Cody Bauchman is a small shop OG. The mama monster maker launched Lu & Ed from a finished basement in 2009. “It all started when I moved to Kansas City with my son Gauge and we were living at my then-boyfriend’s mom’s house with little to no storage. One night, I dreamed up a fun storage solution that would take up minimal space by hanging on a door handle or in the closet, one that Gauge would like to learn to use by ‘feeding’ it his toys,” she recalled. “The next day, I drafted the pattern, learned to use a sewing machine with help from my boyfriend’s mom, and made the first ever Mon-stor.” A decade later, Bauchman is still using her original pattern to handcraft her monster wares. “Each time I would post pictures online, more and more people would ask me to make them a monster. After about three months, I had an entire notebook page filled with orders, and I quit my day job to focus on monster-making full time. I’ve been making monsters almost every day since!”
The shop’s monster mania has only grown over the years. “When I first started, I only made one size of Mon-stor (the large size),” Bauchman explained. “Since then, I have added smaller size Mon-stors, Stuffed Monsters, Monster Tooth Pillows, Monster Tote Bags, Monster Sensory Blankets for babies and a few other designs I do on a limited edition basis.” The large size Mon-stor toy storage bags remain a Lu & Ed top seller. “They are perfect for playrooms or bedrooms to tame toy clutter,” said Bauchman. “The large holds almost an entire load of laundry, up to 8 Build a Bear-sized stuffed monsters, over a dozen medium Nerf guns and more – anything you need accessible storage for, Mon-stors can eat! They make cleaning up super easy and fun for children of all ages.” In my home, we have adopted three colorful stuffed monsters and three small Mon-stors (so far) and my boys adore them.
Young monsters like mine inspire each of Lu & Ed’s designs. “I love children’s creativity, their love of color and different textures, and how play is so important to their development,” Bauchman shared. “Each Lu & Ed monster is made to ignite imaginative play, learning through play – counting eyes and teeth, naming the colors on the monster, describing the different textures, as well as learning to pretend play and create personalities for the monsters. Often, monsters are handed down to siblings or passed on to other family members when their children outgrow playing with them and I love seeing that magical love of monsters spread.”
Something significant about the shop that stands out to me is that Lu & Ed is completely zero waste. “Each monster toy I make is handmade with textile discards, like robes, blankets, curtains, sheets, pajamas and other fabrics otherwise headed to landfills,” said Bauchman. “Each Mon-stor is made from textile discards either collected through donations or scavenged from salvage centers. I use a closed loop recycling system, meaning even the tiniest bits of fabric get used so there is absolutely no landfill waste from the production of my monster toys.” That also means that no Lu & Ed monster is alike. I love that!
Beyond creating positive climate change by reducing landfill waste, Bauchman is also passionate about hunger relief and supporting children living in food-insecure households. In 2018, she started the Lu & Ed Lunch Program and, since then, has donated almost $300 to help end student lunch debts in American schools. “I chose to donate $1 from every monster sold because I have 13 nieces and nephews and 6 great nieces and nephews. The majority of them are enrolled in schools where a large majority of the students are below poverty level and sometimes, lunch at school may be the only meal they get. I have donated to 7 schools so far, nominated by fans of Lu & Ed.” You can nominate your local schools to receive a Lu & Ed donation here.
Feed a mon-stor toy clutter and help Lu & Ed feed the kiddos. Sounds like a win-win to me. Check out the small shop’s current monsters waiting to be adopted on the Lu & Ed website and join the Facebook VIP Monster Squad here. If you use the website link here, you will automatically save 15% off your next purchase. Thanks Cody!