Tag Archives: plushies

Peropero Sparkles plushies review

Say hello to Melo, Rue and Cune – the Peropero Sparkles!

Designed by Japanese illustrator Yurie Sekiya, the Peropero Sparkle plushies are surprisingly adorable and, dare we say, KAWAII plushies by the Clever Idiots. If you are a fan of the 80’s, Lisa Frank, Care Bears, Popples, and everything else cute from that era, then the Peropero Sparkles are for you!

Order your own Peropero Sparkle plushies from Amazon at this link here – https://amzn.to/2A7liXE

Check out more from the Clever Idiots at the official Kigurumi Shop website

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Squishmallows – Baby & Spring line Review

It’s time for our second Squishmallow Squish-strazaganza!

In this video, we revisit the Squishmallows by Kelley Toys, and take a look at two of their more recent lines, one for babies with a rattle inside, and the other with new Spring colors and animals! Is this the softest and cuddliest line of plush toys ever made? Quite possibly, and if you are already a member of the #SquishmallowSquad you already know how great these are. If you don’t, it’s time to make you a believer!

Sorry for being late with the Spring animals, that was our fault for a number of reasons that may be explained at a later date, along with some other notes.

If you liked these, why not get yourself a Squishmallow Alpaca? – https://amzn.to/2LxAEt2

Or how about an Owl (one of my favorites) – https://amzn.to/2Lfidu2

Purrhaps a Squishmallow kitty is more your style – https://amzn.to/2O4F7BY

Or one of my new favorites from the baby line, Emma the Elephant – https://amzn.to/2mBSJIg

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New Squishmallows at NY Toy Fair 2018

The squishiest and softest plushies made their NY Toy Fair debut, unveiling over 50 new plush toys for 2018. This includes new holiday Squishmallows for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Christmas, and Halloween, larger and smaller scale plushies, stackable squishmallows, and new animals, including a few highly requested critters.

For all of our NY Toy Fair 2018 video coverage, check out our huge playlist with over 50 videos – http://bit.ly/2CpzFHi

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Bliss Man talks creating cuddly creatures with “Monster Factory”

Who knews monsters could come out of Canada? Bliss Man did, several years ago when her and a group of friends based out of Toronto began making their own line of plush critters that has since brought them to a product line of over 100 unique characters that offer something for everyone – “Monster Factory”.

We first met Monster Factory mogul Bliss Man at New York Toy fair 2013, and saw her again at NY Comic Con later that year. Bliss will not be attending NYTF 2014 due to a prior engagement on that date, but we did get a chance to speak with her about what is new for this year for her company, as well as how things got started and how budding toy developers can get their feet in this industry!

NerdNewsToday: How did “Monster Factory” get started?

Bliss: Believe it or not, the Monster Factory started out as a video production company that Adam started when he was at film school. The logo for his company was a drawing of a monster. At the time, Rhya, who went to the same school, was experimenting with textile art. One day, she made a plush toy that happened to looked like his drawing, so naturally she gave it to him. Adam was inspired by her creation and decided to make some monsters of his own. Luckily for him, he had just started working with me, who was studying fashion design and had access to sewing machines. It turns out he had a special monster making talent. When Rhya and Adam realized they were both making monsters, they decided to join forces. After making a few prototypes, Adam and Rhya realized that they’d need help replicating their designs. They decided to ask me for help pattern making and together we developed a line of 6 monsters we called the Heartbreakers. Five months later, we launched our line of monsters into the world and the rest is history…as they say.

NerdNewsToday: How did you manage to take the company from your living room and into the retail world?

Bliss: When we first started we sold monsters at local art and craft shows in Toronto. It was a lot of fun because we got to see how people responded to the monsters. It was also a lot of work designing and sewing all the time. We couldn’t keep up, so after a year of working in our living room we got ourselves a small studio space and found interns to help us out. A few years later we found a factory in Toronto that could manufacture the toys for us, and that’s when we started to sell to retail stores.

NerdNewsToday: What were the challenges of starting a business in the toy industry?

Bliss: We had trouble finding a local manufacturer for our toys. There were plenty of garment factories, but none of them wanted to make toys. When we finally did find our factory it was great, but expensive to produce still. We needed to find another solution that would allow us to grow the brand and business. That’s when we decided we had to go overseas. Lucky for me, my dad lives in China so I was able to visit him while working with the factory!

NerdNewsToday: When you began, were you hand-making all of the items?

Bliss: Yes!

NerdNewsToday: Are you surprised that it has come along so much in the past decade since you started?

