Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Open Letter to USPS and its valued customers

As the holidays grow near, I am finding myself at the local post office, waiting in line with a large Santa-like sac full of packages to be shipped to various parts of the country (and the world) on a daily basis. As a small business owner running my own plush toy company during the holidays, this is a routine that has grown all too familiar to me over the course of the last 4 years.

I'm a regular at the post office. I'm there nearly once or twice a week all year long and make a daily schlep during the months of November and December. All of the workers at the post office know me by name and they recognize my packages as they come through with my quirky bunny drawing on each of them. Their faces light up when they see I'm next in line. A friendly face! A smile! I think I brighten their days and they brighten mine.

With all of that being said, it's disconcerting to stand in line with my fellow small-towners during the holiday season and to hear them complain incessantly about the long lines, the customer service, the lack of stamps, the lack of employees, etc, etc. People so impatient that they can't even wait 20 minutes or less to ship their dearest niece or nephew that brand new shiny toy so that he or she may open it on Christmas morning. What have we come to as a society when during the time of year that we're supposed to be bringing joy and cheer to everyone around us, all anyone can do is complain, impatiently check their watches, and threaten to never use USPS again?

Anybody who knows me in person or even online, for that matter, knows that I've never been one for confrontation. I make monsters for a living for crying out loud! How angry can I get, right? But recently I have been on the verge of standing up on a makeshift pedestal, monster in hand, in the middle of the long line at the post office (somewhat reminiscent of one of Charlie Brown's notorious monologues) and proclaiming my utmost gratitude to the USPS and most importantly the workers who have (probably unknowingly) helped me to grow my business to what it is today. As a regular customer I can honestly and without a doubt say that the USPS has never lost one of my packages in the hundreds, dare I say thousands, that I have shipped over the years. In fact, I've thought about moving many times but cringed at the thought about having to leave MY post office and MY postal worker friends. I can't believe the disrespect I have encountered this holiday season from customers to their postal workers. Treating them as if they make the rules, they're robots, or they're single-handedly out to make sure YOUR package does not arrive safely and on time. Forget the fact that they may even be humans with real feelings and emotions, have families to feed, mortgages to pay, elderly parents to take care of and so on. They're people just like you and I trying to do their job to the best of their ability and thankful every day that they even have a job in this economy. (Cue Charlie Brown music) Have people completely forgotten what the holidays are all about? Is it possible that people just don't know how to be human anymore?

With the threat of lots of changes looming over the US Postal Service, I ask you to remember small businesses like mine who depend on the USPS to get your furry little orders to you in a timely manner. Remember that the USPS, as frustrating as it may be to you at times, keeps so many small businesses alive and growing. So next time you threaten your postal worker with never coming back to USPS and taking "your business" elsewhere, remember me, my little pedestal, monster in hand, and the slow Charlie Brown music, proclaiming thanks to the USPS and its workers who make my days just a little brighter. And as the holidays grow nearer and the lines get longer, please remember that they're humans just like you and I, their job isn't easy, and a smile on your face will most definitely bring a smile to theirs.

So thank you Haddonfield, NJ Post Office and all postal workers around the country for helping me to deliver so many gifts to delighted customers all year long.

Warm, fuzzy wishes for a safe and happy holiday season to all!

Sincerely yours,
Your Friendly Neighborhood Monster Maker

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Cutesy but not Cutesy for the Holidays!

If you're wondering if you're ever going to get to see the monsters in person or if you've already met them and wondering when you can see them again, we've got a few opportunities for you!

1.) Philadelphia: We're super excited to announce that we'll have some very special monsters in a brand new pop-up shop in the Philadelphia Museum of Art! Set up by local Philly artist, Alexander Stadler, as an opportunity to showcase local Philadelphia designers, P.POD (Philadelphia Produces Original Design) is a pop-up shop taking over 300sq ft. of the Philadelphia Art Museums main museum shop. The shop will have an opening party on Nov. 11th starting at 5pm and will run all the way through until Dec 25th! So if you're in the Philly area, go and check out some amazing local designers in this unique opportunity.

Here are some brand new exclusive pieces we did for the museum...
"My Tiny Paper Crane" Series #1 and #2

2.) Pittsburgh: If you're in the Pittsburgh area we'll be headed to Handmade Arcade on Nov. 12th! The show runs from 11-7pm, but get there early to make sure things don't sell out!

