If you’ve ever wished you could buy a toy for your child that’s fun, imaginative, educational and meaningful — you need to know about Dolls from Heaven.
These dolls set children’s hearts on fire to do good in their lives, not just try to look good.
The same size as an American Girl doll, Dolls from Heaven are realistic replicas of saints. At a price of roughly $98, each carefully made doll arrives with a book describing the saint’s life and works. The dolls are made to be loved and emulated, say their creators, a pro-life Catholic family from New Jersey.
Dolls from Heaven set children’s hearts on fire to do good in their lives — not just to look good.
LifeZette talked with Brian Kiczek, who runs Dolls from Heaven with his family. A chiropractor from Cliffside, New Jersey, Kiczek said the business is a special mission for the entire clan.
Question: How did you get the idea for Dolls from Heaven?
Answer: The idea came after praying the rosary on a long family trip last year to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady Help of Christian [May 24]. We were stuck in traffic, and we started talking about how there were no beautiful saint dolls out there.
That was sad to us, and soon the conversation changed to what we would do if we made saint dolls ourselves. We’re a family of doll lovers — we have three daughters, so dolls have been a part of our family for a long time. [The girls are now 16, 14, and 8.] God must have prepared us with a love for dolls, because now we design and make saint dolls as a family.
Q: Why do you feel it’s important for children to learn about the saints today?
A: Saints help us imitate Christ, and they show us that we can become saints as well — especially a saint like St. Therese of Lisieux, who speaks of ways in which anyone can become a saint through little acts of love and sacrifice. Children learn through play, and this a wonderful way to teach them about God and our faith. My wife, Esmerelda, worked painstakingly on the story of St. Therese, giving her a storybook that is accurate chronologically and true to her life.
Q: What is your view of other dolls currently on the market — dolls like Barbie, for example?
A: Barbie and other dolls are very beautiful and help children have a love of fashion and different careers. That being said, we wanted to take dolls to the next level by not only giving children the most beautiful dolls they could imagine, but dolls that would also help inspire them. Saints are real people who lived holy lives and are a great example to all of us.
American Girl dolls seem to be maybe starting to head in wrong direction. There’s a societal pressure there, perhaps — although they’re not as bad as Barbie! They had a story of two men who adopted a little girl in their American Girl magazine, and people say, “Why?” It’s 20 years after American Girl first hit the market — maybe the people who founded it have nothing to do with current choices.
Q: How does your faith impact your work?
A: Faith began our work with Dolls from Heaven and it allows us to continue in the difficult process of “next steps” with the business. Every day is a challenge between working on a new doll and continuing our marketing efforts. Everything we do, we try to put as much love into it as we can. Our dream as a family is to be able to work full time for the Lord in various missions, and with Dolls from Heaven as well. We pray before we start every big and small project. God always provides — we were offered some money from family members to purchase a second car, and we decided against that. Instead, we began our business, and we’ve never looked back.
Q: What feedback have you heard from your customers?
A: So far the feedback has been incredible. Some of the stories show that not only do the children love their saint doll, but they also put their imaginations to work right away.
For example, one girl set up a soup kitchen for the poor using her St. Therese doll. Another little girl took her doll right away to adoration at her church, and she’s starting a photo journal of her adventures.
One time we took the St. Therese doll to do a photo shoot, and we were on a ferry. A worker was so struck by the doll that he came up to us and asked questions about her, including if she was a Catholic nun.
The experience helped us to start “Therese’s Little Missionaries” — children take their dolls on mission trips, to special events, to classroom show-and-tells, to CCD class, carnivals, and more.
We are happy and excited to give children a doll that reminds them that they, too, can be a saint. Currently we’re offering the St. Therese of Lisieux doll, with many others planned for the future, including a Joan of Arc doll.