This post is part of a new periodic series called "Awesome Handmade Toys." These posts will feature toy makers whose work I think is particularly fresh and inventive. I also pin toys to my Inspiring Softies pinboard on a regular basis if you're looking for more inspiration.
Indira Villalobos-Starr is a Venezuelan American living in Brooklyn with her husband and one-year-old baby girl. When Indira received a sewing machine from her husband as a Christmas present her first project was a monster made from a sweater that had accidentally been shrunken in the wash.
Making that first monster was the start of her business, Snuggly Ugly. Indira makes cashmere monsters in two sizes. The original Snuggly Ugly is a larger toy with needle felted wool features. The Snuggly Munchkin is smaller and has felted wool features that are sewn in place.
Every toy has a pocket for hiding treasures.
Indira has a custom toy option in which you send her your shrunken sweater and she transforms it into a unique Snuggly Ugly just for you.
I asked Indira how she took such lovely product shots. "I did buy some semi-professional lighting (two soft boxes) and a 54" roll of white paper to use as a backdrop. Consistency is the hardest part I have found so far. We want all the backgrounds to look clean and the same from photo to photo."
"If you have a product with so many colors like the Snuggly Ugly monsters it is better to take the photos over white color because it will give you a nice plain white background and it will bring the attention to the target, our dolls." I think the bright pop of color against such a white backdrop, with an adorable baby playing with the product, is incredibly effective.
When I look at these monsters the designs feel so free. There is no perfect symmetry. The stitching detail on the legs is whimsical and fun. These monsters are loose and playful and that's what I love about Snuggly Ugly.