For today's NEXT BIG THING meet Anna Lee, a Chinese-American designer currently living in Seoul! Anna's Annamatic brand creates friendly felt iPod accessories like this adorable Gregory iPhone cozy. Read on learn more about her adorable amphibians!
Tell us about your company and how you got your start.
Annamatic was a childhood nickname that my older sisters and brother gave me because as the youngest I was always stuck washing the dishes. I worked for five years as an art director and designer at an ad agency in New York before quitting in 2005 to go freelance and move to Korea with my husband. I started using the name "Annamatic" for these solo endeavors, designing for web and print, doing a bit of illustration, and designing and sewing iPod cozies.
What inspires you?
Travel, design, art, illustration, tasty food, anything that tells a story.
Please tell us Gregory's story!
I casually drew up a pattern for Gregory before going off to a coffee shop. Gregory was still a half-sewn pile of felt when the owner of the café, who'd been sitting across the table from us, leaned over and asked (in Korean), "What are you making?" I explained that I was making iPhone cozies. The café owner became very excited. Firstly, she loved the cozies, and would declare to anyone in the cafe who would listen, "Hey, look at these pouches for iPhones! Aren't they BEAUTIFUL?! Aren't they cute?! Do you need one?!" Finally, after a flurry of questions and inspections of my products, her companion plopped 25,000 won (about $25) down in front of me and declared, "I want the frog." And so, Gregory got stitched up and sold right then and there. After attaching the snap buttons to his feet that evening, I returned to the coffee shop the next day to drop him off with his new owner.
Why did you choose the name Gregory?
"Frog" in Korean is "Geggori." When my husband and I first moved into our traditional Korean house two years ago, we were pleasantly surprised to find two frogs living in our courtyard. We followed their antics all spring and summer. Sadly after they went into hibernation at the end of that summer, they didn't return, but we found them to be such delightful pets that we're thinking of getting another pair before the rainy season starts this summer. I decided to name this cozy "Gregory" in honor of our frog friends.