3.) Houston: Houston! We shipped some hoodies out to SPACE, an exhibition style retail space. So if you're in Houston and want to snatch up some tiny hoodies for the winter, go check it out!

4.) Philadelphia: We're unbearably excited to be a part of the first ever Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar! We've waited quite some time for a good chance to sell locally for the holidays and here it is, Philly! The show is at the 23rd Street Armory (between Market and Chestnut streets) and will have a preview party on Friday Nov 18th from 6-9pm and will be open Sat. and Sun. the 19th and 20th from 11-6pm. Philly, we want to see you for the holidays!

5.) Fargo: We're super excited to be a part of the Unglued Craft Fest in Fargo, ND! Unglued is a unique pop-up shop in downtown Fargo running from Black Friday through Christmas Eve. We met the organizers of this event in Chicago for Renegade and couldn't resist the urge to send the monsters on an adventure to Fargo! Go check it out if you're in the area!

6.) Baltimore: Next up is Bazaart at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore. This will be out second year at this show and we absolutely love it! Great people wandering about in a great relaxed setting. The show starts with a preview party on Nov 25th at 5:30pm and runs Saturday the 26th from 10-5pm. So avoid the malls on Black Friday and come play with us!

7.) Baltimore: We're returning to Holiday Heap this year at St. John's Church in Baltimore on Dec. 3rd. Another one of our very favorite shows!

8.) San Francisco: Last but not least we'll be making our last trip of the season back out to San Francisco for Renegade Craft Fair San Francisco. We had so much fun last year at our last show of the season so if you need any last minute gifts we'll be there Dec. 17th and 18th from 11-6! We're also secretly hoping for another visit to Sightglass Coffee with whom we completely fell in love with last year after just stumbling upon them! Can't wait to see you again, San Francisco!

Here's a picture from last year's Renegade SF with fellow Plush artist APlushPlush.

If you can't make it out to any of these shows, you can always visit us online and contact us for a custom order. Please order early to be sure it will arrive on time, as we have a very packed schedule as you can see!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chicago, Crafty Bastards, and London, Oh My!

Now for a long overdue update from the Monsterworld! We've been traveling all over the place having a great time meeting new people. We road-tripped out to Chicago for our second Renegade Craft Fair Chicago. We had such a blast! Chicago is filled with tons of monster lovers and friendly faces. I also got to meet some fellow Plushteamers and to go to the Threadless meet-up with my good friends Alvaro and John from Fuzzy Ink. We had a great time hanging out with the Threadless crew and I finally got a tour of the new Threadless Headquarters.

Me in the new Threadless Headquarters (photo courtesy of Randy Aquilizan)

We love Chicago and can't wait for our next excuse to go back!

After Chicago came Crafty Bastards, in D.C., quite possibly one of our favorite shows of the year. Despite the construction around the venue and the slightly unexpected continuous rain, it was one of the best Crafty Bastards yet! The people of D.C. show us so much love and have such a great energy about art and creativity. The organizers of CB also work so hard and do an incredible job at it! Here is a video we made for the Craftiest Bastard of 2011 contest...

Next up and most exciting for us, was our very first trip overseas with the monster gang! Myself, the monsters, and the Fuzzy Ink duo packed up our bags and headed to London for the first EVER Renegade Craft Fair London. We love the Renegade shows more than anything so decided to follow them over the pond, because... why not? What an incredible adventure! The show was on the second floor of the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane in East London. It was so much fun meeting so many new vendors from all over Europe! I finally had the amazing honor of meeting fellow plush artist Ninon from Berlin, who's work I've coveted for quite some time. She's as lovely as can be and her work is even more beautiful in person! I also met Jess Quin from Bristol, whose work I also love. I also met the amazing man behind Mr. X Stitch, Jamie. We chatted a bit about art and craft in London and he gave me a few laughs. I had met his counterpart Bridget, a.k.a Beefranck last year in Chicago. And last but not least I met the incredible fellow Plush Teamer, Sian, of Siansburys. I've only ever known her online and in forums so it was so amazing to travel so far and to see someone I 'kind of' knew! Here we are...

After the show we had a few good days in London to be tourists and we had a blast running around on the Tube trying to see as much as possible!

Taking the monsters to London had to be one of the most stressful yet rewarding adventures we've had thus far and we're so happy and have had such an awesome opportunity! The monsters really are taking us all over the globe, those little jet-setters!

