INTERVIEW WITH KENDRA PHILLIPS - CREATOR OF CHUMBUDDY SLEEPING PLUSH
We all love your Shark Sleeping bag idea, could you tell us what inspire you to come up with this idea? This idea actually originated from an assignment I was given at school where we were meant to make a toy design and packaging. I always really loved sharks and I thought it would be really cool to have a shark plush that was as close to actual size as possible. I guess I figured it might be interesting to play off people's fears of shark attacks by making shark attacks really cuddly. It's kind of demented in hindsight, but it also allowed me to throw in some little facts about the truth about shark attacks along with the final products--how rare they are, and how we're more of a threat to them than they are to us.
You made the prototype yourself, what do you find the most challenging? Just about all of it, haha. When I told my mom I wanted to do this she discouraged me and told me I was crazy because I had never sewn anything before. But I was really into the idea so I did it anyway! I actually originally wanted to make the toy much bigger, like 9 or 10 feet, but I had to cut it down a lot because of the cost. The hardest part by far, though, was the sewing itself. The original prototype is made of fleece and was too thick for the sewing machine, so it broke the machine whenever i tried to sew it. I ended up sewing all 7 feet of fabric entirely by hand. I spent literally two days straight doing nothing but sew until my fingers were raw, among two weeks of sewing on and off when I had time for it. It was a huge pain in the butt, especially when I would get done with something like attaching a fin and then flip it inside out only to find I'd sewn it in backward or upside down and I would have to start over again. It is an experience I do not want to relive, haha.
You mentioned that the Shark sleeping bag is one of your school projects, did you get an A? Yes! Thank goodness.
How did you hear out about PatchTogether? I think one of my friends on DeviantArt at the time was talking about it, I don't remember how exactly I was directed to the website.
What were some of your classmates’ reactions when learned of your collaboration with PT? A lot of them really wanted to know how I got involved with the website! I know that a lot of them submitted their toy designs to the site too after they heard that my design had been put in production.
Are you working on any other design project? Not at the moment. I actually go to art school for animation, so the only designing I get to do these days is for environments and characters that I create for storyboards and animation.
Do you collect any toy? No, but I wish! Sometimes I am tempted to buy some cool designer stuff, but I never go through with it. Maybe someday! For now, I just have a small collection of like, 5 toy sharks.
Who is your favorite artist? I don't know about an absolute favorite that stands above all others, but many inspire me. In particular, I love Kay Neilsen, Peter Brown, Sebastia Serra, Charlie Harper, and Andrew Shek.
What music are you listening to? Either tons of Sigur Ros and Jonsi, or if I am in the mood for something more upbeat, something like Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, Beirut, or Mumford & Sons.
Any parting words? Getting my toy produced through Patch Together has been really surreal--somehow the Chumbuddy ended up going kinda viral afterward, so I have people I don't know coming up to me sometimes asking me about the Chumbuddy. Also my friends always make sure to tell me when some friend of theirs who I don't know shows them a link to the Chumbuddy featured on some blog and they get to say "Hey! I know that girl!" It's so weird, but it's really fun also. I've had a great experience with Patch Together and I can't thank them enough for the great service they provide!