Squishmallows Take Over

Penelope Waterbury, CavCulture Editor

Cartoon by Ariana Tackett.

A new Squishmallow has been released: a cow with light blue spots. It’s 16 inches tall, wearing a fashionable green bandana, and it’s adorable. Desperation sets in, and “Squishmallow hunting,” made famous by TikTok, ensues as people go from Walgreens to Five Below to Hallmark, then back home to scour online resell shops like eBay, Depop and Mercari – every week, if not every day.

Whether people were collecting them to aid in improving mental health during quarantine, for their sweet, smiling expression and soft, comforting feel is enough to cheer anyone up, or just buying them for their loveable appearance, Squishmallows have become the most popular stuffed animal on the market. 

In 2016, Kellytoy created Squishmallows, unique for their soft, foam-filled feel; hence the name “Squishmallow.” Initially, they garnered no special attention. However, during 2020 and continuing into 2021, Squishmallows have taken over various social media platforms, especially during quarantine, causing them to become incredibly sought-after.

Senior Sydney Jacob attributes the sudden rise in popularity to “their overall cuteness,” as well as the pandemic. “Since no one can really do anything with their friends, they have to find other ways to fill their boredom,” Sydney says. “Looking for Squishmallows is definitely something I have done to keep myself entertained.”

Photo courtesy of Sydney Jacob.

Squishmallows are round plushies that don’t typically have arms or legs, just ears, tails, or even wings and horns, if appropriate. The vast majority of them are animals, ranging from axolotls to cats to dragons. Foods also constitute a fraction of existing Squishmallows, such as Scarlet the strawberry and Carl the cheeseburger. Each holiday receives its own special line, and recently, even Sanrio, the creator of Hello Kitty, helped produce a series of Squishmallows to look like Hello Kitty and friends. 

“I like their simplistic design and how cute they are,” Sydney says. “Also, the bigger ones make great pillows and the Flipmallows are great to fidget with.”

Each Squishmallow has a name and small description of their personality and hobbies, making each one unique. Belana, the cow with blue spots, loves to paint furniture and wants to go to art school. Emily the bat loves space and hopes to become an astronomer, Cici the red panda loves commercials and likes to create new jingles and Archie the axolotl plays soccer and even knows sign language. They come in a multitude of sizes, including ones that are 5 inches tall all the way to 24 inches tall. Despite the cute faces and names, however, Squishmallows aren’t just for children; they are made for everyone. 

Photo courtesy of Maddie Nosse.

“I started collecting because of how cute they were. I loved how they looked on my bed and all of my family members loved them so I just kept buying them,” senior Maddie Nosse, a Squishmallow collector, says. “I got them before they ‘blew up’ and I thought they were just so cute and soft, nothing like a normal stuffed animal.”

The rise in Squishmallow popularity, however, has its negatives. Despite the increasing number of the stuffed animals being produced by Kellytoy, they grow increasingly hard to find in stores. While an average Squishmallow typically costs between $11 to $25, resellers often buy in bulk and resell them online for double, triple, or even quadruple the original price. Belana the cow, originally $20, is often resold for $60 to $80 online.

“I like that they’ve been getting popular so they keep making new ones,” Maddie says, “but I don’t like how you can never find them anywhere because everyone’s buying them.”

Photo by Penelope Waterbury.