You can find the headquarters for A Monster to Love, a company that makes plush monsters, in the basement of a Fort Collins, Colorado home.
Twins Sam and Ben Tollison, age 11, and their dad Ray 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. They and their dad learned how to use the machine and hand-sew.
Since 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 and international non-profit groups. So far, they have donated more than a thousand monsters.
More than 100 have gone to Realities for Children, a non-profit group which serves neglected and abused children in Larimer County, Colo. Knowing that their monster has a twin helps these children believe they're also not alone.
Helping a hospitalized child is partly what motivates Ray Tollison to keep his late-night hours; so does working with his boys. During the day, he's website manager for World Relief, a humanitarian-aid organization, which also helps deliver some of the monsters.