Thanks to all Kickstarter backers who helped bring Toby Allen's Real Monsters to life as plushies! If you have found this page after the campaign has ended, don't worry - check my website for details of how to order a Monster. Plus! read more about new Monster plushies or knitting patterns as they become available.
The Real Monsters were created by Toby Allen, imagining the monsters behind mental health conditions in humans. Cute yet creepy, who wouldn't want an Anxiety of their very own to hold, or a floompy Depression critter?
This year – with your help – the Real Monsters come to life as collectable limited-edition plushies!
Let's see some monsters!
Each Monster is a limited-edition, hand-crafted collectable plushie, made from luxury faux-fur and minky. The bulk of the Monster is machine-sewn for strength at my London studio, with details added by hand-sewn embroidery and airbrushing. Some Monsters also use poly-pellets and galvanised wire to fully capture the personality of the original design.
Backer Guarantee! Don't like your Monster when it arrives? Simply send it back in a re-saleable state for a full refund. I'll also be on call throughout the life of your Monster to advise you on cleaning; and I'll always welcome a Monster home to be fixed if there's an accident!
How can I help?
Toby and I first discussed creating a range of plushies in October 2014. Since then, I have been working around my full-time job to get ready for production – from sourcing fabrics to designing the seven plushies.
I now need your help to take it to the next level. Here's a breakdown:
Ordering fabric in bulk - ACHIEVED!
The Real Monsters are made of super-soft minky and high quality faux-fur from Shannon Fabrics. Manufacturing any textile product requires a large upfront cost for fabric rolls - around £900 to get started with Depression, Anxiety and BPD.
Create full time - ACHIEVED!
So far, I have been making and designing around a 40-hour work week. Working as a plushie-designer fulltime allows me to pass on more discounts to customers, through ordering fabric in bulk, ending my commute costs and – most importantly – allowing me to focus my full energy on delivering a high-quality product.
Make more monsters! - ACHIEVED!
My goal is to produce the full range of Real Monsters as both plush toys and knit patterns. So far, I have designed four prototypes: AVPD, BPD, Anxiety and Depression. The only way to make the whole series happen is to get the product off the ground now: a successfully backed project will give me the time and capital to develop the rest of the series.
And the rest?
Included in my funding goal is around £200 to cover posting rewards to backers, and £130 to pay Kickstarter fees. Each reward level also includes a share to the original designer of the Monsters.
What you get
Want to order more than one Monster? Add up the costs of the Monsters you would like (so £45 plus £90 = £135 for Depression and Anxiety), and then add on extra postage ( +£5 for UK or +£15 for the rest of the world. Then, select either pledge level which you want. Finally - send me a message and let me know which two you would like! I am keeping a record of everyone who as asked for more than one, so make sure you let me know.
£1 – One vote!
Toby has designed around 20 monsters - Bipolar, Selective Mutism, PTSD and more. But which should I make next? All backers will receive access to a poll to vote for their faves, so if your own monster isn't yet featured - this is your chance to have yours made next!
Want to vote AND want a plush? Don't panic! All reward levels will also get an opportunity to vote, so no matter how little or much you back, your voice will be heard.
£5 – Knit Pattern
Can't order a full-size plush? Here's a knitting pattern so you can make your own! This pattern comes as a PDF download you can print at home.
The pattern is designed on round needles, and requires knowledge of the following stitches: knit, purl, increasing and decreasing, and short rows. Make one for yourself – or ask your gran.
Stretch goal unlocked: All backers can now choose from Anxiety or Depression - or back for £7 to get both.
£16 - Art Print - NEW REWARD LEVEL!
11x8" art print of a Monster - signed by Toby Allen! Choose from any of his current Monster designs.
All proceeds from this reward level will go directly to Toby - a fantastic opportunity to get a beautiful piece of signed art for your home!
£45 - Depression Plushie
One limited first edition plushie based on the Depression Monster. With big arms and deep fur, Depression is addictively cuddlesome – just like hiding under a duvet instead of leaving the house.
Upgrade to special edition for only £10 - get a swirl on the stomach, taken directly from the original image; spots on the knees, and stripes on the antlers.Extra cute.
£60 – Borderline Personality Disorder Plushie
“The Borderline Personality monster is one of the most delicate but perhaps the most sinister of monsters...”
Don't tell the others, but this is my favourite - it's weirdly huggable. The BPD Monster contains wire to make the antlers stand tall, and to give the tail a poseable swish – beautiful and haunting. The feet contain poly-pellets, so they dangle as if the Monster was blown in the wind.
Upgrade to special edition for only £10 - get a swirl on the stomach, taken directly from the original image; and blue stripes on the antlers.
£60 - PTSD Plushie
Get your own limited-edition PTSD plushie! Sinister and shadowy, the wounded PTSD Monster is related to Anxiety. PTSD is big and huggable, but still sturdy enough to stand upright on a shelf, and comes with a fabric ball-and-chain on its hind-leg.
