All Ages of Geek had the pleasure of interviewing the creators of Boira Plushies! If you love plushies be sure to check them out!
1. When did Boira Plushies start?
Well, we are Cris and Jenni, and we have been dating for over 10 years, and since the beginning, we both liked to make each other original and handmade gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and special dates. Then, Cris decided to make a plush for Jenni’s birthday. That plush was using somebody else’s patterns, the only time we’ve used patterns not made by us, to be honest. Then, it was Jenni who made a plush for Cris, this time making the patterns by herself. So we kept gifting handmade plushies to each other, making them for cosplays…
Until our friends started to say that we should sell them or take commissions.
So, we finally decided to make a facebook page, called Artesanías Iris. Artesanías means handmade goods in Spanish, and Iris is how Ecruteak city’s name is in Spanish. It’s one of our favourite pokémon world cities, so we thought it was a cool name. That was around 2013. At first we didn’t get much attention, just one commission every now and then. In 2015, we started selling at cons, getting more commissions and popularity. What started as a hobby and a way to get some extra money, eventually became our source of living.
Since we now were more popular and had many followers and customers from non-Spanish speaking countries, in 2018 we decided that we had to change our name to something more easy to understand, because “artesanías” (handcrafted goods) was vague given that we only made plushies, and because Iris is also a Spanish name so many people thought that one of us was just called like that hahaha.
So we brainstormed a lot of names, and finally decided on Boira Plushies. The “plushies” part is very obvious, and “Boira” is because of our pet bunny. He’s called “Niebla”, which means mist/fog, and “Boira” means the same but in Catalan, the language spoken in our region together with Spanish. We thought it sounded better than “Niebla Plushies” so we went with it. It’s also something completely “original”, not related to any fandom like “Artesanías Iris” was related directly to Pokémon, even our logo was the bell tower with Ho-Oh’s wings hahaha
We also changed our mascot (a purple Ho-Oh) to an original one: Slunny. Slunny is a mix of rabbit and sea slug, and is actually a fakemon (fanmade pokémon) that we created years ago, and he wears a backpack with purple Ho-Oh wings as a reference to our past name.
It has happened a lot since we started, and we totally never thought we would be able to get this far. And of course, we hope that Boira Plushies continues for many more years!
2. How long does it take to make one plushy?
The time it takes depends on a lot of factors. First, it depends on the size and design of the character. It’s not the same making a small and simple plush with few details than making a 160cm plush with a lot of parts and details, like our lifesize Heracross.
Another factor is if we have already made the plush in the past or not. If we have already made it, it’s just trace and cut the patterns and sewing. But if it’s completely new, we have to make all the patterns from scratch, and patterning is the part that takes most of the time, because it’s all trial and error, editing the patterns until you get the perfect shapes.
It also depends on if we have made similar patterns in the past, to base on them, or not.Inspiration also takes a big part on making plush patterns. Sometimes you get stuck with a piece and you don’t know how to make it, try over and over and get frustrated, and others you have a clear image of how the pattern should be and you get it right in only one or two attempts. Plushmaking is an art afterall and you have to be inspired to make them.
With that said, making a plush from scratch, and having all the materials already in hand, we can take from a week to one or two months.
We take more than that, because we usually have a long commission queue so we don’t inmediatly start a plush once it’s commissioned. So our waiting time is from 6 motnhs to one year, maybe a bit more, since the moment we take a commission. We know it’s a long waiting time but if customers agree, we prefer to take longer to assure the best quality we can make and make as many tests as we need, than rushing the plushies.
That is our current waiting time, but in the future we would like to start taking less commissions each time we open to reduce waiting times. We keep our customers updated about their place on the commission list and the overall waiting times so they are aware of the situation and they agree with the waiting times.
3. Do you have a favorite plushy you created?
Uhm… That’s a difficult question because we love them all, they’re like our babies, so it’s hard to pick a favourite. We would say Heracross because it’s been the biggest plush we’ve made and the most challenging one, and Marshal because it marked a before and after in our plushmaker career. He was the first plush we made with our new embroidery machine, and we made him during the time we had just decided to finally drop college and focus on plushies 100%. Since then, our plushie’s quality boosted because we had more time to work on them and people reacted extremely well to Marshal. We hot thousands of new followers, a lot of new patrons started to support us on Patreon, helping us keep going, and today we’re still grateful of everything that this plush has brought us.
4. What would you tell others who want to do what you do?
The most important part of making plushies is not being afraid to make mistakes, learn to not give up and also understand that it’s a work based mostly on trial and error. You will improve over time and your skills will become better. It’s highly probable that the first plush you make doesn’t turn out as you wanted. But if you try to make it a couple years later, you will see how much you have improved.
You should see what Cris’ first plush looked like, and how we make the same character today!
As more practical tips, you can start using other people’s patterns at first. You will learn how to sew plushies, and by looking at how their patterns look, you can learn how each drawn shape translates into the fabric. You can find tons of plush patterns on the internet, both free and paid. Many plushmakers offer patterns with sewing instructions on how to make that plush. Some sell them and others offer them as Patreon rewards, which is our case.
There are also tutorials about more specific things, like plush embroideries or techniques that will help to improve your plushie’s quality.
Another thing we want to say is, don’t rush to make things. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have fancy fabrics and an embroidery machine at first. You can start using polar fleece and making faces with felt, and once you have improved, start looking to get better materials and finishings.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask other plushmakers! Some can be resilent to share their suppliers and tricks, but others will share them without problem. We’re always happy to answer questions!
5. Plans for 2021?
Our biggest plan is catching up with commissions. Between COVID and personal issues, we have delayed a lot with our commission list so our main goal this year is to finish all the pending plushies so we can take new ones.
And as of things that we would like to do, we want to start making super realistic and posable plushies, almost like art dolls. We’d love to make a Mizutsune (Monster Hunter) in that style.
We’re also starting to ilearn and test how to make fursuists. We think they are a craft that recquires a lot of skills and time. We are currently working on a Cinderace and Inteleon (Pokémon) fursuits as personal projects, and we’re using them to practice. We would love to take fursuit commissions in the future, but first we want to be sure we can make them properly.
And finally, we would like to make plushies with our original designs, and even make merch of them, like keychains, pins… For now, we’ve made Slunny plushies and some merch (badges, keychains and stickers) and we can’t wait to make more!