Scents can be transformative, just like a good snuggle. “Lavender is a sleepy time blend used for napping and a restful night,” explained Angie Nguyen of small shop Munkins Studio. “Peppermint and orange are an uplifting blend. These blends are best used in the morning and after a nap.” Nguyen has found a way to combine her plushie making skills and an interest in essential oils through Munkins Studio. “Most of our aromatherapy bears are made with a felt heart patch, star patch, or an optional felt bow. This allows for your favorite oils to be applied. My most used oils in our household are lavender, orange and peppermint,” she said. “Our focus at Munkins Studio is to bring a new style to the world of dolls and teddy bears that offers comfort to all age groups, from the baby all the way up to adults.”
There is something charming about the Munkins plushes, with their signature heart-shaped eyes and colorful face patches. “Munkins stands out with its unique detailed work because each design is made with a mix of styles ranging from grunge, hip and vintage to modern style with a splash of Kawaii cuteness,” Nguyen shared. “The Panda Bear has always been my favorite animal. If you look closely at the eyes of a baby panda bear, they have the black heart shape around their eyes. That is where my biggest design inspiration comes from.” The shop’s “Sprinkles Bear,” released last August, has been one of Nguyen’s most successful designs. She used lux rainbow fur, ice cream patch appliqués and a doTERRA essential oil blend to scent the bear like a creamsicle. Almost makes you want to nibble it while you cuddle! “It is hard to pick just one favorite item that I enjoy making the most, but at this very moment, I am going to have to say our newest styles Sweetheart and Starry Eyed boy minky dolls,” she professed. “They are a cross between a teddy bear and a doll, so children get the best of both worlds. They support cuddling for sleepy time and help promote role play during the day.”
Based in New Mexico, Nguyen started Munkins Studios a little over a year ago. “I have always loved making handmade toys for my little ones, from Waldorf dolls, plushies, handmade wooden toys, to children’s clay jewelry charms,” she recalled. “It has always been a passion of mine. I decided to share my creations with family and friends and it just took off from there.” The name “Munkins” is a sweet twist on a childhood nickname she gave her oldest daughter when she was a baby. “The name then carried on and stuck with all three of my kids, turning it into a rhyme, ‘Munkin pumpkins.’” Nguyen has spent the last year navigating the competitive small shop community (“I think every small shop goes through a run in of some kind with another maker at one point or another”) and has found that bringing her creations to life gives her deep satisfaction. “After hours of cutting, sewing and hand-stitching their cute faces, my favorite part is turning the plushie inside out and stuffing them. This is when all that hard work pays off and you watch them come to life. Not one being exactly identical. They each have their own unique character.”
Earlier this summer, Munkins Studio announced its new “Berry Berry Cute” Snail Mail surprise subscription bags. “Each bag comes with a Bear you will only be able to get in a subscription bag,” said Nguyen. “Each bear will come with a cute Snail Mail story time patch on the bum. You can grab one here.” The small shop also accepts custom orders. “If you are looking for a unique bear that is custom made just for you and would like to work closely with the designer, find more information here.”
Check out all the different styles on the Munkins Studio website and join Nguyen’s VIP Facebook group here for surprise drops and giveaways.
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