When most people are in the market for a new candle, they make their selection based on the scent. But that’s not the appeal of the The Kindergarten Teacher .
When product designers Mark Talbot and Youngjin Yoon conceived the Goober in 2015, they were determined to “create an object that people would have some sort of feeling for as if it was a pet.” Talbot describes their work as a split between “things that can get designed and modeled in the computer and things that get really worked out by hand and that are actually made and produced by hand.” Yoon, a sculptor-turned-architect, has always been very hands-on when it comes to this particular line of work and in this case, she endured a vast amount of physical labor during an strenuous trial and error process based purely on emotions to get the Goober right.
The Goobers are almost like little characters with their own set of personality traits—Eph (pink) is “lazy” and likes to be seen on a window sill or bedside table, El (purple) is “curious” and thrives on mantles or coffee tables, Em (green) is “laid back” and opts for the ledge of a tub or a side table, and Eh (blue) is “apathetic” with no personal preference.
“It’s almost a pet rock, but the single crease gives it what people feel like is a face, the arch of a back, or a belly,” Talbot says over the phone. “Something that gives it a little humanity maybe, a kind of connection to people’s bodies.”
This charming detail is something that Lori Keong, commerce editor at SELF, picked up on as well. “The first thing that drew me was that they reminded me of the Venus of Willendorf,” she stated. “They’re undulating, come in soothing colors, and have a playfully feminine quality to them that resemble soft, fleshy bellies. They’re almost disarmingly cute.”