In this installment of our series on independent makers and artisans, we explore the importance of creativity and laughter. The company Le Trango designs characters that celebrate silliness, on cards, shirts, and plush animals— reminding us to smile in a world that can be far too serious. I sat down with Christina, one of the founders of Le Trango to discuss the importance of creating and loving what you do.
Le Trango is a fun breath of fresh air in a world that sometimes takes itself too seriously. What sparked the concept? What made you decide to launch Le Trango?
Honestly, I was bored and tired of my daytime job and I wanted to pursue a truly creative career. Making and drawing for Le Trango felt very natural and genuine. It’s a very true expression of myself and it’s what I would love to create if I had absolute creative freedom.
What is your process to create your characters and— how do you get inspired to create?
My inspiration for characters can come from the most random things. They’re from conversations from friends, or when I go on walks and see dogs walking in shoes, or random videos from YouTube, or memories from childhood. Pretty much anything that makes me smile inside.
Who is the audience for Le Trango products? Do you often see Le Trango reaching across cultures?
Le Trango is for anyone with an appreciation for silliness or strange, stumpy creatures. I love seeing people’s reactions when they come across my characters. It’s an instant connection and inside I’m saying- hey, you’re not the only weird one here. We can be friends! I do seem to have a small following in Europe, particularly Spain! And a bit in Australia and Canada. Maybe a love for “cute” is universal? I hope so!
Why is being silly important—particularly for adults?
I think no matter how old we get, you’re never too old for hedgehogs with party hats. Or smirking sushi. Or thinking – when I grow up, I’ll do/be… I think it’s important to always hold onto to that hopeful, maybe naive and silly light we had as kids.
What was your path before your launch? Have you always been designing and creating?
I was a Psychology major in college haha. Then a couple of years into working, I decided to make a radical career change and started taking graphic design classes. After building my portfolio and slowly taking on clients and then working for companies, I started calling myself a graphic designer. I guess you can say it’s my daytime job.
How has your brand evolved over time? Where do you see it heading in the future?
I think my drawing style has evolved over time and I’ve slowly added new characters along the way. I’m hoping to start licensing artwork and maybe work with fabric companies because I love making patterns as well!
Do you have a favorite travel memory that inspires you, or a silly moment from the field you celebrate?
Juicy mangosteens from Vietnam. Mean monkeys in Bali. And learning to surf. Oh, and pretty much any kind of food I get to eat during a trip. My husband and I love to eat!
How important is the text—to come up with the personality of your characters? How do you develop ideas for sayings, or phrases to pair with your characters?
It can be super important! I sometimes will start lists with words that associate with the character, or I’ll let the idea sit in my head for a few days, and usually something I see or hear will spark an idea for the perfect phrase.
What is the importance of supporting makers and independent artists? I think we’re a real and genuine creative force. Since we’re usually small, we have a lot of creative freedom and I think that’s where you can see some amazing stuff.
Where can our readers find out more about Le Trango and your latest products? I post my latest doodles and ideas on my Instagram (@LeTrango). I also have an Etsy shop (LeTrango) and my own website: letrango.com.