When I first found your website, I thought it was really cute that you have something posted about how the two of you met and fell in love. There is also a picture of the two of you inside a heart. There is a real great vibe about a close relationship between the two KK creators on the site. Can you give us a little background on how the two of you met and what your relationship is?
Rita: One night we saw each other at a club, started talking, and found out that both our birthdays were June 22. We knew we had to have a lot in common, and sure enough, after another 6 hours of talking, we realized that we did. That was almost seven years ago, and the partnership is strong.
Ed: Now we’re married, business partners, and best friends. We have a bond that we hadn’t thought could exist before we met. Our Kiddies are our babies. We have no children together, but if we did, we figure this is what they probably would look like.
When did you make your first ever doll and what inspired you to do so?
Rita: I was a doll collector, and just had learned how to make "reborns". That is where you take a normal doll, and make it look and feel like a real baby. I had seen them on ebay, and could NOT believe how wonderful they looked, when done properly. I just knew with my artistic background, that I could do a great job. So I tried it.
How were the Krypt Kiddies born? Did it just suddenly come to you, or was it something that developed over time?
Ed: Rita was making her "reborns" and I said, "I can do those, too." She said, "But why should you? Why make these when you are a horror artist? How about trying a 'Rosemary’s Baby?'" She described to me what she thought it looked like from the book, and I made it. We sold it on ebay for over $100.00. That is when we realized that there was quite an interest. The rest is history.
Do you still hear from the person who bought the very first ever kiddie - the one from "Rosemary's Baby"?
Rita: I actually saw an ebay auction of hers, where she used his pic for address labels. I bought them. I LOVE them. So we talked a bit then. It was nice to hear that she still likes him a lot.
How long does it take to make an original Krypt Kiddie? Can you give us a brief overview of the process?
Ed: We start with a regular baby doll, take it apart, and repaint if from the inside out. Teeth and horns are hand sculpted and added, after painting and drying processes. Eyelashes, sealers, and nails are next.
Rita: I look them over, and decide whether they are a girl or boy. That is when hair and clothing are added. This, of course, is my favorite part. I was a teacher of cosmetology, and although still have a current license, do NOT want to be a hairdresser anymore.....so I work on the Kiddies.
Ed: The whole process takes place over a few days, with a couple hours each day devoted to one, two, or as many as six at a time.
What is the story with the Angel-ish (reborns) dolls that were on your old site? Are they the good version of the Baby Demon Kiddies?
Rita: Not really. They were just something I started doing for fun. However, everyone else started doing them, as well, so when the devil baby idea came up, it was a natural step to run with it.
Have you considered doing a comic based on the battle between the good Angels and evil Krypt Kiddies?
Ed: We have considered comics, cartoons, collector cards.....you name it. If the Kiddies do well, the sky is the limit.
I've seen the "Dungeon Dwellers" section on the new website - are these the more advanced dolls or older dolls or...? What's the difference between them and the regular Krypt Kiddies?
Ed: Actually, they are neither. They are the scarier version that may be a little too much for some. People have the choice whether to look or not. Some were experiments to show what our abilities are, and some were custom orders.
You also design custom dolls. Have you ever had any custom orders that were beyond what could be done with the dolls? Any funny stories about custom orders that you can share?
Rita: We have tried to accommodate all requests. Ed doesn’t believe in saying no. Once I sat for hours trying to piece together wigs for a widow’s peak on a baby, that was supposed to have hair down his back. They don’t make wigs like this, so I had to make due. It was a challenge, and actually came out great.
Ed: Then there was the time I had to hand-sculpt maggots for the conjoined twins. I believe the phone rang, and someone must’ve asked what we were doing. I wonder what the caller thought when Rita said, "Ed is making maggots." Of course, people are starting to expect things like that from us. Do you want to hear another? I was making a prop for one of the customs, and accidentally glued my fingers to a piece of aluminum. I could not get it off. So I pulled. Needless to say, a part of me went along with that baby.
I have talked to some people who love working for themselves, but many others who would rather just have a 9-5 job with no stress. Do you like running your own business, being entrepreneurs, dealing with the stress, working 24/7 on your projects?
Rita: The company I worked at for 14 years closed our department, and I am unemployed for the first time. That was a high stress job. It definitely is stressful running your own business. There is much to worry about.....things you have to be doing that you may not have even known about. There is the matter of protection of your product. It is not easy at all. But the rewards are much greater. If I would still be working, I could not work on as many dolls. I am hoping that this new venture allows me to return to school, and finish the degree I have wanted for years.
