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Featured Shop: Opposite of Far

Oct 9, 2015

by Jessica Near

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

My name is Jessica Near, and I’m the owner and artist behind Opposite of Far. I work with my small, four-person team here in Indiana to make felt animal masks, crowns, and beards for imaginative children of all ages.

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Opposite of Far started out as a dream during a difficult time. I had emergency surgery on my back in 2010, which forced me to stop working for several months — and then a second surgery, which kept me home even longer. During that time, I struggled with my identity and my dwindling work possibilities; it became clear that going back to my previous profession as a preschool teacher, or even working part time as a nanny, would be impossible. Luckily, I had a skill to fall back on: sewing. I’ve been sewing since I was very young, and I even dabbled in making and selling purses, pillows and plush animals once upon a time. It didn’t take long before I started thinking seriously about making my small-business dreams a reality.

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I took the leap by opening my Etsy shop in January of 2011. Before I knew it, Opposite of Far was real and prospering. In the beginning, my focus was on making plush dolls and animals, and in the fall of 2011, I created child-sized masks to match my fox and owl dolls. After three days of being in my shop, I realized the masks were going to be a huge hit. Since then, I’ve expanded my mask designs from foxes and owls to more than 80 creatures.

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I’m constantly inspired by the children in my life — nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and fans. When I’m designing a new mask, I always look to real animals as a model. I want my masks to be friendly to children, but also recognizable and more realistic than a cartoon version. My hope is that this will spark curiosity and pique children’s interests so they’ll want to learn more about each animal.

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Without Etsy, Opposite of Far might have floated away like other unfulfilled dreams. Etsy gave me a platform to easily present my work, as well as a sense of confidence and community. I still have some customers who made purchases from me when I first opened my shop, and their children have literally grown up with Opposite of Far. Seeing photos of their happy, masked kiddos reminds me why I do this. So what’s next for Opposite of Far? The sky’s the limit! I have some amazing partnerships lined up for the end of this year, and some continuing into 2016. I hope to see Opposite of Far in more and more little hands — playing, pretending, and imagining — and I hope to see Opposite of Far in more shops around the world, too.

Follow Opposite of Far on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

All photos by Opposite of Far.

Shop Opposite of Far

 

WOLF
WOLF
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
POLAR BEAR
POLAR BEAR
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
RACCOON
RACCOON
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
SNOWY OWL
SNOWY OWL
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
NARWHAL
NARWHAL
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
WALRUS
WALRUS
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
BEAR
BEAR
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
RABBIT
RABBIT
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
SUPERHERO - Lightning Bolt or Star
SUPERHERO - Lightning Bolt or Star
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
ZEBRA
ZEBRA
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
DUCK
DUCK
oppositeoffar
$20.00 USD
SKUNK
SKUNK
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
CROWN- Snowflake Princess
CROWN- Snowflake Princess
oppositeoffar
$26.00 USD
CAT EARS + PAWS
CAT EARS + PAWS
oppositeoffar
$20.00 USD
AMUR LEOPARD- Endangered Animal Collection
AMUR LEOPARD- Endangered Animal Collection
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
DONKEY
DONKEY
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
CROWN- Birthday- Pretend Play- Dress Up
CROWN- Birthday- Pretend Play- Dress Up
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
MONKEY
MONKEY
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
LION EARS + PAWS
LION EARS + PAWS
oppositeoffar
$20.00 USD
ALLIGATOR
ALLIGATOR
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
TIGER
TIGER
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
ADD ON to your Mask- Hats & Crown
ADD ON to your Mask- Hats & Crown
oppositeoffar
$3.00 USD
CAT
CAT
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
TIGER EARS + EARS
TIGER EARS + EARS
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
SHARK
SHARK
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
SQUIRREL
SQUIRREL
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
FROG
FROG
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
TURTLE
TURTLE
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
FOX
FOX
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
DEER
DEER
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
CHICKEN
CHICKEN
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
MOUSE
MOUSE
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
CROWN- Little Wild Thing
CROWN- Little Wild Thing
oppositeoffar
$28.00 USD
PIG
PIG
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
DINOSAUR
DINOSAUR
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
HONEY BEE-  Endangered Animal Collection
HONEY BEE- Endangered Animal Collection
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
FLAMINGO
FLAMINGO
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
COW
COW
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
PIRATE SET- Beard + Eye Patch
PIRATE SET- Beard + Eye Patch
oppositeoffar
$28.00 USD
DRAGON
DRAGON
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
SLOTH -Endangered Animals Collection
SLOTH -Endangered Animals Collection
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
HEDGEHOG
HEDGEHOG
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
HIPPO
HIPPO
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
SUMATRAN ELEPHANT- New- 2015 Mask of the Month Club Endangered Collection
SUMATRAN ELEPHANT- New- 2015 Mask of the Month Club Endangered Collection
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
CRAB
CRAB
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
DOG PAWS
DOG PAWS
oppositeoffar
$26.00 USD
UNICORN EARS
UNICORN EARS
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
CAT/WOLF PAWS
CAT/WOLF PAWS
oppositeoffar
$26.00 USD
BEAR PAWS
BEAR PAWS
oppositeoffar
$26.00 USD
DOG EARS + PAWS
DOG EARS + PAWS
oppositeoffar
$20.00 USD
BEARD- Felt Beard- Pretend Play- Dress Up
BEARD- Felt Beard- Pretend Play- Dress Up
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
STARFISH
STARFISH
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
JELLYFISH
JELLYFISH
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
LION
LION
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
GOAT
GOAT
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
GIRAFFE
GIRAFFE
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
MERMAID CROWN
MERMAID CROWN
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
ELEPHANT
ELEPHANT
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
PENGUIN
PENGUIN
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
KAKAPO- Endangered Collection
KAKAPO- Endangered Collection
oppositeoffar
$26.00 USD

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