Now we're gearing up for some holiday adventures so stay-tuned for and update on all the chances to see the monsters live and in the fur before the holidays are over!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Renegade Brooklyn and travel updates from the monster world

It's been a while since an update from us because we've been busy traveling the country yet again for another monster-filled season of craft shows. Handmade Arcade was the first show of the season and the people of Pittsburgh welcomed us with huge open arms. Next up was a trip back to SOWA in Boston closely followed by one of our very favorites in our home town of Philadelphia, Art Star Craft Bazaar. Philadelphia showed us some serious love but this customer was by far the best.

Then my good friends over at Fuzzy Ink and I hopped in the Fuzzy Ink van and drove out to Austin for Renegade Austin. It was my first time out in Austin and I fell in love. What a great city!

And most recently, this past weekend, was our third year back in Brooklyn for Renegade Brooklyn. It being one of the closer shows to home that we do, it was a weekend filled with incredible friends and fans who came out to both help and hang out. It was truly one of the best shows and weekends ever. If only every show could surround me with the things and people I love the most.

It's always so amazing to meet fellow plush artists who I only really know from online. This time I got to meet Megan Barbour of Green Elevator fame. How adorable is she???

And because of all the amazing friends who came out, it was one of the first shows we really got to test out the new mascot head for a long period of time. It made an appearance in Philly at Art Star but the rain limited its face time. The weather was mostly kind to us in Brooklyn and the mascot was really able to romp around as it's meant to do. The response was incredible and below is only a snippet of the amazing memories it created.

I feel like an incredibly lucky monster maker to know and to have met so many incredible people throughout my travels thus far. Thank you to everyone we've met this year and we look forward to seeing and meeting so many more people in the weeks to come!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kickin' Back - Design for Leisure at the Philadelphia Art Alliance

The other day I finally has the opportunity to visit the show Kickin' Back - Design for Leisure at the Philadelphia Art Alliance in Rittenhouse Square where Cutesy but not Cutesy was amongst some of the finest designers in the Philadelphia area. It's so nice to be in such good company in our very own home city!

Fabric Horse makes some of the most awesome bags we've seen throughout our travels and they're based right here in Philly! We've run into them a couple of times at various craft shows but finally met them out in San Francisco for the Renegade Holiday Show. We laughed at the irony of both being from Philadelphia and finally meeting on the west coast!

These wooden toys also caught our eye by Holgate Toys based out of Pennsylvania. They've been in business since 1789 which is incredibly mind-blowing. It's hard for me to resist any vintage looking toys these days and I just fell in love with these instantly. It took me a while to wrap my brain around sharing a gallery space with a company that has been around that long!

And here's a peek at the monster display! They had the wall directly across from the entrance and staircase so their bright colors were immediate eye-catchers!

Thanks, Philadelphia, for inviting us to take part in yet another amazing show!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Adventures around the globe

For as long as I can remember I've always wanted to travel the world. It's always been a dream of mine to travel to every state in the country and slowly but surely I'm marking them off of the list. Cutesy but not Cutesy has taken me to states across the country I'd never thought I'd have the chance to go to. Whether it be just traveling through as a weary driver or for a few days stay for a craft show, meeting new people and seeing new places are what keep me and my business going. One of the many reasons I had for starting the company was to have the opportunity to have small pieces of me travel all around the globe to places I may never have the chance to visit myself. The monsters are extensions of myself that get to go on small adventures of their own and tell their own stories to people I may never meet. I can assure you all that my adventures with the monsters are not slowing down any time soon with a few new states to mark off the list already coming up in the near future. We like traveling, we like meeting new people, and seeing new places and nothing can keep us from following our curious minds and passionate hearts.

With all of that being said, I started to grow a little jealous of the monsters' international adventures without me, so this time it was my turn. The monsters helped me pack my bags and sent me on my way on an adventure of my very own. One of the amazing things about working so hard during the year making monsters is being able to send myself on an incredible vacation knowing that all of my hard work really has paid off. I recently returned from a whirlwind trip from Costa Rica! As far as I know, none of my monsters live there or have ever been there but at least I was able to go and see it for myself. It was a warm break from the cold weather here in the Northeast and a much needed relaxing trip before the Spring/Summer busy season starts up again. I've had the amazing opportunity of traveling all around the world but Central America is somewhere that I have never been. It was absolutely beautiful and just what the doctor(s) probably would have ordered had I told anyone I was going. It was a bit of a last minute trip and I don't think we even had our plane tickets until only 48 hours before we were supposed to fly out of the country, but well worth the last minute planning stress.

