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Interview with Hae Eun Park creator of Planet Tokki

September 19th, 2008

The upcoming You Bazaar in San Francisco (November 2) will be showcasing so many great vendors we decided to share them with you early via interview! I’m excited to post the first one with Hae Eun Park creator of Planet Tokki. You must check out her web site and adorable plush creations!

Planet Tokki is home to silly and quirky creatures with their own stories and different adventures. On Tokki, you’ll find creatures like Plinki the carrotbunny, Dooboo the Tofu man, and legions of squeaky poos. Planet Tokki is lovingly handcrafted by Hae Eun Park, a plush designer that divides her time between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Your web site is cracking me up. I love Planet Tokki and need to move there immediately. Were you a crafty creative kid? Who inspired you most?
Honestly, if I knew where Planet Tokki was, I’d be there right now! When I need that perfect tan and an ocean breeze, I’ve got Hinky Fluff. When I need that brisk winter air, I’ve got Kokkiri!

I’ve always been crafty as a kid in all senses of the word–sneaky and creative. If something in the house was broken, I’d always be the first one there tying it with strips of a tee-shirt, using smashed rice as glue, opening the gadget up and tinkering with its insides. I used to also devise booby traps around the house and backyard for my other 5 hapless siblings to fall into. My biggest creative inspiration is my dad who is an eccentric man. He holds about multiple degrees, is an Acupuncturist, poet, inventor, and now in law school at the ripe age of 70!

Please talk about how you discovered Planet Tokki.
It was late 1999, I was about to enter my junior year in college. I was antsy and my brain yearned for something strange and quirky. I bought an old stuffed animal how-to book at a used bookstore and tried to make my first plush. I failed miserably and made what was supposed to be a squirrel, but looked like a seal/lizard. The error gave me an idea though. I should start making hybrids of creatures and see what happens. They started out as presents for friends and then took on a life of their own.

The story of Planet Tokki came out very naturally on its own. I’d simply look at one and know it was supposed to eat poo, or that this one here was supposed to be the town drunk. There would be no other way about it! I’ve always felt like more of the mouthpiece for this world!

Also, people need to buy many Planet Tokki creatures so that you can fund another trip of discovery to Yang-pa island. What dwells there? Discoveries such as the Daucus lagomorpha, or “Carrot-Bunnies” are def . enough to peak my interest! Do you have any new discoveries you plan to unveil at the You Bazaar?
Yang-Pa island is the newest discovery at Planet Tokki. This island is still a big mystery to the Cheezbourg Naturalist Society of Hinky Fluff Island. Even what is known still perplexes the researchers! Daucus lagomorpha, or Carrot Bunny (aka Plinki) are only one of the many peculiar creatures that reside there. Tofu People are the most pervasive species on the island, but are peaceful and docile. Eggplants, however, are a dangerous lot. Many a luckless victim strayed too close to an eggplant den and found themselves knocked down by a gang of eggplants! Researchers have just discovered a beady-eyed black bean that collapses when approached by creatures other than black beans! More research is pending…

The main research responsible for the discovery is in Hinky Fluff Island and led by diligent Naturalist, Jingy Scubb. Their biggest hurdle is wading through the enormous amounts of red tape in the Hinky Fluff local government. Lately, the authorities have been more distracted by the poo overpopulation that permeates their island than exploration. Only time will tell when the funding will go through. In the meantime, however, Dr. Scubb makes solo treks on her own dime to the island to study the Tofu People.

Do you think that earthlings are ready to be exposed to the Planet Tokkians (correct me if this is the wrong term!)? We can barely steward our own planet and here are all these lovely creatures… I wonder if they can they defend themselves.
Unfortunately, Tokkisomians are blissfully unaware of anything outside their planet. In fact, it was only recently that each island was made aware of each other! As you could imagine, this caused a great upset that lasted for months. Each island believed they were their own planet! So the very idea of Earth is a lost topic in their mind! Fortunately for Tokkisomians, no earthling will ever find Planet Tokki, as this planet exists on a parallel dimension.

I don’t doubt that Tokkisomians can defend themselves either. Matilda, a swamp moose in Hinky Fluff, is known for charging intruders and smothering them with her underbelly; Carrot Bunnies have a mean bite when cornered; Ninja Barnacles are painstakingly trained in the art of Barnacle Ninjitsu!

Are you a contributor to the Cheezbourger Daily? If so, how do you communicate with the rest of newspaper staff? Do you have a universal translator? What is your office/discovery laboratory like?
The Cheezbourger Daily is sent to me via bike messenger who is mum on the details. I only wish I could contribute to such thought-provoking investigative journalism! My own office is my apartment filled with stacks and stacks of fabric, a laptop, and endless amounts of fluff flying about. Sometimes I find plush stuffing in my cereal…

I’m sad to read that you may be taking some time off from being an ambassador to Planet Tokki. Say it ain’t so!!!
It’s true. I will be putting Planet Tokki on hold as of May 2008, but this is not an end. In fact, the hold is so that Planet Tokki can grow. As it stands now, I can’t continue to design, create the story, and sew all these little guys at the same time with the growth that is occurring with the company. So, I am researching solutions. When it returns, Planet Tokki will be bigger and more polished. Just wait and see..

Can I get a date with Goomi?! He’s hot!
Goomi….I spoke to some Hammies on Kokkiri Island who said there are rumors that Goomi is indeed looking. I’ll keep you posted! A barnacle king that can cook and fight? I see what all the fuss is about!

You can buy Planet Tokki plush at:
Wink SF, 4107 24th Street, San Francisco, CA
Planet Tokki will also be at the following craft fairs:
You Bazaar – November 2
Felt Club – November 16
San Francisco Bazaar SF – November 30

or online at

The interviewer, Minnie, also blogs about crafts and other things at Thank You For Not Being Perky.

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