Crafter Feature: AlphaDogs Studio!
Hello and welcome to our first ever Crafter Feature here on AnthroBrand! I was lucky enough to catch the very talented creator behind AlphaDogs Studio, Honey, and get a quick interview in between big projects! I am also super happy to finally be able to interview a crafter! These features are open to creators of all kinds in the Anthro community, so this is super exciting for me. Anyway, let's dive in!
1. Please introduce yourself! Tell us about your sona, or main character, and what inspired them into your life.
My name is Honey, I’m 35 years old and I live in Denmark. My main fursona is a red fox named Fenya. I’ve always been fascinated by beautiful things and the fox holds a very dear place in my heart. I identify a lot with these mystic and beautiful creatures that are often misunderstood and unwanted; even though they play many roles in folklore, myths and religion. Foxes are special, and spiritual, creatures that have much more depth than your average furry stereotype gives them credit for.
2. How long have you been crafting in the general sense?
I’ve been crafting since I was a kid. Always had a flare and fondness for creating things with my hands. In the early years it was mostly drawings, but around school age I learned how to sew stuffed felt animals and the interest for sewing kind of just stuck with me ever since.
3. When did you first start making fursuits?
I made my very first fursuit in 2009, three years after discovering the fandom. It was a black and white cow made with foam, plastic horns, and cheap fabric from the crafting store. I made the suit because I really wanted a fursuit of my own but could not afford it at the time since I was a student. I figured I kind of had a flare for this, so one costume took another, and soon I was making costumes for friends and later for the cost of materials.
In recent years, I’ve been doing it full time and I have never regretted that decision. I quit my teaching job three years ago and moved to France to try my luck at being a full time fursuit maker. I returned to Denmark some years later and have since then established myself, and my company, in the cozy northwestern part of Denmark; together with my partner, stepdaughter and our pets.
4. What sewing equipment do you use? Do you have a particular machine that is your favorite?
I’m actually a bit weird when it comes to sewing. For many years I was afraid to use a sewing machine and to this day I still prefer hand sewing for most of my parts. Heads, fingers, and toes I still do by hand, as well as small or complex markings on bodysuits. Tails and bodysuits I do on the machine though because its faster and easier on my body. I own three sewing machines, but my favourite is my Bernina Red which was a generous gift from a friend.
5. What brought you to the Anthro community?
Like a lot of other furries I’ve encountered though the years, I already had a passion for animals, and cartoon animals, since childhood. As I grew up, the interest and fascination kind of stuck. It was in my early adult years when I first accidentally stumbled upon the fandom. I remember it being a TV or radio show (most likely something nerdy) that first sent me in the right direction. Up until I found a word for it (furry) I was mainly involved in dragon and werewolf universes, mostly through art, roleplay, and stories.
After discovering the "furry" term, I started searching and first found an American forum. I spent my first year there, truly discovering the fandom. A year later I found the Danish community and the rest is history.
6. Tell us about a crafter that inspires you!
I don’t have a specific crafter I draw inspiration from but I draw my inspiration from the community as a whole. The fandom is my source of inspiration because I am surrounded by amazing artists and people who's stories and lives both push and inspire me to do what I do and excel in my craft.
7. What are your current crafting goals?
Right now I’m focusing clearing out my queue from 2020 which has shifted a bit due to a lot of external circumstances. I should be all done with the remaining commissions by March next year. After that, I want to focus more on pre-made fursuits, which I really enjoy making. I will also be taking custom commission work; but with fewer slots and faster turnaround time (around 3 months).
8. If you could master any skill overnight, what would it be?
I would love to be able to speak more languages! I am bilingual but how cool could it be to be able to speak more languages, right?
9. If you could give one piece of advice to new crafters, what would it be?
Be kind to yourself! Mastering a skill or a craft takes hundred of hours, even years. See every piece of craft work as a stepping stone to making the next one even better. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes but look at it as an opportunity to learn and grow! Be proud of every step you take on this journey and be curious about yourself and your progress. Keep pushing but also remember to step back and relax when you need to. Don’t be afraid to take pride in your work even if others don’t at the time. It will come. Do art for you, because it makes you happy, not because someone tells you to. The same goes for commission work. Do it because you find joy in creating, the result will shine through in the end. Embrace the process.
10. What prompted you to begin taking commissions for fursuits? How was it when you first started out?
I started doing commissions because I needed money to cover the crafting materials. In the beginning the suits were mainly made for friends and at material cost. Later, I slowly started taking money for my work since suit making was my side gig when I studied. Things evolved slowly at first, but 3 years ago I finally took the leap, quit my job, and now I do this full time.
11. What advice do you have for crafters that are thinking about beginning to take commissions for the first time?
Starting out as an artist can be hard. You need to build up a reputation, a baseline if you will, and getting there might take time. Don’t expect to make large amounts of money in the beginning. As I mentioned, I started out doing suits for cost of materials and did that for a long time until I had enough experience under my belt, up until I could start to charge a little for my work. I would strongly recommend having an actual savings if you want to go full time commission-based artist. Money might be tight the first few years.
Another very important thing is to remember to put money aside for taxes. When you start to make decent money, remember that you as an artist must pay your own health insurance and pension. Think ahead but most importantly take good care of yourself both mentally and physically. Your body is what creates these amazing things, you can’t risk breaking that.
Most importantly though, don’t give up! Have faith. Keep trying. Practice, practice, practice. And when you think you’re done practicing, then practice some more. Remember to be patient and kind to yourself and remember that being a commission-based artist isn't for everyone. There's a lot of pressure when you work with other people. Don’t take too much on your plate at once. Be open, communicate, and don’t spend the client's money before your job is done, and delivered, in case you need to do a refund. There is no shame in quitting if this line of work isn’t for you, just saying.
12. What's your favorite thing about the Anthro community?
I’ve always loved how open, warm, and welcoming the community has been. I’ve met some of the most amazing people here, formed deep friendships, and even found love. Finding the community was like finding home. A new family. It gave me a voice, and a chance to be, and create, great things. If it was not for the community I would not be living out my dream right now and living my best life. <3
13. Tell us a little known fact about yourself!
I am lactose intolerant and I identify as Non-binary. My pronouns are she/they. I have a Maine-Coon cat named Sushi (you can see her in some of my videos) and a brown Labrador puppy named Bumle.
14. Where can we find you online?
My main platform is Twitter but I’m also active on Telegram where you can follow my announcement channel for news and pictures. I also have a website if you want to browse my general prices and suit options. I also have Instagram but I don’t really use it as often.
There we have it, our first ever crafter interview and I'm so glad it was with Honey from AlphaDogs Studio! (A big thanks to Honey for participating! <3) Honey and I have known each other for a number of years and I have been fortunate enough to see her fursuit business grow from just a hobby to a full blown business. It just goes to show that if you really put your mind to it, anything is possible, especially in the Anthro community. There will always be people who doubt and disagree, but don't let them get you down. Stick to you dreams and keep pushing forward, you won't regret it!
If you or anyone you know are interested in a feature like this one, please reach out! You can contact me via Twitter (@AnthroBrand), Email: Mariah@AnthroBrand.com, or even join the AnthroBrand Discord Server! Thanks for reading~