13 Sep 2012

Featured: The Grumble Cave Monsters

I don't know about you, but we are in love! Meet the Grumble Cave Monsters, a new line of awesome plushy toys handmade by Kim, who has come over for a cup of tea and a chat today. I'm super excited to see these little guys featured on our blog as they are unbelievably cute and are so charming! Not just for kids, these cheeky little critters are getting ready to take over your life and make it that little bit better :) But before you decide who your favorite is, lets get to know a little bit more about them...

Hi Kim! 
So, we are all itching to know, who are the Grumble Cave Monsters?
The Grumble Cave monsters are the inhabitants of - you guessed it - Grumble Cave. They're furry beasts that live within a ma-hoosive network of caves, so named for the noise that can be heard from within when approached, and in tribal societies. The caves extend across just about the entire land mass called Deish, and stretch from thick woodland in the south, to arcitc conditions in the north, and from fertile volcanic land in the east to open grasslands in the west. They hunt and grow their food, and while most of the different tribes live in peace, there are always a few renegades trying to cause trouble - stealing cattle and crops and such.
They're cute little buggers, though.

What inspired you to start making these wonderful little plushies?
Well I've always loved plushy toys. My room was full of them when I was little, and now I'm an "adult" I have less of them, but the ones I still have mean the world to me - for example, I have a plushy husky toy that my mum was just adamant to get me for my 20th, and I'm glad she did because it's sooo cute, but at the same time it was clearly expensive. It means a lot because she picked it herself, and with her disability, it makes it hard for her to see things clearly, so the fact that she picked it herself makes it so very valuable. I also have a cute brontosaurus that my boyfriend got me for Christmas last year. It guards my work. Not very ferocious, but it does its job!
I was hesitant to start, though, because when I was younger, my nan bought me a "make your own plush toy" kit and I didn't understand the concept of sewing inside out - working backwards like that can really confuse me. As a result the poor mangled thing has stuck in my mind for some time. Now I think, though, if I could find it and get through an 11 year old's stitching, I could fix it.
Haha! We all have those projects at home! Just as well you waited till you were older to unleash your inside out stitching - seems it was worth the wait!

What's been your biggest challenge with the Grumble Cave Monsters collection?
Making them. It's that simple. They take me 6 hours to make a piece, since I hand sew the lot rather than using a machine (the machines seriously don't like me - my textiles teacher sat down with me in high school many times and tried to show me how to use them. I tried many different brands and several set-ups, but she concluded that they really must just not like me, and I think she was right), and it kills my back - but the outcome is worth it, as far as I'm concerned, and it's nice to have something to get truly stuck into like that if I'm not in the mood to write.
I love that they are hand stitched; I think the extra time and love spent on each monster gives them way more character. I think there is something much healthier about it too; the idea of toys made in a big factory far far away doesn't quite seem right to me. A little bit heartless!

Where do you see your creations in 5 years time?
I really can't say. I've never been one for thinking my work would be pride of place anywhere, or have much sentimental value to anyone but me, but I supposed I can't be certain. A few of my necklaces in my other store, Peaches and Pebbles, have been used as proposals - not the rings, the vials - so I guess those pieces do hold more sentimental value to others than they do to me. Of course, proposing with a plush monster, is something I'd like to see.
I have plans for other products - brooches, books and the like - so I'm really hoping to expand, and in five years' time I might have a good little bit of branding on my hands.
Oh boy! We would LOVE to see a Grumble Cave Monster proposal! Perhaps one could be made into a ring pillow ;)

Having two incredible stores on the go, what advice would you give to someone starting out in the world of Etsy?
Patience. Seriously. I will be honest, when I opened Peaches and Pebbles I had no idea what I was doing - I had 2 pieces in my shop, next to no views, and it took me a long while to make a sale. My listings were far from perfect, too, and I undercharged for most things that I did manage to sell.
This time around, however, I had some sort of idea, and a business plan. I opened with 10 listings, and managed to get more views on my first day than I did that same day on my far older, and more established shop. So my greater advice is that you should build up your inventory, take good, clear pictures, and write your listings in advance so that if you think of something that's not covered, you can add it in before listing things. Also work on your shop policies - they're not always read by customers, but if they're there at least then it can help to solve problems with troublesome customers. Doing all of this should give you a better start when you begin. Also, try not to open your shop until you're ready - make your account by all means, but don't open your shop. Opening up an empty shop will cost views and lose the interest of a few people - not many, but walking into an empty shop isn't much good for anyone.
We'd say that was really valuable advice for a newbie too. Many don't realize how much work goes into running an online shop; patience and organization are definitely key!

What is your typical day like?
Full of nothing. I'm always busy, but I never have anything to show for it. On a weekday, I look after my disabled mother with my boyfriend and off-handedly playing World of Warcraft, and on the weekend I usually glue myself to a book or the xbox. I try to work on my fantasy writing every other moment I have, but I can't always help if the mood to run around slaying dragons strikes me. Otherwise I'm hitting the refresh button on my Etsy stats page every 5 minutes.
Haha! The curse of Etsy! We all struggle there!

Tell us a secret about yourself...
Whenever I'm in a car and I'm looking up at the sky, I'm actually looking for dragons. In all seriousness. I think if I saw one swoop out of the sky and raze a village, I'd cry with happiness. Not for the poor lost souls, of course, but rather for the fact that dragons exist - and if they exist, what else does? I'm a little bit weird, I'm afraid.
That's why we love you Kim!
Thanks so much for coming round to play with us today and for inspiring us so much with these fantastic little guys. We want them all! We can't wait to see how the Grumble Cave Monster collection grows; I think it is going to be quite the adventure :)

Discover The Grumble Cave Monsters in their etsy habitat here
We are delighted to share news that each monster currently has an introductory discount of 25% off from now until the 1st of October, so you had better get your order in quick! And, as an extra special treat, if you visit Kim's blog A Blackbird's Epiphany you can use the magic code to get a further 10% off... at a fraction of the price it would be rude not to take one of these little guys home :)

Finally, for the chance to win our favorite monster and a massive collection of treats and treasures from some of our favorite makers, be sure to enter the awesome Destroy This Journal competition. It's open till the end of September and is ready to get your creative juices flowing!

We hope you enjoyed The Grumble Cave Monsters feature as much as we have :D We'd love to hear what you think of these little guys.... or better yet, we'd love to hear what you would name yours!

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  1. Goodness me, what a wonderful shop! It's almost the best shop I think I've ever seen! I will shout from the rooftops how wonderful it is! And how intelligent and beautiful is the owner? She rocks my socks! ;P

    Thanks so much for the interview, it means so much, especially so soon into the shop's existance! Fingers crossed for more success for the both of us! ♥

    1. Hee hee! You are very welcome Kim! We completely adore all of these little beasties and are so happy to see them hang out with us today :D We think they are going to be a massive success! Fingers and toes crossed all round... Happy making xox

  2. Love them!!! I really like their back story and how each one has different little personalities and horn colors. Soooo cute! And great interview too!

    1. Aww! Hooray! We're so glad to have shared them with you, we think everyone needs one of these little monsters :D