About Monster Factory:Who doesn€™t love a cute, fuzzy, plush monster? The hot new items in the Hive are these quirky little monster creations by the Monster Factory. The designers, Bliss Man, Adam Dunn, and Rhya Tamasauskas, collaborate to create these handmade plush toys that are known for their simple shapes, clean lines, sophisticated color palette and above all, their cuteness. These Toronto natives launched their first series of monsters, the €œHeartbreakers€� series in November 2003. Today they have 52 monsters from 14 different series in production. The materials that make up a monster are micro polar fleece, fun fur, and vinyl and they incorporate unique detailing into each monster and use techniques like embroidery, hand-stitching, and silk screening to add character. After the designs are finished, to add to the fun, each monster is named and given a quirky set of characteristics that best describe him or her. Fun for children and adults! Stylehive: Tell us how Monster Factory began as a film production company and evolved into what it is today. Monster Factory: As you know the Monster Factory did not start out as the plush and character design company that it is today. In its previous incarnation the MF was a small film production company that Adam began while attending film school. Though that company didn't withstand the test of time, it was the MF logo that gave inspiration to Rhya, who was at the time making textile art. She made the very first monster. Adam couldn't resist, so he too began making monsters. With much warm response and encouragement it became apparent that there needed to be an actual factory for making monsters: enter Bliss. Just days after completing her degree in fashion design she became the MF's newest partner. Bliss brought an uncanny ability to design and refine patterns for the monsters so that they could multiply on a more serious basis. Five months later in November 2003, the new Monster Factory launched its first series called the "Heartbreakers". The launch was a great success. Since then we've launched several more series of monsters and will continue to do so for as long as we can.Stylehive: Where did you get the idea to combine illustration with plush toys? MF: Illustrating our plush toys is something that comes very naturally to us. We work from sketches that we eventually transform into 3 dimensional plush toys. The final illustrations are used in a number of applications such as on the tags, the website, and for promotional material. Stylehive: Where did you get your inspiration for each character?MF: The main source of inspiration at the monster factory is each other's work. The way we design is very collaborative, so everyone's work really comes together.Stylehive: Each of you brings a unique skill to the team: Rhya with her textile arts and illustration, Bliss with her sewing and construction skills, and Adam with his graphic design. What kind of challenges do you face working as a team? What do you love about each other?MF: Working together as a team is something we do very well and is probably why we're in business together. Having different skills is definitely an asset to our team. We fill the gaps, which is what a good team should do. In addition to that, we're able to learn from each other. In the end, it's the creative vision that we all share that keeps us strong. We all want to make monsters come alive in people's imaginations and I think we achieve this. We share a great respect for each other as artists, designers, and creators. What we do best is laugh at each other, and when you can laugh at your friends and at yourself you can do anything.... like make monsters.Stylehive: Your customer ranges from small children to grown adults. How do you address such a wide market?MF: Plush characters naturally appeal to children, so when designing monsters, our bigger challenge is to attract the adult market. With that in mind, we really design the monsters as if we were our own customers. So between their refined shapes, subtle color palette, and imperfect characteristics monsters are really made for an older audience. Not to say that this alienates our younger fans. Quite the contrary, the fact that our monsters aren't dumbed-down like so many mainstream childrens' toys is probably quite refreshing, and is what we attribute much of our success to. In order to reach our customers, we participate in a number of Arts and Crafts shows throughout the year. Some are more family oriented, like the One of a Kind Show and Cabbage Town Arts and Crafts Fair, while others are directed to a younger crowd, like the the DUDE show and the Comic Fan Expo. Stylehive: Do you have a favorite monster?MF: That's a very hard question. We'd like to think that we don't have favorites, but sometimes we can't help it. Amongst those are Mr. Jefferson, Dirk, Mitch, P.A.X, and the "Sugars" series. We give extra love to the monsters who aren't as popular as well.Stylehive: What can we look forward to for your end of March release?MF: Colin and Todd from "8 Bits" series are expecting 2 new additions to their posse. Old school video games have been inspiring us lately so it only seems appropriate to add monsters to our video game series. We're also designing a new French monster with a giant schnoz. Need I say more?
The new monsters will be released on Wednesday March 28th and will be available at our 5 day studio sale: Wednesday March 28th - Sunday April 1st from 11am-6pm. ...and on-line at: www.monsterfactory.net
Stylehive: What's next for the Monster Factory?MF: We would like to make more monsters. We'd love to expand into animation, spend more time illustrating, and further develop our monsters as characters.
Monster Factory's Site in the Hive: site/monsterfactory.netMonster Factory's Website: monsterfactory.net