Bliss: Yes and no. I’m proud of what we’ve done, but there’s so much more we want to do!

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NerdNewsToday: What are the challenges of running a business with friends?

Bliss: Communication is key with any working relationship, but it can be even harder when working with friends. We’ve had to navigate each other’s personalities and adjust, but we’ve managed and in the end we always end up laughing together. I couldn’t have asked for better partners or friends. This experience has definitely made us a closer and stronger team.

NerdNewsToday: Tell us about some of your inspirations, both in the world of art and in the plush business?

Bliss: Each of us have different inspirations, but I love Miyaski films because they are fantastical and whimsical. I am also inspired by the people around me whose idiosyncrasies make me laugh.

NerdNewsToday: What is the story of the world these monsters live in?

Bliss: Monsters are just like you and me, so we imagine them living in a world similar to ours, but not quite. We’ve always wanted them to be relatable which is why people love them so much.

NerdNewsToday: What’s the most popular monster that you sell?

Bliss: Colin is the most popular by a landslide. His characteristics are, “He divides his time between playing video games and fretting about his future”. Sound familiar?

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NerdNewsToday: What are some of the new monsters planned for 2014?

Bliss: We have 3 new monsters that we’d like to release next year: Eli from the Wall Flowers series, Donny from the Buddy and Friends Series, and Clarence from the Captain Freedom series.

NerdNewsToday: Are there plans for an expansion beyond the plushies and into other markets?

Bliss: We are currently working on an app and are in the very early developmental stages of an animated television show.

NerdNewsToday: Any advice to budding toy makers out there looking to break into the industry?

Bliss: If you’re more of the creative type, find a business advisor or mentor at the beginning so that you can start planning where you want to be in, say 5 years. At the end of the day you need to make a buck to keep the business going. We tend to forget that little detail when we’re excited and we have this exciting idea, but you need to have a plan and someone who can help keep you on track.

NerdNewsToday: Who is your personal favorite character?

Bliss: Mr. Jefferson. I like that he’s so competitive and it usually gets the best of him.

You can check out more about the company or order some of their cute products from MonsterFactory.net!

“I Heart Guts” Creator Wendy Bryan on the insides of internal organ plushies

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To get ahead in the world of toys, it takes originality, determination, and guts. Wendy Bryan may have took those elements a bit too literal, as her plush company, “I Heart Guts“, is all about the innards. What started as a one-time gag grew into a flourishing business based solely around cartoonish internal organs with endearing faces and personalities.

We first met Wendy and her team at New York Toy Fair 2013, where we took a first-hand look at these adorable guts and saw many making their world debut at the show. Since then, we had a chance to get some one-on-one time with the originator of a very unique brand of plushies to talk to us about the origins of the company and it’s evolution, plans for the future, and some advice for budding toymakers.

NerdNewsToday: How did “I Heart Guts” get started?

Wendy: I Heart Guts was born in a bar. I am a compulsive doodler and first drew these organ characters when I was heartbroken and drunk drawing sad hearts on cocktail napkins. Years later, my husband spied the guts in my sketchbook and loved them, so I figured I’d do something with them. I designed a heart shirt, some buttons and stickers and stuck them up on a website almost as a joke. But soon requests for specific organs came in – pancreas for a diabetic friend, uterus for a pregnant friend, and so on.

Each organ was drawn and added by popular demand. One day, someone who’d received a real kidney wanted to “give back” a plush one to his donor brother and asked why we didn’t make toys? Once we figured out how to make plush organs, the business really took off.

NerdNewsToday: Are you surprised that it has come along so much in the past few years?

Wendy: It is something of a shock to me. I think the guts took on a life of their own because of the personal relationship people have with their own bodies. Everyone has a body, everyone is a walking bag of organs, so everyone is interested in body parts, especially if something goes wrong, or if they work on it, or study it. They say laughter is the best medicine, so I think our products are great for the type of person who can look in the face of illness and laugh.

NerdNewsToday: You attribute part of the launch of the company to your husband suggesting you “do something” with these characters. Is this essentially a family business?

Wendy: Absolutely. My wonderful husband, Codi Lazar, is the backbone of this business. I am the flaky creative type; he can deal with numbers, handle accounting, deal with legal issues, and secure loans, all the boring stuff you need to do to run a company. He has been the I Heart Guts operations manager on the side in addition to his work as a scientist, musician and DJ. But as of this year we are both working on the Guts full time. It’s scary but exciting. Wish us luck. A lot of our growth is due to our amazing distributors at DKE Toys, they wholesale our toys along with hundreds of other small independent toy brands to stores worldwide, mostly small quirky boutiques with a taste for the odd.

