Holly Jolly Dollies
Kate Lally ’24 discusses her business, which offers craft kits designed for children and their dolls.
As children across the globe await Santa’s arrival, many harbor hopes that they might find a doll under their Christmas tree this year. Of course, some will require accessories to help complete their new companion’s look. Where can parents go to find stylish and affordable products for their young one’s friend? Look no further than kit & sis!
Co-founded by Kate Lally ’24, Madeline Pollock and Gabrielle Pollock, the company offers a range of craft kits designed to spark children’s creativity and imagination. Each box includes all the materials needed to decorate various accessories, from sunglasses to canvas totes and beyond. The kits also feature video tutorials that walk customers through the crafting process.
“Madeline, Gabrielle and I were inspired by our moms to create this company. They’re very crafty, creative people. They always encouraged us to create things for our dolls on our own,” said Lally, a marketing major and graphic design minor from San Francisco, California.
Lally and the Pollock sisters founded kit & sis when they were only 13 years old. It started out as a summer camp run out of Lally’s grandmother’s backyard. The trio would spend their days teaching kids how to make crafts. The company’s offerings later expanded to include birthday parties and other events.
kit & sis first started selling craft kits after the pandemic hit and in-person programming became impossible. Though they have started hosting events again now that COVID-19 is more manageable than it was previously, the team continues to find success with their subscription boxes.
“When we first started this business, we didn’t think it would become what it is today,” Lally said. “We thought it would just be a small company, but it’s really blown up and become something special.”
Amid the busy Christmas shopping season, we sat down with Lally to talk about interacting with children, applying classroom lessons to her business and life after graduation.
Did you have a favorite doll as a child?
My favorite doll was Emily from the American Girl line. She’s a historical doll from the 1920s. I loved all types of dolls, but Emily was my favorite because she looked a little bit like me. I think that’s a common thing for young girls. They like characters they can identify with. That’s something I really enjoyed.
Your work affords you the opportunity to interact with children and their parents. What’s that experience like?
We try to be very personal with the children who come to our events. I think that’s what differentiates us from other companies. We’re working with children who are still developing their fine motor skills. Sometimes it can be challenging for them when they’re using scissors or trying to tie knots. Our approach is to help reassure the child and guide them through the process. We don’t want them to feel frustrated while they’re expressing themselves creatively. Helping them learn to overcome this frustration is my favorite part of doing what I do.
How has your Stonehill education impacted your experiences running a business?
When we first started this company, it was a lot of guessing and trying things out. We kind of learned by doing. Since I’ve started college, I’ve applied a lot of what I’m learning in class. For instance, I’m our company’s graphic designer. I design all our craft boxes and logos. I also handle our social media channels. Honing those skills and learning different techniques in class has been incredibly helpful.
Do you have any advice for other students interested in starting their own business?
It can be a little scary to take an idea and put it out there. It may be daunting, but from my own experience, I say that you just need to go for it. Just put yourself out there and take everything one step at a time. If things don’t work out, that’s okay. You can always take a step back and reassess. If you don’t succeed, try again.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? Do you want to continue growing your business or do you have other plans in mind?
This business is our baby. My partners and I have been doing this for what seems like forever. I feel like I could continue doing this for a long time, especially since I love it so much. At the same time, I’m open to exploring other career avenues. It’s easy to be your own boss, so I am interested in pivoting by going to work for a larger corporation and learning what that’s like.