Huynh Thy Anh Chi, a visiting university lecturer in Ho Chi Minh City, spends her spare time repairing cuddly toys owing to her passion for soft, cute animals.
Chi first had the idea to repair stuffed animals after she happened across a plush toy sitting in the rain in 2015.
“I should collect and repair broken toys,” she told herself.
Chi typically offers “treatment” for the cuddly toys, which includes washing them, changing their filling, and patching any tears. Each toy can take one to two weeks to repair.
|Huynh Thy Anh Chi has been repairing broken cuddly toys for nearly the past eight years in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|
|Chi patches a stuffed toy at her shop at 450/15 Phan Xich Long Street in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|
Over the past eight years, Chi has helped customers from Ho Chi Minh City and other Vietnamese provinces, as well as Vietnamese students studying abroad in the U.S., the UK, and South Korea.
Chi charges customers between VND30,000 (US$1.27) and several hundred thousand dong, depending on the condition of the stuffed toy in need of repair.
“I have fixed stuffed toys that were between 20 and 40 years old. They were not only toys but also memories and gifts from my customers’ parents and grandparents,” Chi said.
“They grew up with those toys, so they really love them. Fixing broken toys helps people retain their feelings and memories.”
|Chi patches a stuffed toy at her shop at 450/15 Pham Xich Long Street in Phu Nhuan District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|
|Chi attaches a ‘backbone’ to a stuffed toy. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|
|Chi fills a cuddly with new stuffing before taking a photo of it for a customer. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|
Chi hopes to one day open a “hospital” for cuddly toys so that more people can have their cherished toys restored to good health.
She also hopes to open classes for those who wish to learn her craft.
|Cuddly toys after being repaired by Chi. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre News|