J’adore Rousskine, a delightful boutique I discovered recently whose owner Dominique pulls from her imagination to create handmade animals, scarves, and other cute friends. I introduced Arielle, a beautifully made super-stylish little fox to my daughter recently, and they’ve been inseparable ever since. I really appreciate the softness of that materials used, and details like a floral lining for the ears is so sweet. Arielle’s proportions make her cute and hip at the same time! I was so curious to get to know the creator of this chic collection, Dominique was kind enough to indulge some of my curiosities, all the way from Montreal.
Can you briefly describe your background? I studied fashion design but found my real passion when I studied textile design. I had the chance to work in a small handmade toy company one year later. So I still learn everyday, and get to do what I love full time.
Why did you start designing stuffed animals and dolls? My last year in textiles was reserved for a collection project, and this is where I started making dolls and animals. I found that toys give me the chance to make colorful objects, and let my imagination go. I first started with knitted toys which I designed and knitted on a machine.
Where do you get your ideas, and what’s involved in production? My ideas come from everywhere! Of course I love Pinterest, but I usually rely on my instinct. Sometimes an idea comes from trends (ie. a fox is very trendy), but sometimes it’s inspired by a fabric (like the Chouwi), and there are animals I just love and want to turn into plush (crushes of the moment: sloth, raccoon and skunk). Production usually starts with a drawing or sketch, then I make a pattern, choose fabrics, and make a prototype. Some toys just stay at this stage, because they don’t look like I had hoped, or just didn’t have a “spark.” There is almost always some alteration made before I go to production, for example pattern or fabric choice. Production is done only by me, and I do really small batches of ten, typically just before a show.
What makes Rousskine unique? I think what makes any small company is its owner, and my imagination is what makes my plush toys unique. I believe in small local production and in toys that will last. Rousskine is a nickname a friend gave me. I simply like the sound of it- it’s a made up word, but it means redhead, comes from “rousse” and “rouquine” which are both French words for redheaded women.
I can’t wait to see what appears on Rousskine next, as I already love everything Dominique makes. She has been trying her creative hand at jewelry lately, and we may catch a glimpse if we’re lucky.