A 9-year-old Valley entrepreneur is on a mission to make the world a better place, by bringing comfort to kids needing surgery through her love of sewing.
She found her passion after going through her own difficult journey.
“This is my office,” said Charlotte Gould, founder of Stitches by Charlotte. “My nana brought out patterns, like how to curve and stuff,” she said. “She taught me how to sew.”
Charlotte sews and sells dolls, then gives the proceeds to Barrow Cleft & Craniofacial Center at St. Joe’s Hospital.
She sews each doll herself. “I sew it piece by piece,” she said.
Her dream is to create a line of surgery companion dolls for children undergoing surgery. She’s already made quite a few.
“Maybe 10 cleft dolls, one doll for a girl going through chemotherapy and one doll for a baby who was born with only half of her heart,” Charlotte said.
She does this because surgery can be scary. She would know.
“I was born with a cleft lip and palate, which means I was born with part of my upper lip missing,” Charlotte said.
Charlotte was also born without a palate and has already undergone several surgeries.
“One at 3 months old, one at 9 months old and two when I was four,” she said. “It really changed my life in a lot of ways.”
And she may need another one.
“I might have to have a bone graft,” Charlotte said.
“It is definitely emotional,” said Nicole Gould, Charlotte’s mom. “It makes me cry and it makes me smile. Sometimes it’s funny to look back and think the days that were our worst days, ended up being the best days of our life.”
Now Charlotte wants to help other kids smile through her sewing journey.
“This is what I’m meant to do,” she said.
In fact, Charlotte was just named as a finalist in the "Imagine If, With Jif" contest. The contest searched nationwide for young entrepreneurs making the world a better place.
“Charlotte is handling it pretty well,” her mom said. “She’s a hard worker.”
Each of the three finalists created an Indiegogo campaign.
“I just need $60 more to get $17,000,” Charlotte said.
She’s hoping she can get to $20,000 to go toward marketing, a website and improving her dolls’ packaging.
“It would just help me give back to the cause that made me smile,” she said. “I just hope my dolls give smiles.”
“We’re going to chase this dream as long as she wants to,” Charlotte’s mom added.
The campaign ends on Dec. 31 and Charlotte will find out if she wins in January.
If she becomes the grand prize winner, she’ll receive $20,000 from Jif to bring her idea to life. That’s in addition to $10,000 Jif added to her campaign when it first started.
Check out Charlotte’s campaign here.