The Daily Gamecock

Column: Keep your eyes peeled for cuteness in the shape of Squishmallows

Who said we have to age out of collecting stuffed animals? People of all ages are hopping from store to store searching for plush, soft, stuffed creatures called Squishmallows.

Kellytoy, the company that created Squishmallows in 2017, makes every character unique. There are over 500 different characters, each with a special name and storyline. Characters are released in seasonal or everyday-themed “squads,” such as the Fruit Squad or the new Easter Squad.

Squishmallows come in all different sizes, from three and a half-inch clip-ons to cuddly 24-inch creatures.

Alex Owen, a first-year finance student, collects them, a hobby called “Squishmallow hunting.” Her friend, who has about 80 Squishmallows, introduced her to the trend, Owens said.

“Stuffed animals, in general, have always been my thing,” Owen said.

The fun of Squishmallows is the hunt and the reward of owning a comforting character. Owen has had great luck finding them at the local Walmart, she said.

Not only are Squishmallows irresistibly cute, but they have unmatched comfort.

“They're really comforting to sleep with,” Owen said. “I kind of just like carrying mine around the hall.”

Squishmallows are sold in select stores and websites, including Five Below, Costco, Learning Express, Amazon, Target and Walgreens. Paige Watson, owner of the Lexington Learning Express, said she enjoys being a hot spot for people who are Squishmallow hunting.

Keeping Squishmallows in stock is difficult, which is why people have to search for them. Even though Watson's Learning Express location has been selling them for three years, Squishmallows' increase in popularity didn’t hit until last year, she said.

“Right now we’re trying to keep it for local people, like, the supply that we get,” Watson said.

As a result, they refrain from selling them online and save them for locals shopping in-store.

Some squads are more popular than others, making them even more tricky to find for Squishmallow hunters.

“We had some that were like, Hispanic-like flair, you know, like cactuses and avocados, and they had cute little sombrero hats on them,” Watson said.

The newest release, the Easter Squad, is picking up in popularity quickly. Included in the Easter Squad is Isabella the Bunny and a blue cow named Belana.

There is no age limit for those coming to Learning Express for Squishmallows, but college students are definitely prominent, Watson said.

Squishmallows are the perfect dorm bed accessory, and they double as a cuddle buddy.

“Well, I always like just having random pillows,” Owens said.

According to Watson, Squishmallows are popular for many reasons, including the fair prices.

“There's different sizes for different people. They're so soft, and they are always coming out with – you think you found the cutest one, and then a new style comes out, and it's even cuter,” Watson said.

If you’re on the hunt for them, stay on the lookout for new squad releases and restocks in retailers. Learning Express restocks their Squishmallow inventory about weekly, according to Watson, and restocks can be kept up with on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.