A question I get a lot is — how did I Heart Guts get started? Well, like all origin stories, it involves heartbreak, a cocktail napkin and a garage. My name is Wendy — and if we’ve never met, hello, it’s nice to meet you! 👋— and I am the anatomically obsessed illustrator behind these plush organs. I love what I do and bust my balls every single day to bring you guts with love, style and brains. I came up with the idea of these organs when, unlucky in love, I was drunk drawing sad anatomically-inspired hearts in a bar. That night, my nerdy love for anatomy met my passionate love for drawing and I Heart Guts was born. I hand made plushie organs out of felt and dragged them with me everywhere taking silly photos.
I also sold the organ art as stickers, buttons and shirts online.
One day one of my customers said his brother gave him his real kidney and he wanted to “give” a kidney back — why didn’t we have plush kidneys? So, through much trial and error and a year later, we made plush kidneys! Our first run of plush organs, made in 2007, were stashed in my parents garage (see, there’s the garage! Why do all business origin stories have to have a cocktail napkin and a garage? I don’t know, but it happens to be true, so there) because my husband, our newborn son and I all shared a teeny tiny apartment in LA, where the baby actually slept in the hallway. Anyhoooo. We sold out of our first run of hearts between Christmas 2007 and Valentine’s Day 2008.
I started doing shows, selling guts wherever it was legally allowed, meeting customers and hearing incredible tales of survival during some tough times. I have always been inspired and amazed by our customers, who manage to laugh in the face of illness. You keep me going, so thanks for being here with us! Anyway, here we are in 2019, we have over 40 plush organs now, and over 50 human body characters that have found loving homes all over the world. Our little family operation has been through cancer (when life gives your husband thyroid cancer, you gotta make a plush thyroid), a uterus recall and one Christmas where I had to extract 4 cases of rectums from a warehouse while 9 months pregnant. Thanks for listening!