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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

 

RABBIT Mask
RABBIT Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
PARTY PACK - MASKS!
PARTY PACK - MASKS!
oppositeoffar
$66.00 USD
MONARCH BUTTERFLY Mask
MONARCH BUTTERFLY Mask
oppositeoffar
$28.00 USD
UNICORN Ears
UNICORN Ears
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
BUTTERFLY Mask
BUTTERFLY Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
CROWN- Monogrammed Crown- Birthday Crown
CROWN- Monogrammed Crown- Birthday Crown
oppositeoffar
$26.00 USD
WOLF Mask
WOLF Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
LION Mask
LION Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
LADYBUG Mask
LADYBUG Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
SQUIRREL Mask
SQUIRREL Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
PARTY PACK - EARS!
PARTY PACK - EARS!
oppositeoffar
$60.00 USD
TIGER Mask
TIGER Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
SUPERHERO SYMBOL Mask
SUPERHERO SYMBOL Mask
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
CROWN- Birthday- Pretend Play- Dress Up
CROWN- Birthday- Pretend Play- Dress Up
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
DOG Mask
DOG Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
BEARD- Felt Beard- Pretend Play- Dress Up
BEARD- Felt Beard- Pretend Play- Dress Up
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
BEE Mask
BEE Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
ALLIGATOR Mask
ALLIGATOR Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
MONKEY Mask
MONKEY Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
CROWN with monogram
CROWN with monogram
oppositeoffar
$26.00 USD
PANDA Mask
PANDA Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
MOUSE Mask
MOUSE Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
SHARK Mask
SHARK Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
CAT Mask
CAT Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
DEER Mask
DEER Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
FOX Mask
FOX Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
UNICORN Mask
UNICORN Mask
oppositeoffar
$26.00 USD
SNOWY OWL Mask
SNOWY OWL Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
ZEBRA Mask
ZEBRA Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
LLAMA Mask
LLAMA Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
BEAR Mask
BEAR Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
PANDA Ears
PANDA Ears
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
SUPERHERO PLAIN Mask
SUPERHERO PLAIN Mask
oppositeoffar
$18.00 USD
BAT Mask
BAT Mask
oppositeoffar
$24.00 USD
GIRAFFE Ears
GIRAFFE Ears
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD
ZEBRA Ears
ZEBRA Ears
oppositeoffar
$22.00 USD

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