Do any of your kids have an imaginary friend? A 2004 study by University of Washington and University of Oregon psychologists suggests that by age seven, 65% of children have had a pretend playmate at some point. Breia Mallett’s two-year old daughter Marjorie and her imaginary friend inspired the Mallett Made line of plushie monsters. “A few months ago, she started talking to her imaginary friend. When I pressed her more about it, she told me her new buddy was a sweet monster…named Monster,” Mallett explained. “She would walk around holding ‘Monster’s’ hand and singing it songs. That is when our monsters were born! I wanted to help bring her little buddy to life.”
Mallett’s monsters are very popular in the small shop marketplace, but she actually found her start in macramé. “I launched Mallett Made as a way to put all the random crafty things I do out there. It actually started with some smaller items until I created the line of plush llamas,” she recalled. “I posted a photo and it took off from there. Now, I am focusing on lovies and plush toys and always trying to dream up new cuddly creatures. A lot of the creatures I make are because of my kiddo.” Mallett Made’s recent monster drop included colorful “Pocket Monsters,” bite-size buddies that travel easily, along with squishy Cuddle Monsters and Mommy & Me Monster sets featuring a kangaroo-like pouch so the mama can keep her Pocket Monster from wandering off. Their sweet faces remind me of the creatures from Where the Wild Things Are, a beloved book in my home. “The monsters are my favorite right now because they all have so much personality,” said Mallett. “I love all the soft furs and dreaming up new ways to make them each unique.”
I asked Mallett how she stays original in a crowded handmade plush market. “I hope it is our unique designs and playful nature,” she responded. “There are so many amazing plush makers out there and it has always been my hope that we do not look too much like anything out there. I know designs may overlap at times, but we strive to stay true to ourselves and our own unique creatures.” The eco-friendly shop also recycles fur scraps to fill the insides of the Mallett Made critters. “My workspace is a crazy, fluffy mess. There is lots of extra fluff floating around and I try to mix it in with the stuffing when possible.”
Mallet has a background in design and Mallett Made occasionally offers art prints and enamel pins in the shop as well. “I have also been a part of the Nena & Co. Society for a while now. A few gals asked me to design some pins that we could pin to our bags and it grew from there. If you think the plush market is hard, try scoring a Nena,” she laughed. Right now, Mallett is gearing up for a release of more monsters, llamas and bunnies. “There is a new mythical creature in the works too and I am working up some spooky friends in time for Halloween,” she shared. “I’m an October baby and love all things Halloween. I can’t wait!”
Grab a monster (or another plushie) during the next Mallett Made drop and spark your child’s imagination. Past collections and new drop date details can be found on the shop’s website here or Instagram account.