By Joe Vazquez

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — A cute collection of stuffed animals created by a Bay Area woman is surging to the top of some of the “hot toy” lists this holiday season.

The plush doll collection made several of Amazon’s top 10 bestsellers lists on Cyber Monday.

“We’ve just come out of nowhere as outsiders from outside of the toy industry that somehow have managed to have a place amongst the stars,” said Animoodles CEO Marissa Louie, 35, a former software designer for Yahoo and Apple.

Louie began Animoodles with a successful kickstarter campaign in October of 2017. Using tactics from the tech world, she crowdsourced ideas from friends and experts and began designing the dolls.

Animoodles is often the only startup competing with the big traditional toy companies like Hasbro and Disney on the Amazon lists.

Louie told KPIX5 the dolls will now be sold at Nordstrom.

“We are partnering with Nordstrom to sell Animoodles to 30 of their top stores around the U.S., including right here in the Bay Area,” said Louie. “So you can also go to Nordstrom.com and purchase Animoodles there now.”

The stuffed animals are not just adorable, they are unique because they have magnetic, interchangeable heads and arms.

Louie said children are often surprised when the toy’s limbs first come apart. Then the fun begins.

“It’s this Eureka moment when they say, ‘Wait … did I just break it?’ And then their brain catches up and they say, ‘Wait, that was supposed to happen.’ And then they start experimenting and tinkering and so we open up the whole world of possibility in terms of what a kid thinks a stuffed animal can do,” Louie said.

Louie said she is determined to expand the distribution of the U.S.-based toys so that more children around the world can play with them.

“We recently brought on the former head of sales for TOMY to head up sales in Europe,” she said. “And we are expanding into Asia, so we are starting to become more global now.”

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