Ed: Also, we seem to do nothing in our spare time but work on dolls, but since we do it together, it seems like recreation. It is just something we both love. Our hearts and souls go into each baby. (As well as other body parts.)
When I talked to you previously, you mentioned one of the toy/horror/comic trade shows that you were going to. Do you go to a lot of events to promote the Kiddies?
Ed: Monster Mania was the first horror convention we felt prepared to go to. We had more fun than we thought we would. The Kiddies were a hit, we met some great connections, as well as new fans, and did not want to come home. We almost sold out of babies!
There seems to be a certain group of the same people that attend a lot of the comic/horror shows. Do people seem to know about Krypt Kiddies (and the two of you) when you go to shows?
Rita: At this particular convention, we were surprised at how many people did NOT know about them. There were a few who mentioned that they saw our website, or saw a few posted on another horror doll board. All in all, I think we hit a whole new group. 150 of our business cards disappeared, besides the orders we received. I imagine we will see some of these people again. Several have asked if we would be at other conventions. We sure want to be there.
Is there a sense of competition with the other horror toy creators, or do most people seem to be excited/supportive about what you're doing?
Ed: We really don’t feel the need to compete, since our product is so unique. Other horror toy creators seem to really enjoy our dolls, since they are so different from anything out there.
How hard has it been to find distribution for the dolls?
Ed: The first company we approached, loved them immediately. The response was fantastic. Since then, we have found that there is a growing interest among others as well.
What do you think of your ebay experience? The Krypt Kiddies auctions I've seen seem to do pretty well. Would you recommend ebay to other independent artists?
Rita: Ebay has always been my favorite place to shop, so why not sell also? I highly recommend starting out there, as you will find immediately if there is interest in your work. It also helps to set a value on whatever project you have. I love to see people’s art, ebay is a great gallery. I have even seen children able to sell, and I believe that really helps the confidence level of someone just starting out.
Are you able to live off of the dolls yet, or are you still working at "day jobs"?
Ed: Well, I still have a day job, and I believe living off the dolls is far in the future.
Rita: I’d sure like to be able to stay in school till I get that much wanted degree.......
Who do you think had a bigger influence on the "evil doll" industry, Chucky or the Garbage Pail Kids?
Ed: I’d say Chucky because he was a very scary doll that actually murdered. If you can get people to buy that, then there is an open market for horror dolls. Although, I did enjoy the Garbage Pail Kids. They seem to lean more towards comical than horror.
What was the first horror movie you ever saw?
Ed: "Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark"
Are you big fans of horror movies? Do you watch a lot of them?
Ed: Tons, all the time.
Rita: We would rather watch horror than anything else. Our collection is quite large and growing.
What are five of your favorite horror movies of all time?
Rita: "Exorcist", "Black Christmas", "The Shining", "Carrie", "House on Haunted Hill" (old version)
Ed: "Exorcist", "Salem’s Lot", "Dawn of the Dead", "Return of the Living Dead", "Cannibal Holocaust"
"Cannibal Holocaust" vs. "Zombie Holocaust" - which one is best?
Rita and Ed: "Cannibal Holocaust", because it was one of the most disturbing movies either of us EVER saw....
Which do you find more disturbing in the film - the real animal killing scenes or the real-looking violence against people?
Rita: The real animal killing scenes were what got to me. I had no idea that I was going to see something like that. It was terrible, but I had to watch......like an accident scene.
Ed: As real as the gore against people looked, if you know something is fake, it will not affect you the same....except the "Exorcist". (nervous laugh)
How can people adopt/order their own Krypt Kiddies and where can they get them?
Rita: Anyone can order originals and customs at our website. We take orders anytime.
Ed: We hope to have our collector line in retail stores by the Spring of 2004. That is the plan, but we have heard horror stories about foreign factories, or getting stuck in customs.
Any final words, thoughts, or comments?
Rita: If we can, we would both like to thank a very special person, who helped us way beyond the call of duty. Without Robin Bartky of Everlasting Impressions, we would still be making one a month.
Ed: I also want to say that we will do our best for our customers. We will devote our time and efforts to bringing the most unique and freshest ideas to the market. We really hope we can scare the hell out of all horror fans!