A Chicago mother is tapping into her artistic roots with a brand that is inspired by her children, but also pays homage to her mother.
“Fly little bird, the world is yours.” It’s a phrase Jennifer Einerson said to her children growing up, nearly every day.
“I’m here. You’re going to fail and you’re going to succeed, but just give it a try,” Einerson says.
When the pandemic hit and civil unrest unfolded shortly after, she found herself wanting to create a product that could encourage positivity the same way that phrase encouraged her kids.
“It’s the idea of bringing kindness and compassion into the world, and teaching kids at a younger age that people don’t have to look like you to love and support you.”
With that, Fly Little Bird was born. Composed of a series of either woodland, farm or circus-themed animals, each character carries a little birdie, which serves as a reminder to take a risk.
“For a child with autism, I’ve seen that impact of them being more verbal and the comfort they find just carrying them with them,” Einerson said. “Someone reached out to me and said when working with clients as a therapist it gives her comfort having her stuffie in her lap. It’s a broad range. Kids love them, but the impact is more than just of a stuffed animal.”
How exactly are the stuffies made? From upcycled clothing created right in Einerson’s home studio. She says each one takes a few hours to make.
“I wanted to base the brand on giving back in several different ways. So to me the purpose of upcycling at local thrift stores was a natural fit. I always find 100% cashmere and when I wash it, it shrinks down to a tight fiber. Those create the head, feet and hands. The [cotton] shirts I use for the bodies, and the inside is a natural organic fill as well.”
But utilizing donation-based organizations to create her stuffies isn’t the only way Einerson’s stuffies give back.
“Ten percent of proceeds go to Donate Life America. My mom was a donor and my dad was a recipient,” Einerson said. “Seeing both sides you see the giving and receiving but both are difficult, but both are amazing, and that awareness is important.”
While Einerson says honoring her mother through Fly Little Bird has had its sad moments, she’s proud to continue a craft her mother taught her, while also pushing for positivity.
“It’s a unique one-of-a-kind gift that not only gives back but creates so much comfort and encourages kindness and compassion.”
If you’re interested in purchasing a stuffie of your own. They start at $58.
Einerson has plans to create more stuffies in time for spring and hopes to expand the brand even further with children’s books.
Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3
Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.