PUBLISHED: Thursday, January 5, 2017 by Heather Benamy

2017 is finally here. First of all our sincerest wishes to all of our mini friends for a happy and healthy new year!

We thought we would start off the new year by introducing you to a few of the people on the team. Their outstanding contributions are a huge part of what allows us to provide you with thousands of miniatures, fantastic projects and excellent customer service. We posed some random questions to each of them, so you might get to know them better.

Sue Johnson, Merchandising Manager

Why miniatures? What appeals to you most about what you do?

I came to HBS/ from Ballard Designs.. I love the fact that I can put mini items on my desk and measure them with a ruler! But seriously, the best thing about working here is seeing the passion that our customers have for minis. I’m constantly amazed at the creativity, talent and commitment to the hobby that I see from our customers.

What can we expect from HBS/ in 2017?

The latest and greatest new miniatures the market has to offer! The CIMTA show in Las Vegas is later this month, so I hope to find lots of new minis that we can introduce this spring. And we will continue to keep our prices as low as possible and offer promotions to help make minis affordable for all.

What’s the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?

When I started here in 1998, Gail Vaughn was our staff miniaturist. I had never seen a large display of miniatures before hers—she had a long wall filled with at least a dozen display boxes. All of her scenes were detailed and elegant and she had names for and stories about all the doll characters in the scenes. Many of her stories were quite colorful and entertaining!

What’s the coolest thing you have on your desk right now?

A perfect round solitaire diamond engagement ring in a box. Miniature, of course, and not ”quite” real.

Fran Casselman, Staff Miniaturist

What advice would you give to new miniaturists?

Start small. Know where you want to go. Planning, patience and persistence are the tools you will need most.

How did you get started in miniatures?

I think I inherited the condition from my mother, who also loved "little things," although she was not a collector. She had grown up having to "make and make do," so I learned to see the possibilities and satisfaction of crafting for myself. When I was about 6 or 7, I made a tiny paper doll as a "person" for my father's HO-scale model railroad. That was probably the first miniature I ever made. I found it in his effects after he died.

Why miniatures? What appeals to you most about what you do?

In real life, we are only ever able to see the world around us in small slices; it's just too big and we are too small. In a miniature world, we can see the whole of something in one glance. When you think about it, Earth is a miniature when seen from space. As miniaturists, we can have that experience without leaving home.

What can we expect from HBS/ in 2017?

More tips and techniques as I try new things and find new ways to use minis.

Nancy Van Horn, Customer Service Representative

How Did You Get Started in Miniatures?

My husband decided to build me a dollhouse, and we couldn’t find a local miniature shop near Greenville, Michigan. I figured other people probably couldn’t find the miniatures they wanted either. I decided to open a miniature shop in Greenville, and I learned a lot. I had the shop for 10 years until I sold it and moved to Atlanta.

What advice would you give to new miniaturists?

Buy my book! It’s got everything you need to know to start out in miniatures. It tells you about the different dollhouses, how to do things, what tools you need. Most anything for a miniature project whether it’s a dollhouse, room box, or display. You can buy it on, Everything You Wanted About Dollhouses But Didn’t Know Who To Ask

What’s the most memorable miniature you have ever seen?

It’s a tie between the three most famous dollhouses in the world - Queen Mary’s Dollhouse at Windsor Castle in England, Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle at The Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago, and the Thorne Miniature Rooms created by Mrs. James Ward Thorne at the Art Institute of Chicago.

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