December is the time of year when countless children’s thoughts focus on the annual return of jolly old St. Nick to deliver toys to all the girls and boys.
But a local Westford woman hopes those youngsters don’t forget about another magical spirit who, much like Santa Claus, also works the night shift.
Stacey Eliasen, 36, invented Toothy the Tooth Fairy Helper as a way to soothe any apprehensions children might develop over that initial visit. Here’s how it works.
Toothy, as Eliasen refers to it, is a stuffed animal in the shape of a tooth with a small pocket sewn to its back. The pocket safe guards the tooth in hopes that the Tooth Fairy will pay a visit that night.
At bed time, mom or dad simply secures the tooth in the pocket and the child curls up with Toothy for a good night’s rest. The next morning, the tooth is gone and in its place, the Tooth Fairy has left her bounty as a reward for the child.
Toothy’s origin can be traced back to Eliasen’s five-year old son, Tyler.
When Tyler got his first loose tooth early last March, he was worried about being able to lie down while he sleeps, and, more importantly, he was scared of the Tooth Fairy visiting.
Eliasen had an idea to help ease Tyler’s fears.
“I’m going to make him a little friend to make him feel better so I decided to make a tooth-shaped stuffed animal”, she said.
“It was a way to make it more fun for him.”
Did it ever.
Eliasen said that Tyler slept with Toothy every night for the next two weeks before his tooth finally fell out.
Making the first Toothy was easy for Eliasen because she’s been sewing since she was a young girl.
Her grandparents bought her a sewing machine for her twelfth birthday. She taught herself to sew by hand shortly thereafter. Eliasen put her new found talent to use by sewing her own Halloween costumes each year until she was nineteen.
Once Eliasen observed how much Tyler loved his Toothy, she had an epiphany to make and market her creation. She theorized if other children loved Toothy as much as Tyler, this new business venture could flourish. So, she set about putting her plan into motion.
Eliasen already possessed most of the materials she used to make Toothy in her sewing supplies. She purchased the rest.
She also developed additional products to sell with Toothy including a mouth diagram detailing each tooth for tracking which ones have fallen out and a door knob sign informing the Tooth Fairy where to stop.
Her past work in the graphic design field of eight years, including running her own invitations business, allows her to manufacture every aspect of her product from the comfort of her home.
“I design my own tags, labels, business cards, and packaging. My whole business identity is my own”, said Eliasen.
After a few weeks, she received the green light from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ensuring that Toothy was safe for children.
By April, she was on-line at www.ToothytheToothFairyHelper.com. The site automatically redirects potential buyers to her Etsy page for easy ordering. Toothy is also available on eBay by searching keywords related to the Tooth Fairy and can be purchased locally at the Toy Shop of Westford.
Eliasen spends a few hours each day assembling Toothy in bulk. She cuts, sews, and stuffs to completion. Then she sews on the pocket and the facial features.
Toothy comes in two sizes, large and baby, with different colored dimples for boys and girls. All products, including the tooth chart and the door knob hanger, are available for individual sale. Or, consumers can purchase an entire kit which includes a large Toothy, a tooth chart, and a door knob hanger.
Business has been good so far. Since April, revenue through her Etsy site has increased every month. Eliasen is pleased with her place in the market after almost nine months but she is by no means satisfied. Her sights are set on much larger horizons.
“My goal is to be the Tooth Fairy Elf on the Shelf. Every kid loses teeth so every kid should have a Toothy.”