Like many mom entrepreneurs, Wendy Tsao started Child’s Own Studio as a home-based craft business inspired by her child. When her son started kindergarten, his school requested that she pack a comfort toy in his emergency preparation kit.
The problem was her son didn’t have a comfort toy.
“I thought about making one based on his signature self portrait drawing, which was essentially a stick man,” says Wendy. When she finished the toy, not only was her son pleased, but he recognized it immediately.
After making a few more custom stuffed animals for friends, Wendy knew that she was onto something and immediately enrolled in a self-employment program to learn the basics of running a business. “It’s been a great learning experience, both on the business side, as well as in the actual softie-making aspect.”
Child’s Own Studio makes custom toy softies based on drawings made by your children – or even drawings from your own childhood. “These softies become mementos of a childhood,” says Wendy. “Sometimes they are art pieces that people put on a shelf, and sometimes they become fabulous gifts of great sentimental value.” Now open for two years, Wendy continues to enjoy making them – and the process of working out how to translate a drawing into a three-dimensional shape. “I studied architecture at McGill, but my passion has always been in art,” says Wendy, who has always preferred working with her hands. “Time flies by for me when I sit in my studio working on my projects.”
To order a custom toy softie, visit www.childsown.com and click on the order page. After filling out the info requested, you can either upload a scanned image or a photograph of the drawing. Wendy will send a quote once she sees the drawing. For basic drawings, softies and cushions start at $50, but the average cost is around $70 to $80, including shipping. Payment is accepted either by cheque or Paypal. You’ll receive your softie in the mail between two to four weeks.
Child’s Own Studio can make basically everything. However, for legal reasons, they can’t make trademarked characters – but there are exceptions. Someone recently sent Wendy a child’s drawing of Captain Underpants. “It wasn’t an exact replica, but a ‘study,'” so Child’s Own Studio was able to make the soft toy.
For the best product that meets the child’s and parent’s expectations, Wendy suggests providing as much info as possible about the drawing and the child who drew it. Wendy recalls making a volcano based on a drawing. Since the drawing wasn’t coloured, Wendy chose fabric that had a brown, molten texture. But the parent had expected the fabric to be black since the drawing was outlined in black. Wendy remade a black version and kept the brown one to remind her to get as much information as possible. But not all was lost: “I like the idea though of some child going to sleep with a volcano!”
To view more of these fabulous custom creations, visit the Child’s Own Studio gallery page.