Dolls, Dollars, and Dreams: The Story of Lil’ Bernie

Here at Liberal America, there are a number of us that support different candidates (or no candidate at all). However, I have personally made it no secret (and neither have some other writers) that we are feeling the #bern.

Through the time suck that is Instagram, I stumbled upon the best Christmas present I could ever ask for: The Lil’ Bernie Doll.

Yes, you read that right. A doll of Bernie Sanders. Check out the happy customers below:


I immediately contacted the creator of this brilliance, and found out that there is an even more compelling story behind her creation.

Meet Emily Engel, an entrepreneur who was already working hard at her business called BX Custom Sewn. She created custom projects for people through her website and Etsy page. Then she came up with the idea of the Lil’ Bernie doll.

When asked what inspired her, Engel said, “I love how people have something tangible to relate to the campaign, other than a t-shirt or a bumper sticker.


Well, obviously, being the greatest doll ever, Lil’ Bernie blew up and, unfortunately, Engel was forced to put her other business on hold. As she creates each one by hand, the time required to ensure perfection is extensive. Despite having the chance to have some large (work and money-wise) orders through her original business, the passion of the Lil’ Bernie fans has made Engel want to continue creating them. Originally, she was charging $80 and donating a portion to the campaign, but with the clear success of the doll, Engel maxed out her personal donation limit of $2,700.

A petition and effort was started to get Lil’ Bernie into the official Bernie Sanders campaign store. The problem that arose was finding a unionized US based manufacturer, which is a requirement of any item sold in the Bernie store.  Even a conversation between Engel and Carina Driscoll (Bernie’s stepdaughter), failed to lead to either help finding such a company or getting into the store.

Engel could outsource to China for the manufacturing process, and therefore increase productivity and make a pretty penny, but she refuses to compromise her ethics to do so (which is awesome).

A GoFundMe page has been set up for this creation as well, to help Engel purchase a doll-stuffing machine (who know such things existed?) to expedite the process. If you don’t want to own a Bernie doll yourself, you should absolutely donate to this campaign!

So here’s the information I am sure you have been waiting for: How can you get your hands on your own Lil’ Bernie?

Well, you are in luck! Engel is reopening sales at 12:01AM EST on December 26th for a limited run of 200 dolls. You can buy them by going to

As she has maxed out her personal donation, the dolls are selling for $57, which includes shipping. And, of course, making your own donation is always encouraged!

So if you want to support a small business, support Bernie, and support the belief that those who dream big can accomplish their goals, then you absolutely need to get in on the next run of Lil’ Bernie dolls!


Images via Emily Engel. Used with her written permission.