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Cutesy but not Cutesy

American Made Since 2007

Diane Koss

Haddonfield, New Jersey
I'm the owner and designer behind the one woman army of monsters that is Cutesy but not Cutesy - monsters for the young and young at heart!

Tell us about your business.

With a burning need to make use of my idle hands, my love of all things fuzzy, and my mild obsession with antlers, the first monster was born in 2007. Inspired by my grandparents’ stories of stitching by hand, I hold true to tradition and stitch each monster with just a needle and thread without the use of any machines. I have been hand-stitching hundreds of one-of-a kind monsters to send off on small (and large) adventures of their own ever since. When not burning the midnight oil in the monster warehouse (and also my home) just outside of Philadelphia, I can be found traveling the country with my monster army close behind to various craft shows and galleries. I've since expanded my line to include monster hoodies, t-shirts, baby onesies, dishware, and more. Having already outgrown my first workspace (my two bedroom apartment) I'd love to someday expand to have some helping hands to work side by side with me, as well as a storefront to showcase my monsters on a daily basis.

What makes your business stand out?

I believe that every small business owner brings something unique to their company. I think my child-like sense of wonder and adventure allow my monsters to appeal to a wide range of people no matter how old or young they may be. When I first started I felt like I was sending small parts of me on adventures of their own that I couldn't take myself. And knowing that a small part of me and my artwork was being embraced by people all over the world, just fueled my desire to keep creating. Every piece I package up feels like a piece of me, and I think that's a very special and unique thing to have as a small business owner, that connection to your product and creation.

What's the best business advice you've received?

Stay true to yourself, your work, and your products. If you're passionate about what you're creating, people will be able to sense that and the right people will be passionate about it, as well. Not everyone will like what you create, but when the right ones do, and when they really understand and embrace what you do, you'll remember why you ever started doing it in the first place.

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