If it wasn’t for Ashley Ross’ son, who knows if The Cuddle Cult would even exist. After creating celebrity plush dolls recreationally for a month, Ross decided to show her wares to the world in 2016, creating The Cuddle Cult as a way to sell her pop culture-inspired plush toys.
In the time since The Cuddle Cult opened, Ross’ Golden Girls Collection ($40- $80) — which features dolls depicting characters Blanche, Dorothy, Sophia and Rose — has been one of the bestsellers. “[The first time they were brought out] was for a Valentine’s Day show that I had in Pittsburgh,” says Ross. “Golden Girls was kind of going through that revival and people were starting to think it was nostalgic and fun.”
The plushes start on Ross’ iPad, where she draws the designs, and she sends them to a printer to print them onto a fabric. From there, Ross cuts and sews the fabric together to create the plushes. In the five years she’s been operating The Cuddle Cult out of her home in Lakewood, Ross’ dolls have found their ways into the hands of some of the celebrities she draws, with one of the Rose plushes from the collection sitting on the desk of the real Betty White.
“Betty White sent me an autographed picture of her with her dog as a gift because she loved the plush so much,” Ross says. “It’s awesome.” thecuddlecult.com