“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart” – Winnie the Pooh
“My most unique custom would have to be a two-part Winnie the Pooh for Burr Productions, a company that worked on the recent Christopher Robin movie,” said Jennifer Gubicza of small shop Zooguu. “The front end of Pooh is sticking out into one room of the office and the back end is sticking out in another room. It is inspired by Pooh getting stuck in Rabbit’s house when he eats too much honey.” Oh, bother!
Based in Massachusetts, Zooguu handcrafts faux taxidermy as wall décor – think stuffed dinosaurs, unicorns, sloths and llamas hung in a baby nursery or child’s bedroom. The plushies are made of suede cloth, stuffing and love, and then mounted to a stained or painted wooden base for wall hanging. Rest assured that no actual (stuffed) animals have ever been harmed in the making. The whimsical designs range in size from 3.5” x 5” (size 1) to 12” x 16” (size 5) and prices start at just $35 for the small size.
“The most popular animal styles are unicorns, narwhals and dinosaurs,” head zookeeper Gubicza shared. “Dragons may be one of my favorite things to make because they are all one of a kind. I love the end result, but I have to be in the right mindset to work with my most difficult pattern and fabrics.” Each of Zooguu’s designs and sewing patterns are original and unique. “I love simple, elegant designs, bold colors and anything funny. With Zooguu, customers choose the colors that their faux taxidermy is made in. This makes it custom and personal,” explained Gubicza. “Everything I make is done to make people feel happy. Involving them in the process should add to that experience. I know I love when I get to have something special made just for me.” The shop name is a quirky combination of “zoo” (for the animals, of course) and “guu,” the beginning sound of the maker’s surname. “It is sort-of like saying I have a personal collection of creatures. Also, it is short, fun to say, and the domain name was available,” Gubicza laughed.
Gubicza found a passion for design early. “I started sewing as a hobby in the early 2000s and sold under a different name on Etsy until 2008,” she recalled of the shop’s early origins. “I changed the name to Zooguu in 2008 when I left my graphic design job to pursue sewing creatures full time.” Now, Gubicza reimagines her two-dimensional designs as three-dimensional works of animal art. “I love being able to hold a finished product in my hands that started as raw materials and was transformed into something completely different.”