As we all know, I love super cute foods in any shape or form — but even better if it’s for a good cause. Essmart has launched the Happy Bellies Kickstarter campaign to benefit the social enterprise organization AND give the world cute plush toys in the shape of Indian food. It’s a super adorable way to contribute to a good cause, which will help increase access to technologies in rural India with every toy sold.
Avantika, Diana, Jackie, Aron and Daniel are the team behind Happy Bellies, which includes cute characters like “Dozing Dosa,” “Superstar Samosa,” “Jolly Jalebi,” and more. Diana and Jackie are the founders of Essmart, an organization that helps village-level mom-and-pop shops sell life-changing products. They aim to raise $60,000 through Kickstarter and the campaign has already gotten a considerable amount of buzz with a feature on BuzzFeed!
The team was nice enough to answer a few questions for me about the campaign, Essmart’s work, and the story behind all those adorable plushie Indian foods.
What is the inspiration behind the Happy Bellies campaign for Essmart?
About a year ago, one of Diana’s college friends came to India for a visit. They spent about two weeks romping by plane, train, and bus through the country, hitting up a new destination on a daily basis. Sometime during a breakfast in the middle of the trip, Diana’s friend exclaimed about a trio of idlis, “Aw, they look like little pillows!” Hence, the idea of making idlis into pillows was born, and progressed into what would become Happy Bellies.
What are Essmart’s goals? Which of the organization’s accomplishments are you proud of the most?
What will the Kickstarter funds go toward?
What has the journey been like leading up to launching the Kickstarter?
On you website, there are characters like “Superstar Samosa” and “Dozing Dosa.” How did you decide to assign certain personalities to dishes?
We thought that having just toys without personalities would be pretty boring. We chose the personalities based on the food and our experiences with Indian culture. For example, Superstar Samosa is a renown movie star because the samosa is a famous Indian appetizer all around the world, and cinema is a HUGE part of Indian culture. The ‘Lil Idlis are children because their taste is very bland, and, like children, they’re “impressionable” in the sense that they take on the flavors that they’re eaten with. It goes on like this for all six of the current Happy Bellies characters.
What are some of the team’s favorite Indian dishes?
Photos courtesy of Happy Bellies