Monday, June 27, 2011

Introducing SukiSuki

 Hello, welcome to the SukiSuki blog! 

Since this is the first post, I shall start from the very beginning. This is my story... (the shortish version)

I am originally from the UK, and moved to Amsterdam in 2006 to work for Guerrilla Games, Sony, as a Technical Artist. A year later I then moved from Tech Art to the Lighting team as a Lighting Artist. There were only a handful of ladies in a company full of about 120 men. I became friends with Mariska, a Character Artist. She had just begun making her own plush toys, she called them Fluffels. We both love cute and fluffy stuff.

In March 2007 Mariska's husband was going away for GDC (Games Developers Conference) so we decided to have a girlie weekend together. We spent Friday night at Mariska's and Saturday night at mine. It was the first time I had visited Mariska's home and I fell in love with her work room instantly. I jumped at the chance of playing around with all the colourful fabric and suggested that we make something. We agreed to make each other. We spent our Friday evening sketching out our designs and cutting out fabric.  I designed a Mariska doll and she designed a Marianna doll. We only showed our designs to each other when they were done, I think Mariska was a bit surprised with my interpretation of her.

The first design

I had never used a sewing machine before so Mariska took care of that part and I sewed the extra parts by hand. 

Mariska and the Mariska Doll

Me and the Marianna Doll

After that Mariska suggested that we make stuff together, so one day we could open our own shop. I thought it was a funny idea but I didn't know how to sew, so that was that.

The Mariska doll came home with me and sat on my shelf at home. Friends, who saw her would tell me that should make more and sell them and I just laughed and said that i didn't know how to sew. Which was true. And Mariska would bring up her idea of having a shop together every now and then.

Then about three months later, when I was having a little bit of a hard time at work, Mariska's plan of doing something else together was suddenly very appealing. Since the only thing stopping me from doing what Mariska was suggesting was the fact I couldn't sew, I decided I would buy a sewing machine and told Mariska was in. I was finally going to learn to use a sewing machine.

For one week my Toyota sewing machine sat in it's box as I had no idea what to do with and was admittedly a bit afraid of it. Mariska came to my apartment to show what how to use my sewing machine.

Using my sewing machine for the first time

 A sewing machine is pretty scary if you've never used one before - lots of different parts, doing different things.. and a bobbin! I hadn't a clue what a bobbin was!

We decided we would start a company together and Mariska would still keep Flufflels going, separately. First thing - we needed a name.  We had a very long list of possibilities. I came up with names that Mariska didn't like and she came up with names I didn't like. It was proving difficult to find a name we both loved. After quite a while, I thought of SukiSuki.  I liked how it looked and sounded. Mariska liked it also. Finally a company name was agreed upon and SukiSuki was born.

I had to learn how to sew fast. To begin with I was not very good at it. I appeared to have this inability to follow a pattern.  From following the same pattern, I would get a completely different result each time. I had a million stuffed things that had something wrong with them - arms and legs were the wrong way, something was either too big, too small, too long, too short or just wonky. I also didn't have much patience with the sewing, but I got there eventually.

We had labels made, got a website, sold some items on Etsy, went to markets, and had our sewing days together...

In December 2007 Mariska left Guerrilla to focus on making fluffy stuff. The plan was for her to  leave first to get things going for Flufflels and as soon as I was able to, I would leave also to join her to get SukiSuki up and running. However, a few months later we agreed that she would concentrate on her Fluffels and I would continue by myself  with SukiSuki.

I created new designs, went to markets, sold SukiSukis in shops and to friends, but it was very tricky to find time to sew whilst having a full time job. There was always a lot of interest in SukiSuki but for a while I stopped sewing. Even though I was not producing anything,  ideas of new characters were always buzzing around in my head. 

Last year, Francesco, an Italian colleague of mine became more than a friend and changed everything. He loves his food too, so that year was spent mostly eating. He took me to Italy and introduced me to real Italian cuisine. I realise now I never really knew how amazing Italian food is! I was not sewing for almost over a year.

At the beginning of this year Francesco was offered a new job in London and he accepted. We both quit our jobs at Guerrilla with the plan of me going to London to and find another CG job. However, around the time he got his job offer, there was an unexpected interest in SukiSuki and I found myself sewing again. My heart was telling me to leave CG behind and pursue a fluffier path.

Now I am back in the UK, living in London with Francesco and will be SukiSuki-ing properly.  Starting a company is incredibly scary and exciting all at the same time! I am thrilled to finally have the opportunity to create many Suki's to set free into the world!

So that is how SukiSuki started.

The very first creation

This is the seed where it all began from, four years ago. So this one is particularly special to me and I wanted very much to remake her. I have given her a new name.

Meet Nanamoo!


Stuck in my moving box

The Nanamoos - old and new

1 comment:

  1. Gosh Marianna I loved reading your story about how SukiSuki got started.
    Your creations are just wonderful, I wish you well in everything you do, you are amazing.
    Love Katie