Our story

Melissa Bracken is the artist and founder of The Happy Groundhog Studio. The Happy Groundhog Studio makes Eco-Friendly handmade critters, monsters and pillows with a heart. These Heirloom quality whimsical stuffed creatures are lovingly hand stitched and crafted from eco-friendly felts, upcycled sweaters, and fabrics.

“When I was young my grandmother, who we called Granny B, made sock monkeys, stuffed bunnies, and all sorts of wonderful gifts for me, my sisters and cousins. She was so creative and unique. The sock monkey she made me became my favorite stuffed animal and I still have it to this day. I actually passed it down to my children.” Melissa’s grandmother recognized an artistic talent and also taught her how to sew. Later, Melissa inherited her sewing supplies and the best pair of fabric scissors ever!

Melissa soon took her talents to the Art Academy Of Cincinnati and earned a BFA in sculpture. After graduation she took a side step into the corporate retail world and eventually became a mama and aunt. During this time she was looking to create art while the little were around and could also enjoy. Wanting to give unique handmade gifts to the special kids in her life, she called upon the skills that her grandmother taught to up-cycle sweaters into stuffed plush critters. With her crazy love of animals and Granny B’s spirit in her heart came the line of plush creatures and The Happy Groundhog Studio was born.

“When I was a kid I wanted to be an artist or veterinarian. Looking at what I do now, I think the little girl in me would be very proud and excited. I love the idea that I am creating handmade heirloom quality gifts that can be cherished forever, like my grandmother made for me.”

So, just because you didn’t have a Granny B. that sewed for you, you can still give a gift of a wonderfully handmade and lovable critter that will be cherished for years.

Melissa is also passionate about Inclusion for all. She is an advocate for Down syndrome awareness. “Our daughter was born with Down syndrome, and since then I have learned so much about what it looks like to live with a disability. I hope to help educate others on how to better interact and include their friends with disabilities, and friends that may not look like them. Having a child with Down syndrome has taught me to be more patient, more kind, and to slow down and take time to listen to those that aren’t always heard. She is an amazing and beautiful little girl, and I am honored to be her mama! She dazzles everyone she mets, she melts the hearts of even the toughest guys, and I want everyone to experience that type of joy and sass!”

Melissa lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her Musician husband, two red-headed kiddos, giant dog, and a flop ear bunny. She loves spending time outdoors and camping with her family in the cutest vintage Scamp camper.

At the end of the day, we hope you have found something to smile about!

“Peace begins with a smile..” Mother Teresa

Contact:  TheHappyGroundhogStudio[at]gmail.com

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