My name is Wendy Tsao and I created Child’s Own Studio in 2007, after making a softie (my first ever) based on a sketch that my 4 year old son was constantly drawing. It was a stick man with big round eyes and ten long wispy fingers and it was his self- portrait. When my son saw the softie, he recognized it immediately and with so much excitement that I realized this is what I should be doing with my time and energy. So I began a business making softies based on children’s drawings. Since then, I’ve custom made around 400 soft toys based on children’s drawings, each one as unique as the child who drew it.
In the beginning, I treated it as a business, which is fine. And then one day, I started to receive a lot of attention and inquiries, as well as advice on how to grow the business (thank you for all the suggestions about Shark Tank and Dragon’s Den!). But the thing is, I realized that Child’s Own Studio is not just a business for me; it’s really a craft. On some days, when I’m good, it’s an art form. And that’s where I want to be. Making good art.
I am inspired by the child’s drawing, a wonderful expression of childhood. Typically, a drawing is sent to me, and I decide if I can work with it. (I normally work only with children’s drawings, hand-drawn and coloured). There may be notes included with the drawing. I may ask for clarification about some details. And then I get to work, in my Vancouver studio. The machine whirs, scissors snip, needles zip, and everything gets covered in fibrefill fluff. Details and color choices are reproduced as closely as possible, and I may use some artistic licence – unless you specifically tell me not to. When I am happy with the finished softie, I take photos of it and send them to the customer, before shipping the softie to the young artist.
I love what I do. I take pride in my work. And I hope it shows.