We recently launched a collection of handmade koalas by Maiike, a small Australian company run by Aly Peel. We asked her a few questions:
What was your idea and inspiration for Maiike?
I’ve always made things. I started sewing my own clothes when I was eight. When I was about 11 or 12 and didn’t play with dolls so much anymore, I started making clothes for them instead.
What was your favourite toy when you were a kid?
My favourite toy was a pram made from bamboo and woven with plastic tape. I used to put my baby doll with white hair and my teddy bear in it….and sometimes my dog with a baby bonnet on.
Tell us a bit about your background and what has fascinated you about designing soft toys?
I studied fashion design at university way back in the 90’s but ended up making toys. Maiike started as a small fashion brand 17 years ago, but my passion and strength was always in textiles and making things by hand.
The koalas are made from recycled wool, where do you source it? and what have been your thoughts about using this material?
The wool garments I use are all sourced from charity stores. It is the best way to find materials that have character and personality. I’m always amazed at what gets thrown away. I enjoy turning recycled materials into beautiful new things that will be loved and enjoyed all over again. Wool and other fibres like cashmere, angora, alpaca) give us a feeling of comfort and security.
What are your plans for Maiike in the future?
I want to take my time with Maiike now, and look more closely at the materials that I use and the potential they have.