If you’re a Games of Thrones fan, your first thought when it comes to dragons is probably Khaleesi. Turns out, there’s a woman right here in the Valley that gives Daenerys Targaryen a serious run for her money.
“I would like to believe I’m a lot more convincing as a ruler to be like ‘Hey dragons, you should be on my side,’ and I have obviously have more of an assortment than her,” said Shelby Mathews.
“I have made probably well over 100 dragons at this point and they’re all technically my children, so I definitely stand a fair chance at this point,” she added.
Mathews is referring to her dynamic creations. She says dragons have been her favorite animal for as long as she can remember and that’s what inspired her to launch Xeybhls’ Little Dragon Shop on Etsy. She takes material and hand sews the “dragon plushies.”
It all started when she visited a blueberry festival in Minnesota as a kid. There she came across a vendor who made dragon stuffed animals and she was instantly hooked.
“I could teach myself how to do this,” she told her young self.
The magic did not happen overnight.
“I proceeded to teach myself, stabbed myself several times in my hands,” she recalls.
After enough practice and patience, she mastered the skill.
The hobby faded but was reignited after she got into cosplay in college. Shortly after, she decided to open her shop on Etsy.
Mathews is aware that Xeybhls’ is an unconventional name, but she wanted just that.
She says the name was inspired by Kingdom Hearts 2.
Her dragon shop is doing well. She had her own booth at Phoenix Comicon last year (now Phoenix Comic Fest), and looks forward to selling her dragon plushies at the big event again this year.
Mathews says she’s humbled by the great response she’s received for her work and hopes young entrepreneurs are motivated to keep going.
“If you want something, just go out there and do it,” she said.