Rexburg woman makes mascot costumes for local, international buyersMar 28th, 2017 | By Copydesk | Category: Featured
By Lisa Dayley Smith
REXBURG — Shortly after young Flora Ellis learned to crawl, she crawled over to her Dad as he held a pencil in one hand and a toy in the other. Ellis reached for the pencil.
“He said, ‘Our little girl will be an artist some day,’” she said.
Fast forward to 2017, and the senior Ellis’ prophecy was fulfilled as his daughter now runs her own mascot business called Honeybear Mascots. She “creates smiles one mascot at a time” by designing, making and selling her mascot costumes.
A native of the Philippines, Ellis started her company there in 2007. About the same time, she married Rexburg man Dee Ellis.
In Rexburg, she not only makes mascots, but also paints business owners’ windows, and spends every Tuesday at Applebee’s painting children’s faces.
“I just do love painting and drawing and sketching,” she said.
Earlier this month Ellis made and started promoting her bunny and bear mascots for the upcoming spring and Easter holiday. She plans to rent them for parties, where either party organizers can dress up as the mascots or she can hire a student to do so instead.
Ellis starts her designs by sketching her mascots and scanning those sketches into her computer. Then she uses Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator programs to add the finishing touches. She later uses what she calls a “Head-Light Fiberglass” head frame and paints it with acrylic. Ellis’s mascots have moving eyelids and lower lips. She also adds air ventilation and a fan inside to keep costume wearers comfortable.
Ellis makes her mascots’ bodies out of padded foam and covers them with fabric. She also places an ice pack pocket inside to keep the wearer cool.
“It takes 30 working days to finish one new mascot character,” she said.
In addition to her bear and bunny, Ellis has made tiger, superhero and sports team mascots. She’s made costumes for fire departments, hospitals, pharmacies, high schools, restaurants and for politicians running for office.
“Any kind of character I can make into a mascot. In the Philippines I made a mascot of the governor. He used it in his campaign,” she said.
Ellis has made quite a name for herself by selling the mascots throughout the world to people in such places as Japan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. She finds it very enjoyable. “It’s very creative. It’s a lot of fun. I like it,” she said.
Ellis says the country she was raised in is incredibly beautiful, but it has only two seasons.
“Rainy and summer,” she said. “I like it here here because it’s not too hot for me.”
Ellis enjoyed a childhood in Manila that she says was very crowded and busy.
“In the Philippines the people are happy. They’re hard workers,” she said.
While she married Dee in 2007, it wasn’t until 2009 before U.S. immigration officials allowed her to move stateside and join her husband. She said for whatever reason, U.S. immigration officials are more willing to allow someone with a fiancé to get a visa into the country than someone who is already married to an American.
“You need to come here to get married. It’s easier. We had a long-distance relationship. That’s kind of hard,” she said.
Ellis studied English in school, and while she still speaks with an accent, she doesn’t have too much trouble communicating with Rexburg residents.
“It’s good we have an English subject in the Philippines. In the Philippines our second language is English,” she said.
Today Ellis keeps busy with her many commercial art projects. Later this year she plans to attend Idaho State University’s (ISU) spring carnival, where she’ll have her mascots on display. She also plans to do some face painting while she’s there.
Ellis says she loves watching her mascots transform from cloth and fiberglass into living, breathing, moving characters.
“When you create something, you draw it and it comes alive,” she said. “It’s not just for the kids, but for everyone.”
For more information on her mascots visit www.honeybearmascots.com/mascots.html or call 208-201-8594.