A new Urban Family weekly series where we ask a China based community organization or individual to tell us 5 things our readers must know. Graci Kim is anything but ordinary. With an impressive resume as a diplomat in Beijing, she still finds time to indulge her passion of creativity and children. She has created a company called My Thingymabob which turns children’s drawings into custom made stuffed toys, bringing children’s drawings to life! And being the philanthropist that she is, all proceeds go to charity. Here are 5 things about her new company, inspiration and how you can get a Thingymabob of your very own!
What was your inspiration for this idea?
I have always been amazed at the creativity of children. Their imaginations are limitless and it seems nothing is impossible in their minds. One day I was channeling my inner child and doodling in my notebook during a work meeting (it helps me concentrate, I promise!), and I kept thinking how awesome it would be if my little monster scribble could come to life - into a huge, cuddly plush-toy monster. Then I thought, hang on a second, why not? And that’s how My Thingymabob was born.
How did you make it happen?
I started researching and talking to designers, illustrators, seamstresses, tailors - anyone who might know how to turn this idea into reality. It took a few months to get the first prototypes made, using the gorgeous drawings of my friends’ children who became the pioneering My Thingymabobs. But now I have a team who work together to bring children’s drawings to life - one huggable cuddly toy at a time.
Why did you decide to donate all the profits to Childfund?
One of My Thingymabob’s goals and motos is “one child’s joy being another’s survival” and I think Childfund helps achieve this goal. I chose Childfund specifically because I have been sponsoring a child in Vietnam through the organization for many years and I couldn’t think of a better organization to work through. Childfun is an aid and humanitarian organization that for more than 70 years has been dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities to help them break free from poverty. All profits for 2015 will go to Childfund, and we are hoping to develop our relationship with them even further in 2016.
You have expanded recently! Tell us about it:
My Thingymabob now takes children's drawings and transforms them not only into custom cuddly toys but also into hand-tufted 100% New Zealand wool bespoke rugs. The bespoke rugs come in four different sizes so there's a rug to suit every room of the home.
How can people get one of their own?
Parents, grandparents or anyone who finds magic in bringing drawings to life, can visit the website at www.MyThingymabob.com and send us their child’s drawing (or their own!). We will then take the drawing and carefully hand-craft and stitch it to life, which takes about 2-3 weeks. The cost for each My Thingymabob is $129 USD, but readers can use the discount code “2015TOY” for a limited time to get their very own My Thingymabob for only $99 USD. You can also use the code “2015RUG” to get a discount on a bespoke rug.