New Zealander Graci Kim has lived in Beijing for the past 18 months, working as a diplomat at the New Zealand Embassy. This past August, she began a social enterprise, My Thingymabob.
“Championing children’s well-being is at the heart of everything My Thingymabob does,” says Kim. “That’s why all profits for 2015 will be donated to Childfund.”
Kim had the idea for her business while doodling in her notebook one day. “I remember thinking ‘Man, if only that monster could come to life – that would be the best thing ever!’” she says. Kim set about building her inspiration into a custom cuddly toys business. Soon after, she expanded her product range to include bespoke hand-tufted rugs made from 100 percent New Zealand wool so that drawings could come as homewares. Next year, My Thingymabob will introduce synthetic wool rugs for a more affordable but equally unique addition to the home.
“Whether you’re 5-years-old or 60-years-old, there is something truly magical about witnessing your drawings come to life,” says Kim. “If you’re the type to let your imagination run wild, this might be a great way to exercise those creative muscles. If your child or friend loves drawing, My Thingymabob makes a memorable gift.”
Kim thinks there is something universally powerful about dreaming something up, and then witnessing your imagination come to life in tangible form. She believes it teaches children that anything is possible.
To order, customers send My Thingymabob a photo of a character that their child (or they) have drawn, and then My Thingymabob turns it into a full 40cm tall cuddly toy. The order process for rugs is almost the same, but customers must also choose from rectangular, square, circular or free form, in four sizes: doormat (1m long), bedroom feature (1.5m long), living room feature (2m long), or spacious room feature (2.5m long). It takes up to three weeks to handcraft each toy or rug.
The toys are not inexpensive, but then they are one of a kind. They cost RMB 800 each (USD 129) each. Readers can use the discount code 2015TOY to get USD 30 off each toy order, if ordered before the end of December 2015. Rugs cost from between RMB 1,500 (USD 250) and RMB 4,800 (USD 800). Readers can use the discount code 2015RUG to get USD 150 off each rug order, if ordered before the end of December 2015. Shipping is free for 2015. Orders can be made on the website and credit cards are accepted via Paypal. To make payment via Wechat Wallet in RMB, please first complete the order on the website then add Kim on wechat (ID: gracikim) to arrange payment. My Thingymabob also offers Gift Cards.
Photos: courtesy of Graci Kim
This article originally appeared on page 14-15 of the beijingkids December 2015 issue. Click here to read the issue for free on Issuu.com. To find out how you can get your own copy, email firstname.lastname@example.org