Upgrade to special edition for £10: The special edition of PTSD is fully detailed, with red stripes on its legs and mask, and huge red swirls on its skin - just like the image. Plus airbrushing to add a touch of angry red to the horns and tail.
£70 – Avoidant Personality Disorder Plushie
“They spend most of their time hiding in trees, using their leaf-like wings to camouflage and hide from anyone or anything that is around them.”
When I was a strange child, I had a cheap, ugly pink toy bat someone won me at a fairground. I loved that thing because it had wire in the wings, and you could pose it so it could fly, hug your neck, or strangle things.
No surprise then that my AVPD? Has wire in the wings! Built on top of a galvanised wire armature, AVPD has skeletal wings and legs to capture the wary, hunched-up tension of the original design.
ALL GONE! To keep costs down, I am not planning to order a bolt of orange fur initially. I hope to make more available in future - but there is a possibility that these will be the only ones released for sale.
£80 - Bipolar Plushie
"This monster is extremely quick and agile, making it very difficult to identify."
Get your very own collectable Bipolar plushie! the Bipolar Monster comes with a wire tail so it is fully poseable, and poly-pellets in the feet allow for dangling and swooshing just like with AVPD and BPD.
£90 - Anxiety Plushie
ANXIETY. Get your very own collectable Anxiety plushie. Cute, yet sinister, it's easy to imagine this creature hiding under the stairs. Anxiety is a sturdy, wire-free plush - huggable, but also looks great stood up on the shelf.
Upgrade to special edition for only £10 - get a swirl on the stomach, taken directly from the original image; a clock; and stripes on the facemask.
£100 - Social Anxiety Plushie
Get your very own collectable Social Anxiety plushie! Great for hiding away from the world with, the Social Anxiety plushie is a soft fluffball with big arms and a protective shell of deep fur!
Upgrade to special edition for only £10 - The special edition Social Anxiety is fully-featured, with embroidered paws and a machine-embroidered tummy swirl taken direct from the original image!
£350 – Sponsor A Monster
Want your favourite NOW? Then you shall have it!
At this pledge level, choose from any of Toby's remaining monsters and I will design one to order. Your monster will be fully detailed (no shortcuts to make the pattern easier for mass production), and you will have a chance to feed back on the final prototype so it is perfect just for you. This pledge level includes shipping, and all future mentions of this product will include your name or the name of your business. (Any non-crude name accepted – including your surname, the name of a loved one, your company name or anything else you choose. In addition, future versions of this product shipped will include a message of your choice – this could be a flyer, a short letter, or just “sponsored in memory of...”)
£600 - Machinist
This pledge level represents the cost of a sewing machine – the most fundamental part of my business. As well as the Monster of your choice (sent with shipping included + extra attention to the details), I will write your message, name or sigil on the sewing machine in indelible marker – any non-crude design accepted. Additionally, I will mention your patronage whenever I mention my sewing machine or the topic of sewing machines online – so this is a great opportunity for an individual or business.
£600 – Studio Patron
I will recognise the invaluable contribution you have made to my art at this early stage by naming my studio after you. As well as the Monster of your choice (sent with shipping included + extra attention to the details), I will hang your name above my studio door. In future, I won't say “my studio” online – I will say “the [yourname] Studio”. Any non-crude title accepted – including your surname, the name of a loved one, your company name or anything else you choose.
Stretch goals unlocked!
Other ways of helping
Toby's original art is still available through Storenvy. You can get a whole series of Real Monster Postcards - including his new series.
One of my favourite things about working with the monsters over the past year is the conversations it has started. Whenever I showed the prototypes to friends, family or students, it would always prompt people to talk about their own experiences with mental illness - their own, or members of their family. I hope that together, we can play a small part in reducing the stigma, by making invisible conditions a bit more visible.
Credit: page divider graphic by neripixu
Risks and challenges
I have already designed the prototypes, costed them and timed how long they take to make, identified a supplier and ordered sample fabric - every possible step to guarantee this goes to plan! The main challenge is to pair up enough Monsters with customers to make ordering full-fabric bolts viable; and to pay enough of my rent that I can
manufacture full-time rather than around work at evenings and weekends. You can help overcome this by sharing the project - maybe someone you know wants a monstrous new friend!
I have plans in place to scale my plans up or down depending on the response. If we are massively overfunded - I will hire an employee locally at the London Living Wage to help meet demand on time. If we are underfunded, I still have some fabric samples next to make one or two of each - but once they are gone, they are gone for good. If only the same could be said of our actual mental illnesses.
The most important thing is this: if you think you might want one, order one now, and share the project widely. I want to make these a reality, but I can only do that with backers who share my passion.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (35 days)