Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Dreamlets Interview

I met the fantastic folks behind Dreamlets awhile ago now and thought they were delightful. I was so happy to see Amy at The Lab last week...and she even brought me a present :) Anyways, they were so nice to answer some very last minute questions so we could have our weekly interview. Leave a comment with contact info, for your chance to win TWO of your favorite dreamlets!

S- We've read about your business online and love your work... can you explain a little more about who Dreamlets is?

D- Amy: Dreamlets is a company, a brand, and a line of designer plush characters created by my business partner and beautiful designer, Matty Harper. We started the company in 2006, and have been actively selling Dreamlets since the beginning of this year. The name Dreamlets is inspired by a reference in Geek Love, a book by Katherine Dunn, but also speaks to one of our ideals - that dreams do come true and anything is possible.

Matty: "Dreamlets" is "Let's Dream" flip-flopped.

S- How long have you been making plush? What got you interested in creating your own line of dolls?

D- Matty: I made my first plush in 2004 (it was really horrible). It was a mangled body with a barely connected box head made from cotton sheet fabric with a bad floral print. Stanley was born just a week later... he was pretty cute considering.

I've been a graphic designer for 16 years now, and a lot of my clients sold "solutions" or software, things that really have no visual presence. It made me crave real physical products; industrial design is where my brain has been heading for a while now. I'm also an illustrator and felt like plush was a really accessible way to bring illustrations to life or off the page.

S- When I first met you two, you were just gearing up to launch your site (which is fantastic, by the way). Since then, your business seems to have really taken off! I've even noticed your work in a few higher-end stores, like Velocity. Is it still just the two of you running the show? Or has your company expanded to include more people?

D- Amy: Thanks for the complement on the site we like it too, kinda... Matty is actually in the process of totally redesigning it. We feel like we are already outgrowing it (bad planning:)

Yeah, we've been shooting for high-end stores, we love it when people appreciate Dreamlets for their design ascetic, so it's a natural fit to have them with a bunch of other museum quality pieces.

Matty: Dreamlets is growing like crazy beans. We have so many wonderful people. We bought this huge building in the middle of downtown Seattle to hold all these people and a private gym and daycare and stuff.... We have an office in Paris too, its a little smaller than the one in Japan. I'm constantly amazed at how much money there is in stuffed animals.

Amy: Matty seems to be confusing the dream with reality; really living the brand. But right now it's just the two of us...though we do have a couple of super smart interns that keep us on our toes, without them we tend to work really slow, they provide inspiration.

Matty: Our interns are real sexy too.

S- Also, given your success thus far, do you have any advice for folks looking to succeed in the plush industry?

D- Matty: Try to focus, and as odd as it might sound, don't be scared of success... This probably applies to anything you do. Also allow more time than you think for everything, it will all get to were you want it as long as you know where you want it and make steps, even small ones, toward it.

S- I love the giveback/charity program that accompanies your plush. How and when did it come about?

D- Amy: We really like the idea of products that make us happy and remind us to be kind or consider beauty or just to have something sweet to cuddle with after a long day. That said we also know that consumerism can take a toll on our environment in every sense of the word - socially, ecologically, visually, etc. So we give back to try to minimize whatever negative effects we might have. We started doing that from the very beginning, inspired by Patagonia.

Matty: We give to organizations that support creativity because we believe creative thought is what ultimately will save us; for example: it will take creativity to create more feasible alternative fuels and it creativity to get the world to start using them and it will take creativity for every step between.

S- Has anything in particular been inspiring you lately?

D- Matty: This is gonna sound narcissistic, but positive feedback for the Dreamlets has been really inspiring, it's been a long hard road and so when I hear that someone loves them I feel like I want to keep going...

Amy: I'm inspired lately by the bit of momentum we feel right now and the people we're surrounded by. I've always wanted to have a business where I worked with and for people I admire, where we made art, and could lead by example in the business world. Now, we're talking to more people like you, other people in the community, in the design world, our great interns, friends and family, and retail partners, and it feels like everyone wants to help us. I love how that works.

S- If your plush characters were asked to give one piece of advice, what do you think it would be?

D- Matty: Try to always have a soft smile, unless you have a huge smile, then you should have that one instead.

Amy: Be simple. Love like mad. Laugh like crazy every time you realize everything you want is here, just waiting for you to want it.

S- Are you planning to keep launching new characters?

D- Matty: If we don't have any secrets this isn't gonna be as much fun for anyone involved.

S- Anything else on the horizon for Dreamlets that we should know about?

D- Amy: Yes. :)

Don't forget, leave a comment with your contact info for your chance to win two of your favorite Dreamlets characters!


blakewest said...

Hey these are great little guys. Thanks for the interview!


i would love a dreamlet!

Erin said...

Thanks so much for doing the interview...its so inspiring to hear established plush artists give their point of view. I love these Dreamlets...they are adorable!

Wendy said...

I loved reading about the inspiration for the Dreamlets name. And I love how every Dreamlet has a story.


lattermild said...

Ah! Thanks for drawing my attention to these little guys, I simply adore them!

Holly said...

my little boy would die for a dreamlet!

Unknown said...

what an awesome collection! loved it! must have!

Jake1nTheGrass said...

I'm dreaming of Dreamlets. :)