I asked Rita a few questions to get to know her and her business better!  I hope you love Rita’s creations as much as I do!
Mochi Studios is a place of hand made wonders and cute creations stitched with love by Rita.Her passion for hand made delights carries throughout all her creations fromthe tiniest mushroom to the cuddly plush toys that all keep you smiling. Herprojects are born from spur of the moment inspiration with a style that isvibrantly playful and full of kick-you-in-the-face detailing. Her favoritetimes to work are late at night when angry neighbors start to complain of hersewing machine rumbling their ceiling, during long drawn out phone conferences,and on nice sun filled evenings just before twilight with a cup of boba milktea as her fuel. Her creations will charm you with their looks and defeat youwith their cuteness.
Q: Whatinspired you to start crafting?
When I wasyoung, my parents never let me buy anything, so I would make things instead.Much credit and gratitude goes to my elementary school art teacher who taughtme to sew, weave, paint, sculpt, and above all, love to create. Also, mygrandmother taught me to crochet and knit when I would spend summers livingwith her. Since then, I’ve always enjoyed creating handmade gifts for friendsand family and teaching myself new crafts. 
My creationshave lived in my imagination since the first time I picked up a needle. Ididn’t have toys growing up so I would enjoy sewing or crocheting toys to playwith to pass the time. As I grew older, I delighted in making and giving handmadepresents to my friends and loved ones. About two years ago, I went to my firstMaker Faire in San Mateo and fell in love with theDIY scene and was determined to participate in its craft fair called Bazaar Bizarre the next year! So the following spring,I applied with my collection of plush toys, bags, and pillows but sadly wasrejected which broke my heart. Driven to pursue my dream, I spent the followingsix months refining my technique and focusing on developing a line of plushtoys and Mochi Studios was born. Pleased with my initial success of launchingMochiStudios.com and selling my plush toys through my website, I was stilldetermined to break into the craft fair world. I applied to the SF HolidayBazaar Bizarre and was thrilled when I got accepted! That was really theturning point for me and Mochi Studios became a full time part of my life.

Q: How did you come up with the Rice Babies and Ninja Beans?
The first Rice Baby I’ve ever made was a bunny one for my friend who loves allthings bunnies. I made it as a good luck charm for her SATs so she couldsqueeze it in her pocket and smile. Then I started making Rice Babies in otheranimal shapes for my other friends’ favorite animals. Back then, I actuallyfilled the Rice Babies with rice since it was something that I always had lotsof in the pantry and it gives them a nice weight too, hence the name, Rice Babies!
Like most of my newer creations, the first Ninja Bean I made was a gift for my boyfriend Lam forour anniversary in June. My Ninja Beanshave since evolved since then. I made the first one out of black and whitefleece and now I sew Ninja Beans from patterned quilting cottons and add a lot moreembroidered and painted embellishments. I’ve had lots of request forcustomizing Ninja Beans for a special someone which is always a joy to make!

Q: Who are your favorite crafters?
Eleen is a local Bay Areaartist who I first met at the SF Renegade Craft Fair two summers ago and who hasreally inspired me to start and grow my business. Her beautiful bags are made withgorgeous designer fabrics and are wonderfully handmade!
I also really admire the fabric dying and quilting work of Malka. Her work isalways so vibrant and colorful and urges me to play with unexpected colorpalettes, combinations, and designs.
Also, Christinemakes the most adorable plush creations with all different types of fabrics. Eachof her plushies are so carefully made with so many loving details. My favoritepart is the embroidered patch on the back of her larger plushies.

Q: What do you prefer – crochet, sewing, embroidery, knitting or somethingelse?
I can’tsay that I prefer one art over another because I love them all! In everythingthat I make, I like to combine techniques. My mushrooms, for example, areembroidered and sewn by hand with crocheted gills on the bottom. If I had tochoose, I’d say I probably enjoy embroidery the most because I can embroiderembellishments and details to anything to turn something boring into somethingfabulous.

Q: What has been your experience with craft fairs?
I was nervous about my first craft fair but all my meticulous planningand preparation really paid off.  I madea checklist of my goals of everything I wanted to make to sell at the fair andset weekly deadlines so that I would meet my goals. I also researched otherpeople’s experiences and advice about craft fairs which was really helpful inpreparing me for my first craft fair. Here are some helpful links:

At the fairs themselves, I’m always really happy with my over-preparednessand really enjoyed seeing face light up and smile when they see and squish myplush toys and making friends with fellow vendors and swapping goods. Overall,it was a lot of really hard work and sleepless nights to sew enough plush toysto sell at the craft fairs and a lot of stress to figure out all the littledetails. I was so exhausted after two weekend holiday craft fairs that I sadlydidn’t have enough time and energy to make Christmas presents for my friendsand family. What I gained the most from vending at the craft fairs was thefriendships I made with the vendors and customers, the exposure for Mochi Studios, and the satisfaction of doing what I love and making people smile(which I don’t get from my 8-6 job). I probably won’t do two craft shows backto back again but I do look forward to applying and vending in future craftshows! Here I amagain, working on my application for the Maker Faire Bazaar Bizarre right now.Wish me luck!
See something you like? Feel free to email Rita for a specialcustom plush toy!
Thank youso much, Amy, for interviewing Mochi Studios!
Thank you for sharing Rita!  I hope you all go subscribe to Rita’s blog so you can keep up with her and her exciting creations :)

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