Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

Photo of Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

Guadalupe Cabrera moved to Ireland from her hometown of Cordoba in Argentina many years ago. Having previously studied fashion and design in Argentina she has always had a passion for creating unique items which are beautifully handcrafted with the greatest attention to detail. To this end, five years ago, she established Guadalupe Creations - designing and making beautiful handmade soft toys, dolls and accessories in her studio in Dublin. Inspired by her daughter, her creations are delightful future heirlooms imbued with a sense of magic, humour and whimsy.

Photo of Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

How would you describe the style of your products?

Our products are modern, cheerful heirlooms that are meant to be kept and passed down through the generations bringing smiles to those who see them. Our creations are treasured for their quality, originality and sense of whimsy.

Photo of Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

What process is involved in your work?

My process includes machine and hand embroidery, sewing and appliqué but I always start with a rough sketch and develop my ideas from there. Then I progress to a second technical sketch outlining close-up directions such as fabric, details and textures. I then draft a pattern for the piece so that I can replicate the design later. Finally there is the hand-sewing process. I first cut the fabrics and then focus on the hand-embroidered details, when they are completed I sew the pieces together, stuff them with toy filler and finally the designs are closed by hand-sewing the seam at the side of each piece.

Photo of Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

Where do you find inspiration for your designs?

My inspiration comes from vintage children’s illustrations, animals and cultural icons. I’m also inspired by my own daughter who takes me to magical realms through the power of the imagination.

Photo of Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

What have been the most positive turning points for your career so far?

In collaboration with 10 other independent designers we created a store called KID in Dublin’s Powerscourt Centre which specialises in beautiful clothing and objects for children - whether that is toys or homewares. Many of the items stocked in the shop are handmade in Ireland and the strong edit makes it a great place to pick up really beautiful items for babies and children.

Exhibiting at fairs and markets is also a highlight for me as a designer and maker - especially Gifted the annual Christmas fair in the RDS in Dublin. Exhibiting and selling at fairs such as this helps my branding to become stronger and allows me to network with like-minded people. It has given me greater confidence, and a better understanding of sales and business, as well as a better sense of who my customers are. With every fair and market, I gain more knowledge and understanding of my business.

Photo of Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

What is the most challenging aspect about being a designer and maker or running a creative business?

My business has grown organically over the years. I am very creative and the creative aspect of things is certainly my strongest side. At times I have found the administrative and financial side of things a challenge but it is all a learning curve when you run a small creative business.

Photo of Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

Your characters are all beautiful and have different appeal but which one is your favourite currently?

I love Lulu Lamb and Foxy the Fox and Mr Lion now comes with open eyes too - it took me some time to get his eyes right - so I love him right now too!

Photo of Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

Who do you admire in your field?

I admire hand-makers and craftspeople who wholesale internationally.

Photo of Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

What aspect of your work do you enjoy most?

I love when I am working on a new design. I really enjoy the whole process of designing and look forward to seeing the final piece at the end of the process.

I also enjoy sharing my creations with my audience. When people engage with me and my products through phone calls, emails, social media or on my website enquiring about my dolls, their interest makes me really happy and motivates me to make even more.

I do feel a sense of pride when I consider what I have achieved with the business so far while knowing that there is still so much more to do - designing, inventing and learning constantly gives me great enthusiasm for what I do and helps me to keep going.

Photo of Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

If budget and time were no obstacle, what would you create?

I would love to create a book with all my characters and to create even more designs. It’s an ongoing process.

Photo of Future Heirlooms: Guadalupe's whimsical handmade toys

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