Lauren Fleischer, the creator of Sweet Meats, crafts soft, huggable versions of steaks, pork chops, ribs, and other fine cuts. We recently interviewed her about the inspiration behind her products.
Why plush meats?
I like meat. A lot. I have ancestors and relatives who are/were butchers on both sides of my family. My last name even translates to "butcher" from German. When we were kids, my little sister and I would take weekly trips with our mom to the Karl Ehmer butcher shop in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. We would tear into the bag the second we got in the car. The entire ride home we would bite out shapes to make bologna "masks" and eat entire strings of cocktail frankfurters.
How did you come up with the idea?
I had had the idea to make unusual plush objects a long time ago. They were something I used to collect. Then, about three years ago, I saw a video and an online exhibit for Jennifer Lew, who makes things like plush videotapes and lines of cocaine (razor included) as fine art. That gave me the push to actually begin. I started with a plush ham and a pack of cigarettes, neither of which I ever finished.
What do you think is their attraction?
I've explained my own attraction to meat but I think there are many reasons other people love them. Meat, especially red meat and pork, is often seen as a vice these days and people love to be subversive. There's also an instinctual, biological urge to grab a piece of meat. Meat is one of those foods, like chocolate, that people have intense cravings for and of which they will go out of their way to find the best piece, unlike, say, milk or cabbage. Also, cuddling up to something that is normally bloody and cold is pretty funny.
Who is your market?
Mostly punks, hipsters, artists and Western Europeans. Sweet Meats, however, can be marketed to enormous range of demographics. They are vegan, kosher (even the pork) and your pet (or new baby) will gladly chew on them.
For more information about Sweet Meats and to view the entire line of plush meats, t-shirts, and toys, visit sweet-meats.com.