Ray Tollison looks over the shoulder of his son Sam as he works on a drawing of a monster doll at their home in Fort Collins, Colo. The Tollisons launched A Monster to Love 18 months ago.
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Ray Tollison regularly stays up until 2 a.m. working at his company’s headquarters — his Fort Collins basement — while his business partners sleep.
They need it. Mr. Tollison’s two partners in A Monster to Love, a company that makes plush monsters, are his twin sons, Sam and Ben, 11.
The trio launched the company 18 months ago with an old Singer sewing machine and ideas that bubbled out of Ben, the lead designer (Sam spearheads the sewing). The boys were inspired by their collections of stuffed toys, including Uglydolls.
Because Ben and Sam are fraternal twins, they wanted each plush monster to have a not-quite-exact duplicate, so they make them all in pairs. Buy one monster — they start at $25 — and A Monster to Love will donate the second to another child. They send them to hospitalized children, and to several local nonprofit groups. So far, more than a thousand monsters have been donated.
More than 100 have gone to Realities for Children, says Jennifer Varner, marketing and events director for the nonprofit, which serves neglected and abused children in Colorado. Knowing their monster has a twin helps these children believe they’re also not alone, she said.
The toys are also sold at Amonstertolove.com, and on Etsy.com.