NerdNewsToday: When you began, were you hand-making the items?

Wendy: I handmade the original felt organs with help from my mom, who is an excellent seamstress. My husband and I dragged these around to different places and snapped silly photos of them in Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles just for fun. I never sold any handmade organs since my prototyping skills are not so good — the organs looked more like potatoes with arms than the organs I had drawn. When we got into mass-making the plush, I drew up specs and sent them out to actual plush manufacturers, who really brought the organs alive and made them look great.

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NerdNewsToday: What was the evolution of the product line, since the company not only does plush items but stationery, posters, and clothing.

Wendy: We started with button sets, sticker sets and shirts and added characters that way. We add characters and products by popular demand — people are always writing in to say, please make a trachea or please make a placenta. Certain body parts, like the rectum, no one asked for. But we thought it would be funny, and the shape is way cuter than the tube I thought it was, so we added it anyway.

Hopefully our organs can expand into some other areas. We recently collaborated with Tattly to make temporary tattoos and we worked with Chronicle Books for the journal and stationery. We do have a few more exciting collaborations up our sleeves, so stay tuned on our website!

NerdNewsToday: Tell us about some of your inspirations, both in the world of illustration and in the plush business?

Wendy: I am most inspired by Sanrio and San-X characters, Domo Kun, and kawaii Japanese stationery and illustration. Scandinavian design and illustration are also a huge inspiration for clean lines, bold shapes and great colors. I am inspired by Friends With You, Giant Microbes, Ugly Dolls, Particle Zoo, Noferin, Amanda Vissell, Gama-Go, Shawnimals, Jeremyville, and Pee & Poo.

NerdNewsToday: I read that you were always into making things that were simultaneously cute and a bit on the gross side. What were some of the things you had made?

Wendy: One year I laminated slices of head-cheese and sent them out as valentines to all my friends and family. I once made a fetus out of bread dough, baked it and covered it with hair and jam for an experimental art class. It was pretty gross. I wish I had a photo of it, but my fabulous art professor took a giant bite out of its head. I also made a cookie cutter in the shape of the mudflap truck girl and set hundreds of these cookies on fire with a blowtorch. I guess I got my start in plush when I was thirteen and my best friends asked me to make a planet puppet for a presentation about Uranus.

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NerdNewsToday: What were the challenges of starting a business in the toy industry?

Wendy: We learned by making a ton of mistakes. We never set out to be a toy business, and I still don’t really know how well we fit into the traditional toy industry. Most stores that carry the Guts are small funky boutiques and quirky science museums or medical student bookstores, not so much toy stores. Let’s be real – even my own kids would pick out Spiderman or Hello Kitty over a plush lung. We had a booth at Toy Fair for the first time this year, so it took us six years after making our first plush to feel ready to exhibit there.

NerdNewsToday: What’s the most popular character/ organ that you sell?

Wendy: The heart outsells all other organs four to one. You know, love and all that. Some organs turned out to be far more popular than we would have expected. For instance, our second round of plush included the brain, uterus, pancreas and gallbladder. We figured that the gallbladder would be the worst-selling of the bunch, but it turns out there are a half-million cholecystectomies every year! Since you can live without this little bile sac, and the surgery is pretty easy, so folks have a sense of humor about it. The gallbladder is pretty popular.

NerdNewsToday: What are some of the new organs planned for 2013?

Wendy: We just added tooth, eyeball and heart of gold plushes and hope to add lymph node and skin later this year.

NerdNewsToday: What happens when you run out of organs to make plushies from? Or is the plan to use the characters you already have in different ways?

Wendy: We still have a long way to go and new requests come in all the time. Recent requests include the amygdala (part of the brain), diaphragm, and larynx. We’ve had a ton of requests for the adrenal and thymus to be made into plush lately; this immunology lab in Japan studies T-cells, they buy a ton of thymus pins every year and we really want to make the plush just for them. I never thought the glands would be interesting-looking — in my mind they were all just little balloons, but once I really looked, I was amazed by how distinctive their shapes were and also how specialized their functions. But, you’re right, the body is ultimately a finite source for inspiration, so I’m sure we will find new ways to use these characters.

NerdNewsToday: Any advice to budding toymakers out there looking to break into the industry?

Wendy: Number one, start small and cheap. Number two, have a lot of ideas. Three, make your idea original. Four, don’t give up if your first idea doesn’t take off. Five, build your audience. Six, protect your idea. Seven, scrape together money. For more in-depth advice on how to make your own custom plush toys, based on my own personal experience and a few Comic Con panels I moderated on the subject with indie toy world luminaries, read this post on my blog.

