Happy Valentine's Day people!
It's totally appropriate that today's Shop Small Saturday Showcase is brought to you by the adorable duo of Danielle and Jason Strong on this holiday! Not only are they co-creators of the adorable Squshies, which marries their love of animals, cartoons, squares, and plushies, they are married to each other. In fact, check out the photo below of their wedding... at the San Diego Zoo!
Not only is their story adorable, their creations are too! From adorable sheep to hilarious narwhals and a few mythical creatures in the mix, their shop is so fun to scroll through, especially to find out the cute names they give to each Squshie.
Read on for my interview with the two of them and then make sure to tune in at the end of the post to win your very own Squshie. Enjoy!
Tell me a little bit about yourself!
Hi, I'm am Danielle, and with my husband Jason, we are the team behind the Squshies.
I've always been a huge animal lover, obsessed with cartoons and have had a desire to do something creative with my life. I studied graphic design and animation in school. Jason has also always been a big fan of cartoons and wants to make all the things. He also studied animation in school as well as a variety of art classes. We actually met through an animation school we both attended.
This is our first venture into the world of handmade and it has been super challenging but unbelievably fun and rewarding.
Where did the name of your store come from?
The Squshies started out very square in shape so it is a combination of the words square and plushies. We eventually moved away from everything being super square, although we try to square off things when it works for our design.
Why did you start making goods for Squshies?
I started making felt animals as a fun hobby to pursue while I was searching for a new job after moving to California. I had toyed with the idea of working for myself and selling my work for years, but what that work might be always eluded me. When the job search never resulted in much luck I was encouraged to give working for myself a try and with the Squshies I finally had the idea I'd always been searching for. The Squshies have been growing ever since.
What is your favorite item?
This is such a tough one! I really love the more realistic style we've been trying with our new bird hoop art pieces, but I think I'm going to have to go with Otis the Cake Troll.
We go to a weekly dinner party with a large group of friends and it is bit of joke about how much I love dessert time, especially if there is cake. I'm obsessed with cake! It is my favorite food. One night someone made a joke about how I had to feed my inner cake troll. Not long after I made a doodle of my inner cake troll and named him Otis. It wasn't long before I made a hoop with Otis and a little speech bubble that said “Cake!”
What is your most popular item?
Our most popular is definitely the dog ornaments. Around the holidays we usually sell out of a few of the most popular breeds like the dachshunds and the yellow lab. Last year the schnauzer was a surprise favorite. We also make a lot of custom dog ornaments based on pictures of people's pets during the holiday season.
Where do you get the inspiration for your work?
Animals! There are so many fun and unique animals. A walk through the zoo or flipping though a big book of animals always fills my head with new ideas and projects. I also find watching cartoons and animated movies very inspiring.
What makes your store unique?
I think our selection of animals and our attention to the features that make each animal special. We've made over 100 different animals into felt ornaments. Even though almost all of our creations are caricatures, we still try to make sure to include the details and features that make that animal special. When I waned to make a monkey ornament I didn't make a generic monkey. There are too many amazing monkeys to make just one, instead we had an month long event with a different species of monkey every day.
What is the toughest part about making your goods/your artistic process?
Making decisions for sure! There are so many, both big and small, that it can sometimes be overwhelming. It is really fun to be able to make all the choices in your day and about your work, but it does wear you down sometimes.
Do you take custom orders?
Yup! Mostly we make custom ornaments of people's pets and a few custom hoop art pieces, but we always open to other ideas.
Our process starts with getting as much info as possible about the custom order so we can make a sketch. There is no set price on custom orders as it varies based on the complexity of the piece. Custom pieces usually take 1-2 weeks, if there is any change in that time frame we discuss it during the details and sketch phase.
Link to our custom order form https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZUPT9wLD9Wsf1V18oIwE9LmsJlSwGwS1Y1qVCDJ97LE/viewform
Where can I see more of your work and buy a gift?
Website & Blog: http://www.squshies.net/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/u/0/b/112605321518774450511/112605321518774450511/posts
I have to say that I adored looking through all of the Squshies, but if I had to pick favorites, I would choose the High Five Narwhals and Neville the Mole (mostly because of an inside joke). Oh, also the Honey Badger is just TOO funny!
Now to the giveaway! As always, enter using the widget below and it is open to U.S. and Canadian residents.