Needlings is an independent toy company run by 29 year old fulltime plush artist and designer, Heather Saunders.
Located in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Heather has made colourful creatures by hand from eco-friendly felt and high quality fabrics since 2007 after many years of crafting and creating. She started a line of uniquely designed plush felt creatures with their own stories, all one of a kind, after creating a small plush as a gift for a little girl. Later on, as her business grew, she branched out in to accessories, housewares, illustrations, and her popular kawaii Owl Mamas that are now available in independent stores around North America as well as large Canadian retailer, Chapters Indigo, a book/music/gift store along with her line of smaller plush owls, kitties, ninjas, and robots.
She was approached early on, through her etsy shop, to have her work carried in unique handmade-focused shops such as Wholly Craft in Columbus, Ohio, and Young Blood Gallery and Boutique in Atlanta, Georgia, which kept her developing her line of plush for retail stores and encouraged her to approach similar stores online in both Canada and the US over the next few years while still growing her business through requests from more stores and online sales. Needlings are now sold in over 14 retail locations, not including online and at anywhere from 10-20 shows and conventions she does per year in her local Toronto/Hamilton area. Heather was able to leave her day job at 25 in 2009 when demand grew for her items - she has been working for herself ever since. She makes anywhere from 50-200 items monthly while working on restocking stores on a monthly basis, preparing for markets and shows, and keeping up with online sales, but still values a careful handmade approach to her work and business.
While working to keep up with the demand on her line for retail stores, she participates in plush art shows with the Etsy Plush Team (www.plushteam.com) and at galleries in North America. She creates one of a kind items, like her bespectacled furry headed dolls, on a more occasional basis and wishes to make more time for them in the future, as well as developing exciting new work to continue to keep the Needlings brand growing and changing as she continues her business in to the future.
And in recent exciting news, Needlings was recently featured in the fall issue of Hamilton Magazine for her Wilhelmina W. Wasserman Kawaii art doll!
Where to find Needlings: