“Designing and making stuffed animals is almost like warm glass of milk and homemade cookies for my spirit,” Stormy Stricklin professed. “These days, we need more cute, more cuddly, just more positivity in general. So now, I make these creatures to not only bring joy to kids and plushie lovers, but also to heal myself.”
Stricklin is the chief Dumpling designer behind Little Sugar Dumpling Shop. The small shop has become known for its guinea pig-like stuffed animals. “I created cute, fuzzy creatures that have chubby little faces and furry paws that shyly cover their faces a bit. My inspiration comes mostly from things I find cute, like Pomeranian dogs, cupcakes, freckles and chubby cheeks,” she laughed. Stricklin’s sugary sweet plush pals come in a variety of colorful minky fabrics and feature hand embroidered faces. “By some awesome turn of events, I love embroidering. My favorites are details and facial expressions; I love to see the personalities come to life,” she shared. We were recently the highest bidder in a charity auction for a pumpkin-themed orange Sugar Dumpling with adorable candy corn freckles and it was a big hit with my boys. “My favorite design is a lightly stuffed Sugar Dumpling. I love the feel of the springy stuffing but also some looseness for extra squish.” For Stricklin, the squeals (of delight) for the squish motivate her creatively. “My hands-down most favorite part of the process is when a child’s face lights up seeing something I have made. I’m like, ‘wow! I sparked imagination!’ It is incredible and humbling.”
Before Little Sugar Dumplings, Stricklin operated as Dream Big Ponies sewing fleece baby ponies. “I love horses and think people should follow their dreams, but I didn’t want to be confined to ponies only. After a few months in business, I was brainstorming about what my new shop name would be. My oldest son, Noah, age 14, walked in the room and I said, ‘hey sugar dumpling!’ That’s when it hit me!” she recalled. “I have called all three of my boys sugar dumplings since they were born. I don’t even know where I got it from, but it stuck and I thought it would be the perfect new name for my shop.” Speaking of family, Stricklin’s sister, Jessica Johnson of small shop Button Jar Monsters, also provides her with support and encouragement. “My shop started out of admiration for my sister. She is an amazing monster maker, businesswoman, mom, and friend. Seeing her passion and enjoyment made me want to bring smiles to kids’ faces too.”
Little Sugar Dumplings is poised to breakout this holiday season. “Little Sugar Dumplings has evolved into a whole world. I have plans for a lot of new colors and surprises, like Fairy Dumplings, Dragon Dumplings and more fun. Every month, I am going to introduce Dumpling animals. This month, I focused on Dumpling koalas, and next month will be brown, black and golden bear Dumplings,” she teased. “I do plan on bring a limited number of ponies and donkeys back for drops in January, but the Dumplings are the direction I am heading. They bring me so much joy.”
Bring some guinea pig-shaped joy home for your own kiddos and don’t miss the new drop from Little Sugar Dumplings today, September 27th at 5pm Central on its website. Plus, follow the shop on Instagram for sneak peaks and new releases.