In 2007, Orange County girl Hélène Park was missing California and adjusting to a Brooklyn winter when she discovered a hole in one of her hooded sweatshirts. She’d previously joked with pals about stitching gloves directly onto outwear so she wouldn’t lose them, and was hit with a eureka moment as she took the garment to her new sewing machine. “I happened to have a pair of underused mittens, and the hole was in the pocket area,” she says. “I patched the hole with the whole mitten, and the first Toasty was made.”
Today, Toasty Time gets its mittens from a family business based in Schenectady. While Park still operates her company on the side, preparing tags and stickers while watching movies and packaging orders during lunch breaks, the line has grown and now features hoodies in toddler’s and men’s sizes in addition to the occasional limited edition product, such as tank tops for the summer season.
While the mitten pockets are the line’s main draw, fans (like me) are also fond of the patches that feature Fréderic, a cartoon creature Park designed after the grizzly bear on the California flag. “I was pleased to watch my friend notice the double T eyes and mitten-shaped ears,” Park recalls. “It was the same reaction I had when I noticed the negative space in the shape of an arrow on the FedEx logo. A slow, mounting surprise.”
Once the mittens are made, Park assembles and sews the garments in her Williamsburg apartment, though outside help is sometimes required, depending on the current number of orders. Park promises more items in more sizes to come in the near future, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, make like the cool kids do and get your hoodie on at toastytime.com.