The post is part of an occasional series called “Awesome Handmade Toys.” These posts feature toy makers whose work I think is particularly fresh and inventive. You can see previous posts in the series here. I also pin toys to my Inspiring Softies pinboard on a regular basis if you’re looking for more inspiration.
Most indie plush toy businesses start out as one person’s idea. One sewing machine, a big pile of fabric, and one girl (or guy) working very hard to turn an idea into something real. I’m always intrigued when I find an indie plush business that has taken a different route and been really successful.
I was first drawn to Monster Factory for the creativity and unique look of their toys, but after doing some further research I became curious about their business model, too. Curious enough to get in touch and see if I could learn more.
Monster Factory describes itself as a “character toy brand” making plush monsters that are collectible and all have a signature look and feel. Monster Factory toys are sewn from soft fleece, are firmly stuffed, and are easily recognizable due to particular characteristics like their eyes, colors, and basic shapes. Take a look:
Wilma, Royal, Pax and Wayne are Studio Edition monsters made by hand in Toronto by Monster Factory. They average 10″ tall and cost between $30-$40.
I love the shapes of these toys. Really, I love the seams. But I’m weird that way. I love a good seam on a softie. I encourage you to take a look at the full line of Monster Factory toys. They’re silly, imaginative, clever and cute. I’m super impressed.
Today I’m really pleased to bring you an audio interview I recorded with Rhya Tamasauskas, one of the three founders of Monster Factory.
Rhya Tamasauskas, Adam Dunn and Bliss Man are the founders of Monster Factory
In our 27 minute talk Rhya tells the story of how an art project evolved into a company, how that company has grown over time, and where they’re headed next.
You’ll hear about:
- How they cleverly employed interns to help the business be more productive.
- What roles the six employees at Monster Factory play. (They’re a plush business with a writer on staff!)
- Why a new series of Monster Factory mini toys will be manufactured overseas and how this move is allowing the business to flourish in entirely new ways.
Monster Factory now has over 100 toy designs. Each character is engaging, as is the story of this emerging toy business. I hope you enjoy the interview! Click the box below to start the interview or subscribe to the podcast for free in iTunes:
If you have any questions or comments about Monster Factory’s journey, please feel free to leave a comment and Rhya will respond to you! And if you’re in Toronto, swing by their studio! They’re open to the public Monday-Friday 10 am – 6 pm.