Gung hay fat choy! Chuc mung nam moi! Happy Lunar New Year and Happy Year of the Rabbit! May you and your family be filled with joy, peace, and good fortune in the Year of the Rabbit!

Happy New Year Hello Kitty(via Hello Kitty Facebook page)

I celebrated the New Year with my extended family last weekend with a great feast made by my aunt and uncle hosted at their house! It’s the one time of year that my aunt and uncle cook up delicious dishes that only make an appearance at our annual New Years dinner like lettuce wraps with minced pork, vegetarian delight with glass noodles, roasted squab, and more! It’s always a good sigh to start the New Year with delicious food coma!

I hope you all get to celebrate the Lunar New Year with good food, friends and family and I pray for all of you to be in good health and full of happiness and joy today and always!

Bunny Good Wishes(via Daily Bunny)

The Lunar New Year, always a couple weeks after the western calendar’s New Year, always gives me a moment to reflect on my New Years resolutions and reaffirm them for the coming year. Last year was Mochi Studios’ first full year as a full-time crafty endeavor for me and the experience has been beyond my wildest dreams and I know I can make it grow in more dimensions this year!

I’d like to share some of my most cherished Mochi Studios moments of last year~

  • Maker Faire Bazaar Bizarre Craft Fair ~ I applied for this craft fair the previous year in 2009 and didn’t get it but I reapplied last year and got accepted and I conquered the fair! It was definitely my number one goal last year and now I’m very proud to have vended at such a prominent Bay Area event!
    Rita and Lam at Mochi Studios' Booth
  • Etsy shop ~ Last year was the first year I dedicated time and effort into growing my Etsy shop as the primary channel to sell my plushies online. Last year,  I started the year with only one Pea Pod Plush sale from someone who was actually a friend from church. Throughout the year, I learned to take better pictures of my work using my new Nikon DSLR camera (a gift from my boyfriend!) and create a strong shop presence on Etsy through relisting plushies everyday and become included in Etsy treasuries. Moreover, I joined several Etsy street teams and I can honestly say, the Etsy Plush Team has really changed my life and helped motivate me and give me a sense of community with a common goal of making awesome plushies!  I was thrilled with gaining momentum throughout the year and especially during the summer and holiday seasons! I can’t believe how far I’ve come!
    Etsy Shop screenshot
  • Featured in blogs ~ Mochi Studios and our plushies were  featured in many blogs last year! It was always such a shock and also an honor to be featured in blogs that I follow and to find out about new blogs when I find out that they featured me. I keep a running list of blogs I’m recently mentioned in in my Press section on the right side bar and in the Links page. TokyoBunnie, creator of Bored Inc., is someone I’ve followed and admired for a long time for her extremely cute designs and success and when she blogged about Mochi Studios last August, I experienced an extreme increase in sales and interest in Mochi Studios and I’m very grateful to her for the recognition! I was also super surprised and elated to be featured by Super Cute Kawaii on their blog that is filled with daily cute inspiration for me! At the end of last year, my biggest shock was a mention in the Craft Zine blog! They shared a picture of my hand-stitched gnomes from the Bazaar Bizarre Holiday show! It was a great year of many wonderful people spreading the word about Mochi Studios. Thank you to each one of you for helping Mochi Studios grow!
    Bazaare Bizarre 2010 Gnomes(via Craft Zine Blog)
  • Giant Pea Pod Plushies ~ It was the year of Giant Pea Pod Plushies! I still can’t believe the number of giant pea pod plushie requests that come by and I can only make one at a time because they take up a lot of time and resources but wow they are fun to make and very hard to part with! The first giant pea pod plush I made in July for newly wed couple here in the Bay Area.  I made a giant bunny and carrot wedding pea pod plush and mailed it to Australia! And finally, I made a giant set for Geri & Eric for their wedding! I have yet to make one for myself to enjoy! I do anticipate making more Giant Pea Pod Plushies in the near future!
    Giant Peas in a Pod Plush

Wow! Mochi Studios has come such a long way since a year ago! So much has happened and I look forward to developing Mochi Studios in the new year! These are my goals for this year~

  • Get Published in Print ~ My biggest ambition now is to be published in print, whether it be in a magazine, newspaper or book. I need to gather information on how to apply to be published, make media press kits, and get to know people in the print world.
    Stuffed Magazine 2010
  • Write Tutorials ~ I’ve received a lot feedback from people who want to learn how to make their own plushies which is fantastic! I want to grow Mochi Studios to become a resource for aspiring plush makers to come and learn how to select fabrics, sew plushies, and personalize them to make truly unique, one of a kind creations!
    Ninja Bean Tutorial - Step 1
  • Expand Repertoire ~ Mochi Studios didn’t start out as a handmade plushie factory. I originally also made many other things such as quilts, pillows, bags, jewelry and more. I was surprised that my plushies were my most popular creations but I’m also thrilled to be gaining a reputation as a plush artist. I want to continue to create new plushies as well as designing bags and other things to continue to fuel my creativity and challenge me so look out for new stuff in the future! You can see more of my new and old creations on my Flickr photostream.
    Dresden Plate Pillow
  • Find Balance ~ It’s been a growing challenge for me to balance the growth of Mochi Studios with my day job and I hope to continue to make plushies throughout the year for everyone who wants and appreciates custom handmade plush toys without having to close my shop whenever I get more requests than I can handle. I want to continue enjoying creating and working and having some fun too!
    Goofy Rita
  • Develop Friendships ~ I’ve gotten to know many kind and talented people near me and through the internet and hope to grow these friendships and become closer to those that share my same passions and can help ignite more crafty aspirations in me.

As you can see, I have great ambitions for Mochi Studios this year. Thank you to each one of you for supporting me personally and Mochi Studios as well. Mochi Studios would not exist without the friends I’ve gotten to know and who continue to  encourage me to grow and create! Thank you all and Happy Lunar New Year!

Also, all bunny plushies are on sale in the Etsy Shop and custom bunny plush requests are highly encouraged!

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