“Pocket Angels bring a tangible aspect to our faith for children longing to see and hug our Lord when they are in need of protection, love, and comfort.”
What happens when the rosary and the Tooth Fairy meet? Something wonderful, says Brianna Gilmore, the founder of Pocket Angels.
I caught up with Brianna, a mother of four who lives in Portland, Oregon, to find out more about her hand-sewn angels and her growing business.
GRESS: How did you start making Pocket Angels?
GILMORE: The beginning of Pocket Angel Company was no coincidence or mistake. I truly believe it was divinely inspired.
One night a few years back our son Keaton was terrified to go to sleep. We tried everything and nothing was calming him down. I began to tell our boys that when I was little, my mom taught me to put my rosary under my pillow so that if I got scared, I could hold on to it and pray.
Immediately our oldest, Grady ran to his treasure box, pulled out his rosary for his little brother and grabbed his felt tooth fairy pillow to place the rosary inside it’s pocket. That night inspired our family to create the Pocket Angel.
GRESS: What kind of background did you have? How did you know how to sew?
GILMORE: Before my life as a mother and now doll maker, I was a third grade teacher. I loved teaching and discovered during my time as a teacher that not only did I have a passion for children, I also had a love of creating.
My mother is a talented seamstress and once had a business sewing velour jogging suits way before Juicy Couture was even a thing. She gave me my first sewing kit for Christmas when I was around nine and taught me the basics.
Until that night trying to get Keaton to sleep, I did not know how to sew anything besides maybe a pillow. It was as if the exact visual of the doll and the resources to figure out how to make them was placed on my heart that night.
GRESS: What has the reaction been to these special dolls, especially when you explain the rosary part?
GILMORE: I am still so in awe that a single person has purchased these dolls, especially the first batch I put out there into the world!
I prayed and knew the vision God had given me was not just for my children and my family, it was for any child in need of comfort. Our world seems to be so filled with unsettling anxiety.
Our Pocket Angels bring a tangible aspect to our faith for children longing to see and hug our Lord when they are in need of protection, love, and comfort.
For those who use these dolls as a special spot for their rosaries, an opportunity is given for parents to explain the powerful weapon that the rosary is. For my children, hugging their angels with their rosary snuggled close to their hearts has truly made them feel a sense of peace.
GRESS: Do you have any stories you want to share that you have heard about the children that have received your dolls?
GILMORE: I do not have one story that stands out among the rest but I have loved hearing all the special things these dolls have been purchased for. They have been there for new life, adoptions, baptisms, hospitalizations, in times of loss and in times of celebration. They truly have been there for many of life’s huge moments but also for all the small ones in between.
GRESS: Do you have any plans to expand, or is your company’s size a good fit for your family right now?
GILMORE: I have so many dreams for this business but there’s also the reality of my four small children that I am blessed to make my full time job.
Each doll takes around 4-5 hours from start to finish so my lack of time is a huge hurdle in growing my business. I have tried to give this up but every time I try, someone reaches out to see about ordering an angel. I take that as my sign that I am still supposed to make them. Truly, I am the best version of myself when creating and using the gifts God has given me to bring beauty and joy to others.
I have also started making Keepsake Angels, They are special order that can be made from a favorite baby blanket, christening gown, baby clothes, grandma's favorite hanky, or any other fabric that holds sentimental value.
My ultimate dream, if it is God’s will, would be to have an ability to sew more angels so that for every angel purchased, one would be donated for children in hospitals. I have always had a huge heart for children and families that are navigating childhood cancer and other chronic illnesses. That is what I believe I am called to do, I am just learning to be patient while God and Our Lady make it happen.
GRESS: How can people get Pocket Angels?
GILMORE: You can check out our website Pocket Angel Company and see what we have in stock or place a custom order. The best way to see what is going on with our business and when we have new angels in stock is to follow us on Instagram at Pocketangelcompany.