My Little Oogabooga
Describe what you sell. Quirky plush toys such as monsters, robots, ninjas and some humans
What is your real life like? I live with my partner of six years in a tiny one bedroom flat. I trained for 5 years as a set/costume designer for theatre and film. Due to a shortage of employment in my field I work in visual merchandising. My Little Ooogabooga was born out of boredom and a need for a creative outlet between jobs. My real dream was to be a production designer/concept artist for film, animation and video games. I love art, theatre, film, fashion, photography, video games, fibre arts & plushies. Music, animation, literature. History, mythology, and good stories. Culture and travel. Vintage and antique furniture/clothes/anything!!- but MUST be authentic. I treasure my 50's Norman Hartnell ball gown. I love playing pool although have become quite rusty.
What is your process?
I free hand draw up a squiggle on a piece of paper, cut it out and use it as a rough guide - they often change shape as I cut out the shapes. Quite often I just see where my scissors take me, and my mood affects how they turn out, whether they will be cheeky or sweet or even grumpy. I love to see the construction in an object and have a bold, chunky feel to it, so my toys are not meant to be 'perfect' or precisely measured with hidden seams however they are well sewn and very detailed. I spend hours on each one, cutting out bits of felt and fabrics and trying this button and that button. The only tools I use are my favorite little scissors and a needle, measuring tapes only come out for listing on Etsy. My toys are never the same, they may have similiar shapes however I would get terribly bored making identical toys. I try to only use natural materials, the one exception being the buttons. I only use pure wool felt, acrylic felt is scratchy and unsuitable for cuddles. The fabrics I use are cotton, usually quilting fabrics because I need quite small patterns. I'm sure the ladies in my local fabric shop groan when I come in because I usually buy 15 centimetre strips of 50 different fabrics in one go. I apologise profusely. I don't give them a name or create stories for them because I believe that is your job and feel quite passionate about this. I trust that the customer will call them something that is right and sentimental for you. I love to hear back from my customers what they have called them!
Business Goals and Vision...
This is a question I think about constantly. I would love to grow my business so that I could quit my day job which I hate, but at this stage it is not viable. I doubt it could ever be viable unfortunately, as each toy takes me up to eight hours and I could never justify charging more to make it worthwhile. There are only so many toys I can make outside a full time job, forcing me to be very selective about any reselling offers. I generally don't wholesale as it takes me away from Etsy for too long, and I struggle to get any high levels of stock as it is. At the moment I can only really handle Etsy. People often ask me why I don't take them to China but there are several reasons why I won't do that. Firstly, I believe it's the hand made nature, care and heart I put into them that make them what they are. Secondly I'm a firm believer in the fair trade concept, I couldn't live with myself knowing human beings were been treated unfairly to make my toys. It is a fantastic hobbie that I couldn't live without now, and I make more for the love and therapy of it for myself rather than for the money. In saying that it has made life a little easier to have some extra cash around. So until cloning comes into our daily lives I'll be plugging along the same road.
How do you market your business? I don't really. Marketing is my downfall, I'm absolutely terrible at self promotion. My idea of marketing is to leave a business card on the bus or in the serviette holder at a cafe. I have been so lucky with people approaching me to feature me on their blogs, and am grateful anyone finds me at all!
What inspires you?
I love putting fabrics and chunks of colours together, that really excites me. The brighter the better. My materials guide me, and noting is more exciting than a fresh piece of bold coloured felt and all the possibilities that my collection of fabrics and threads offer. I adore pop art, artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Strong iconic imagery inspires me dating back to the 50's. Anime and illustration inspire me, etsy artists like Ashleyg. Film directors Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez and Peter Jackson.
What are two of your favorite things from your shop?
I was pretty happy with my first Sumos (PICTURED), and I also like this robot (also pictured)
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