You could say that designing and crafting is in my blood. As a child, I always enjoyed writing, arts and crafts. I grew up with strong ties to my grandmother. She worked as a seamstress in a factory where I spent many afternoons and weekends. I enjoyed being there, feeling the fabric, seeing the process of product creation from start to finish and watching her sew. I made my first bag when I was six years old. As simple as it was, I was so proud of that little bag I designed and finished. My mother had a part in my curiosity also. During my childhood, she attended FIT training to be a patternmaker. I fondly remember watching her practice at home in preparation for her classes. She made many dresses for me during my adolescence. In between all those observations, it lead to me making my first outfit when I was 11.
I remember my days designing, sketching, writing, drawing and photographing. Whether it was writing, drawing, coloring, taking pictures or sewing, it made me happy. I loved the different colors of crayons and the feel of a pencil when sketching or clicking the camera. The humming from my sewing machines. The results of my imagination on paper and fabric made me smile.
As a teenager, I found my solace in writing and art. Poetry, books and museums brought me to another world.
While I continued to craft, sewing went on a hiatus during high school, college and the early part of my career. I lost myself in my studies in college and kept busy in life once my career began making less time for writing, art, sewing and designing. I wanted to be the “career” woman with my briefcase, black suit and heels in NYC.
Then, in 2009, like many people, I was laid off from the corporate world. It was my second lay off experience. Left without a job and a bad economy once again, I began doodling in my sketch book, cutting fabric and making baby shower gifts for friends. Later that year, I became pregnant with my first child. After a few months of designing, cutting fabric and sewing, the first two product lines for Yippy BeBe® was born.
After my first child arrived, I saw him gravitate to art, music and books. That made me smile. I made every effort to encourage his love for these things and found myself drawing and writing again. When I did, I realized of all the things I’ve done, writing, designing, drawing, sewing and photography make me at peace.
After this discovery, I wanted to find a way to share it with others. To make others smile by Spreading happiness. Giving hugs™. And so, Heart and Art Cottage® was born.
But why draw with Xs and Os? Because Xs and Os widely represent hugs and kisses, and I’ve always been a believer that everyone needs hugs. Hugs seem to have this magical way of making people smile and feel loved. This is how I want you to feel when you (or your giftees) receive one of my pieces. Spreading love and happiness … around the world. This is what gives me peace and makes me happy.
Mission & Vision
I believe happy people make the world a better place. So I’m dedicated to making the world a happier place by Spreading happiness through virtual hugs and making people smile around the world. Because everyone needs happiness and hugs.
That’s why my mission is two-fold:
- Social Mission: Actively work toward enriching peoples lives locally and around the world.
- Product Mission: Create unique and eco-friendly products to minimize my impact on the environment.
Read about our social good philanthropy efforts here.
Rita P. Cheng
Chief Hugger, Founder
Heart and Art Cottage® & Yippy BeBe®
Spreading Happiness. Giving Hugs.™