As if collecting overpriced dolls wasn’t enough, I’ve also found myself getting into overpriced adorably painted memory foam toys. It all started with YouTube, actually. An odd place to discover a collecting based hobby, but there’s actually a massive community of “squishy youtubers.” From what I can tell, the whole fad came along-side the slime fad as youtubers generally do both and the target market is definitely tweens. It also seems that it’s these social media personalities that exclusively drive the market. Squishy companies announce new squishies, popular squishy Youtubers/Instagramers get huuuge boxes of new squishies from the companies and do “reviews” of the products, giveaways, etc – upping the hype on them – and then the squishies pop up on the various web shops, these webshops send more “review packages” to Youtubers to up hype on their shop, and then the recently hyped squishies sell out in a few weeks. The whole hobby seems incredibly driven on the “bandwagon” mentality.
It actually makes the hobby quite scary. I bought several of them with prices ranging from $10 to $30. I got one just yesterday, a tiny rainbow sheep that fit in the palm of my hand that I paid $14 for and I’m just like “why did I buy this? did I honestly need a $14 foam sheep?” Obviously the answer is no, but I also don’t need expensive dolls either, so not worth beating myself up over. I like sheep things, it hangs from my desk lamp and is cute. In general though, I am very careful about what squishies I buy, as to not get carried away. I’ve been sticking to the IBloom brand which has wonderfully soft squishies with fantastic scents and adorable packaging. I’ll occasionally venture out to other companies – especially for sheep themed squishies, but I’ve been a bit disappointed with squishies from other companies, even more expensive ones just felt cheaper!
Just like with dolls there are the “elite brands” and then a bunch of other random generic squishies that you can get for cheap but are lesser quality and not anything that’s hyped up. Knock offs are prevalent and there’s a very odd reaction to them in the community. Some are completely appalled by them, others embrace them and view them as cheap alternatives to the kids who’s parents won’t but them “Licensed” squishies. There is a lot of mascot pride within the squishy world and I see a lot of shops or squishy makers who have mascots they’re very protective and proud of, and then end up finding out some knock off squishy maker is producing a knock off of their mascot squishies.
It’s been really interesting watching this community from a distance, while at the same time reaping the benefits of it. I love a lot of the popular squishy youtubers like TheHollycopter, Shweihninzy, and MsTrinity143 but part of me also thinks this is one giant massive viral marketing scam simply driven by kids wanting to be like their favorite youtube personalities and pay obscene amounts of money for balls of memory foam that surely cost a few cents to make.
(The Hollycopter also has dolls too!)
I’ll probably still buy a few here and there. I’m a sucker for the scents (often fruity like peach, strawberry, or citrus) and anything adorable, and they look cute sitting out, even if the reality is they are just painted pieces of foam.
If you’re interested in buying a few, here are some shops I’ve had good experiences with:
And some Brands that I own and like / would recommend:
Ibloom, Chawa, Pat Pat Zoo, Puni Maru, and BunnysCafe [though I believe her squishies are produced by Puni Maru]
The above shops carry all of them 🙂