Remi + Mi owner Michelle Russell Light has the cutest sewing partner. Her 16 month old son Remi inspired both the shop name and the sweet plushes and loveys that Light creates. “When we go shopping for fabric, we do the ‘Remi test.’ We will find all of the furs and Remi will reach out his hand to touch all of the fabrics as we slowly walk past,” Light explained. “When he finds one that he likes, he will grab it and start chatting. I then try to figure out how I can incorporate it into an animal. I usually show him sample products as well and see which ones he gravitates towards. He is my number one product tester. I also like to pay attention to animals that he likes at the zoo or stories and illustrations that he gets excited about.”
Even at a young age, Remi clearly has great instincts. The Remi + Mi plushes are handcrafted from ultra soft minky fabrics and faux furs that are both comforting and, most importantly, durable for little hands. Light offers three different sizes: Giant (25 in.), Cuddle (15 in.) and Teeny (5-6 in.). Most designs can be made lightly stuffed with polyfil or lovey style (i.e., unstuffed and floppy). “Each lovey from Remi + Mi takes several hours between designing, cutting, sewing and hand stitching,” said Light. “And because of that, each lovey and plush is made with so much love. Each one is truly a labor of love.” Even the Remi + Mi packaging is impressive. The plushes arrive wrapped in soft canvas materials with a handwritten note from Light.
Past Remi + Mi collections have included sea animals (like sharks and turtles), sloths, flamingos, and orangutans, among many others. In my own home, my youngest loves to bury his face in his Remi + Mi otter and moose plushes. “I continually find inspiration through stories or cute illustrations about animals,” Light said. “I also love watching nature documentaries, so I find a lot of design inspiration looking at the actual animals. We often go to the zoo to look at specific animals we are thinking of designing.” Light has a hard time selecting a favorite, but she is currently preferential to the Pterodactyl and the Mosasaurus from Remi + Mi’s recent dinosaur drop. “They are just so unique and unlike any other dinosaurs, I have seen available. I love sitting and adding every little handstitched detail,” she gushed. Another popular style is Light’s line of little Pookas, horned mythical creatures created from shaggy faux fur and intricate hand stitching details on the face. “They were designed purely from imagination and so it is exciting to see the vision come to life each time I create them. They have to be my favorite creatures to work on.”
Light initially set out to create a handmade Easter gift for Remi in spring 2018 and the shop has grown organically since then. The first Remi + Mi design “took hours of designing and hand stitching to get to where I was satisfied,” she shared. “The whole time, Remi sat on my lap as I designed, cut, and sewed my fabric. There were a lot of snuggle breaks as I slowly handstitched and pieced together his lovey. When I finished, I watched as my dearest little one snuggled with his first lovey. It sounds silly, but my heart was so full seeing this precious little boy smile, giggle, and snuggle the lovey that I made.” Ah, this makes my heart happy.
Remi + Mi is releasing a line of adorable farm animals just in time for the spring! Don’t miss the drop on Saturday, March 16 on Light’s Etsy shop page here and check out what Remi picks next by joining the Remi + Mi VIP Facebook group.