Now, as we recharge here in the monster warehouse for some more monster making madness to come, here are some pictures from my adventures in Costa Rica! Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A furry snowy Boston weekend

As mentioned in one of the recent blog posts, Cutesy but not Cutesy was due for an adventure out to Milwaukee, WI this past weekend for the opening of the Plush Team's first group gallery show at Hot*Pop Shop Gallery and Boutique called CANDYLAND. Unfortunately, due to some unexpected (somewhat expected) weather in Boston, our flight was canceled and we couldn't book a new flight out to Milwaukee in time for the opening. We desperately tried to find a way out to the mid-west, mid-snowstorm and then diverted our minds to possibly flying someplace warm with our already-paid-for tickets in order to salvage what remained of the weekend. Despite having missed the ultimate mid-west adventure and meeting and hanging out with some of the best plush designers around in -6 degree weather, we managed to kick it in Boston in style and made the most of the weekend we had dealt to us. Below are some pictures posted from some of the people who were able to make it out for the show.

Rest assured, Milwaukee, we will see you some day.

We've also received word that the Get Stuffed show in Cleveland, OH that was up just before the holidays at the SPACES Gallery will remain up until April 1st with some new and updated pieces from some of the artists. They've also sent along some photos from the first hanging.

We're looking forward to heading over to Philly to check out the opening of the Philadelphia Art Alliance's Kickin' Back: Design for Leisure Show opening Thursday Jan 27th. Hopefully more pictures to follow!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Crazy Toys - A French Publication

I'm super excited to announce Cutesy but not Cutesy's first international publication in a hardcover book! The book is called "Crazy Toys: Les artistes créent des doudous" and is published by one of the oldest publishing companies in the world, Aubanel Publishing as part of La Martiniere. The book is a compilation of the work from plush artists all over the world with various photographs and pages for each artist. Below are some photos of Cutesy but not Cutesy's pages in the book!

The book is available for purchase on the French Amazon site or directly from Aubanel.

Being published in a book was definitely one of the biggest long term goals for Cutesy but not Cutesy and so it's extra exciting that it has happened so soon! Now it's time to mark some other things off the list!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Starting off 2011 with a bang!

There's been a severe lack of posts here and news updates since the holiday rush of 2010 began and we really apologize for that. Caravans of monsters were making their way all up and down the east coast and even a plane-full made the journey out to San Francisco this year for the last show of the season! While the journey was exhausting, every last mile was more than worth it to meet our customers in person and to see the smiles the furrybeasts bring to people's faces all around the country.

We've been taking a bit of breathing time to recover from the non-stop traveling but we're slowly coming out of hibernation and hitting the ground running with some new exciting projects for 2011! Cutesy but not Cutesy already has two gallery shows lined up for January. The first is in Milwaukee, WI for the Etsy Plush Street Team's first ever group show CANDYLAND at Hot*Pop Art and Design Boutique. The grand opening is January 21st and many of the Plush Team members will be making an appearance, including Cutesy but not Cutesy! It's so exciting to be able to make the trip out there to see Milwaukee for the first time and to meet some of the Plush Team members I've never met before! Here is a sneak peek at the monsters that will be making an appearance at Hot*Pop.

Ice Cream Monster

Chocolate Monster Tartufo w/ White Chocolate

Chocolate Monster Tartufo w/ Dark Chocolate

The second show Cutesy but not Cutesy has been invited to participate in is Philadelphia Art Alliance's Kickin' Back: Design for Leisure show. This is a juried and invitational show showcasing the work of designers and architects from around the Philadelphia region and their interpretations of leisure in contemporary states of rest and play. We're honored to be amongst so many talented Philadelphia designers in this show opening Thursday January 27th to the public. We'll post pictures just as soon as we see the monsters in their new temporary home at the Philly Art Alliance!

Finally, we'd like to thank all of our friends, fans, and loyal customers for making 2010 the best year yet for the monsters and I. We're hoping it only gets better from here with the new ideas and projects we have in mind and can't wait to have all of you along for the ride!

2011, we welcome you with open arms (and furry paws)!