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Without a doubt, the most difficult part of this process was communicating with the manufacturer. Despite hours of searching there just doesn’t seem to be any Australian manufacturers of custom plush toys so we had to work with an international manufacturer. Once we found the right one, this wasn’t such a big deal. But similar to our post about the evolution of the illustration, there was a lot of trial and error. It’s no wonder Your Teacher’s Pet creature has been twelve months in the making.
When you only have photos of swatches to go by, and wow, was there a lot of swatches. It was difficult to nail down exactly which shade of blue would both match the book, and look great in the classroom.
More than a few times we’d get to a stage with a manufacturer where they would send us the sample so we could touch and feel it, only to find out that the colour wasn’t quite right, and they didn’t have access to the colour that we needed. But in the end, we found a supplier that was able to deliver a shade of blue that we fell in love with, and we think you’ll fall in love with it too.
As for the design of the plush, we went through a few different designs which you can see below. At each stage, we made small tweaks to improve things like his cute factor, his chubbiness, his ears and ultimately, we kept pushing our manufacturer until the little guy could sit by himself. Because at the end of the day, what good is he watching over your class if he can’t sit on your shelf or your desk?
You can see below all the designs that we went through before we got to the final one.
But finally, we ended up with the design that we love, and the one that we hope will feature in classrooms all over the world. Let us know in the comments what you think about the evolution of the design, and if you love the final one as much as we do!