The Etsy Blog

Featured Shop: Wassupbrothers

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

My name is Olga Zamyatina and I am the owl addicted softie maker behind the shop Wassupbrothers. I live in Moscow, Russia, with my husband Igor and our two funny and wonderful dogs. Igor works as a photographer and supports me by taking beautiful photos of the creations in my shop.

Since early childhood, I’ve always loved doing something with my hands. My family was a strong influence: my mom sewed all our clothes, my dad carved wood, and my grandma was crafty, positive and inspirational all around. Today, I sew using my grandma’s Singer machine, which is almost 100 years old. It reminds me of her every day, and inspires new creations.

I make my softies without patterns using natural fabric and fibers. I’m vegan, so I do not use fur or leather. If I am not satisfied with the fabric, I dye it with natural dyes like tea, coffee, or cinnamon. (I can often be found in the kitchen, cooking a large pot of vintage lace doilies.) Next, I take pieces of cloth and experiment. It’s magical to see how small scraps, vintage buttons, sweaters or old dresses turn into soulful creations. The idea that my eco-friendly toys will bring a little bit of love and joy to someone warms my heart.

I love giving new life to useless and old things. Some years ago, I was uncontrolled consumer. I wasn’t a shopaholic, but I used too much, I ate too much, and I wasn’t happy or satisfied. In 2009 I became a vegan, and many things got clear for me about food and life. I think it’s important for people to ask why they buy something they can make themselves. Planet resources are not endless. Recycled and handmade things are not only ethical, they have a story and person behind them as well. They are soulful and Earth-friendly.

It’s been a long journey to get where I am today. For the past 10 years I’ve tried to find myself through illustration, fine arts, and fashion. I studied at three different universities and jumped from one subject to another, starting with traditional Russian embroidery (which I really love and respect) to dabbling in architecture and interior design before pursuing my interest in fashion. At the end of studying fashion design, the question in my head was, “Why all this? Trends, brands, names, fashionable or unfashionable – why is this so important?” For me, it wasn’t anymore.

I found the art of soft toys and have been stuck on them ever since. They give me the opportunity to use all the skills and creativity I’ve accumulated over the years, and bring me so much joy and pleasure. When I made my first owl I did not think of it as a serious endeavor, but now I can’t imagine a time when I did not create my soft little friends.

All photographs by Igor Hive and Olga of Wassupbrothers.

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