The Woobie and My Brand

One of the most asked questions I get when I’m out in public as a vendor and artist is “What’s a Woobie?” The short answer, which is what I give on a busy day, is simply “my baby blanket.” On a day where customers are sparse I may offer more of a thorough explanation.

Knowing that my online audience has probably asked themselves the same question, I thought I would elaborate on where the Woobie originated for me, and why I chose it to represent my business and myself as my brand.

woobieWhen I was born in 1981 I was given a traditional pink thermal baby blanket with satin trim by my Grammy Bea. I obviously do not remember those early years, but it seems that by the time I was able to chose my favorite things, this blanket was at the top of the list for sleeping.

In August of 1983, before I was 2 the movie Mr. Mom, staring Michael Keaton and Terri Garr, premiered. This is one movie I remember from my childhood, and I suspect it was a family favorite because this is where my sisters heard the name Woobie and began using it to refer to my favorite night time comfort. In the video above, you can see that a Woobie is a very hard thing to give up, something I have not been able to accomplish myself.

I’m not ashamed to admit that my Woobie has traveled to camp, college, and resides near my pillow every night to this day. Although I do not travel with it anymore as it is in fragile condition, it is still my favorite comfort (well it may be tied with my husband and my cat) and the first thing I reach for when I am sick. Some day I am sure I will have to relinquish the Woobie to a safe place, but I’m not fond of the idea.

A quick search on the internet will tell you that others have also referred to their blankets, or stuffed animals, as Woobies. I’ve encountered several people who do not need to ask what a Woobie is. One girl told me that’s what she calls her boyfriend. In the US military, a poncho liner is also sometimes referred to a Woobie. What do all of these things have in common? To me they are items of comfort (physical or mental) and love.

Recently I’ve been reading books about starting a handmade business. Although I technically did this in 2009, and more so in 2011, I thought it was time to see what other people had to say. Since I started slow, and worked in a way that my chronic illness would allow, a lot of things were intuitive. The Pink Woobie had already been my online identity for awhile. In the days of AIM my screen name was pnkwoobie and when I opened a non-college e-mail account I chose thepinkwoobie as the address, soon Twitter followed.

I can honestly say when I opened my Etsy shop and began to operate as a handmade business owner I did not give much thought to what my business name should be. The Pink Woobie was already me, and as an extension of me, my brand.  I wouldn’t have called it my brand back then, but that’s what the kids are calling it these days.

Now as I am putting more intentional thought into maintaining and growing my business The Pink Woobie is still the perfect name and image. Woobie is fun to say, and I think it evokes the feelings that I feel when I make and display my handmade goods. Comfort, fun, love, color. This is what my business is based on and really my life in general.

When someone wraps themselves in a  hand spun, hand crocheted scarf, I want them to feel as though that scarf was destined to be theirs from the moment the sheep was sheared. I want them to know that that they were thought of during the making process, and if it’s a gift I want them to know how much thought was put in to purchasing this special item for them.

So next time you are browsing my shop or checking out a new item, think about how it makes you feel. Are you comforted? Are you happy? Do you feel loved? I hope so.