home one day, stripped a Clorox bottle, and using crochet material, stitched her name into a bracelet. The next day everyone wanted one, and she was able to sell them for a dollar, which was a significant sum at the time.
“It made me realize if I put my mind to anything, I can use my creative mind and make anything I see, replicate anything in my own unique way,” she stated.
In present day, DeShong’s crochet gets her through hard times, not only financially, but by putting her mind at ease.
“It makes me go back to the days when I used to see my mother smiling away doing her crochet. And I’m looking at her like ‘Why is she smiling?’
“…It’s because she’s so caught up in the whole crochet world of what she’s doing, concentrating and it just relaxes her,” DeShong said, swearing by its stress relieving properties.
The ever-evolving crafter already makes others dolls such as the Japanese Amigurumi style, and she is also experimenting with Fabric dolls. Character dolls from movies like Frozen are her next step.
The recipient of a PRYME grant, she intends to expand her business to include other crafts, and has purchased embroidery machines.
She is also making some products for Invest SVG to take to Dubai in 2021 for an expo there.
For those wanting to contact her to make orders, she is reachable at 433-2265, and on Instagram. Dolls vary in size, and price. The largest doll she has made is 18 inches, while she is now beginning to make 10-inch dolls for a reduced cost. Prices may range between XCD 100 and XCD 150.