NerdNewsToday: Who is your personal favorite organ?

Wendy: It’s impossible for me to choose! I guess if you put my back to the wall I would say the uterus, since it’s where we all got our start. Oh, but I love the heart, too. I can’t pick. Don’t make me pick!

Check out the full inventory of “I Heart Guts” plushies, t-shirts, posters, stationery and more on their official website!

New York Toy Fair 2013: New Uglydoll and Boo the Dog from “Gund”

“Gund” brought the cuteness to NY Toy Fair 2013, with a ton of new items from all of their licenses.

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The big news for Gund this year was their line for Boo the dog AKA The World’s Cutest Dog. This Pomeranian with a signature haircut will be coming out in a variety of sizes in 2013, as well as a ton of different outfits.

Uglydolls were also in tow, with a bunch of brand new monsters and new outfits for previous releases. New two-packs will include a large uglydoll with a tiny one for the bigger one to cuddle with in his arms. Outside of their variety of Uglydolls, Gund also has more classic animals in their signature style in different sizes, including tiny ones perfect for gift bags for kids and adults.

More seasonal themed stuffed animals will also be released throughout the year, including Halloween, Easter, and Christmas plushies. New artsy animals with patchy coats in complex designs will be made for the more sophisticated collector. For the boys market, Gund is releasing a new line of dragons and ninjas, because what boy does not love dragons and ninjas! One of the surprises this year was the start of their line of zombie plushes and pierced & tattooed stuffed bears, which you can see in Gund’s photo gallery below!

New York Toy Fair 2013: “Monster Factory” Booth

Started in 2003 by three friends from Toronto, Canada, “Monster Factory” line of plushies that started out as a simple fun project for the trio, and turned into a huge business.

Since their creation, the little monsters have appeared in “Rolling Stone” and “People” magazine, and have made appearance on TV’s “Ugly Betty” and “Ramona and Beezus”. Bliss Man, one of the original founders, was at NY Toy Fair 2013 with her line of cuddly little monsters that fit in the palm of your hands.

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Each of the dozen characters have their own unique back story to fit the personality of anyone. The monsters include Booh, Todd, Doyle, Jack, Victor, Pax, Clementine, Colin, Irene, Lois, Kyle, and Bliss’ personal favorite seen above with her, Buddy. These cuties were one of my favorite plushies this year, and are just one part of a very large plush empire that Monster Factory is involved in.

Check out the gallery below for more photos from Monster Factory!

For more info on Monster Factory and their many other plushies, check out their official website!

New York Toy Fair 2013: “I Heart Guts” makes plushies of internal organs

Created by Wendy Bryan in 2005, “I Heart Guts” has been family owned and operated from day one. Coming in from Washington DC for NY Toy Fair 2013, Bryan brought along her second family, the plushies of internal organs that have made her company so popular.

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The company started as a gag, as Bryan (who has a background in illustration) made a card for a sick friend using one of her whimsical takes on an internal organ. The reaction she got from friends was so positive that she began to pursue it into something bigger, and now eight years later, the plushies have grown to a big online business, as well as for brick and mortar stores.

Fans of “I Heart Guts” are not limited merely to the cute plushes of all organs like hearts, stomachs, intestines, hearts, lungs, and even the odder ones like testicles and prostates, but can also get posters, pins, temporary tattoos, shirts and even stationary. This was one of my favorite booths at NY Toy Fair 2013 and is a company we are going to start following more closely (especially because where else can I hold a mammary gland in my hand and not get in trouble for it).

Check out the gallery below for more pics of all of the plushies!

Check out more from “I Heart Guts” on their official website.

New York Toy Fair 2013: Nintendo plushies at “Little Buddy” booth

“Little Buddy” was at New York Toy Fair 2013 at the Javits Center with tons of their soft and squeezable friends along with them. The company produces amazing looking Nintendo licensed plushies of all of your favorite characters from across the retro and modern gaming horizon.

The amount of characters in staggering, as you can see in our gallery. Plushies available include Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Goombas, Boo, Drybones, Red and Green turtles, and just about every other villain in the game. Some plushes come in three different sizes, including Mario, Luigi, Boo, Bowser, and others. There were also characters from Pikmin and Legend of Zelda (although at this time, they only have Link).

Check out the gallery below for tons of images of the booth!

You can check out more from Little Buddy on their website at this link here.