“Have you ever seen a panda pegathorn do muay thai?” I certainly haven’t. But so reads the quirky intro on the tag of a Squishmallow, the insanely popular plush toys that exploded in fall of 2020. (In fact, between January and March of 2021, the volume and frequency of searches for “Squishmallows” outpaced searches for “Selena Gomez” a few times.)
I’ve run across the puffy plush animals on TikTok on a handful of occasions, but I didn’t pay them any mind until I went shopping at Costco and saw a giant bin of mega-sized Squishmallows right after walking through the door. And when you see a brand on TikTok and at the very front of Costco, you know it’s kind of a big deal. Which got me wondering, what exactly is it about these toys that captured the collective adoration of millions?