[Interview] Women/Nonbinary Individuals in Horror [GhostHostLauren]

We sat down virtually with Lauren, creator of Grim Grinning Ghost Co., an online store where she sells her handmade plushes based on horror video games and movies!

Use my discount at the end of the article to get 25% off her plushes!

MT: As the owner of Grim Grinning Ghost Co. what are some issues you’ve faced running the business? Has it been gathering the materials, marketing, or something else?

Lauren: In the beginning, it was more finding the worth in what I was creating. I really undersold myself in the work that I put into my products. Due to that, there was a LOT of interest though, but as I began to raise prices to match what the worth was, it started to stabilize and now, it’s just time and continuous marketing to keep the interest there. 

MT: I can definitely see that. I’ve run into similar problems with putting myself out there online and selling a product. With Grim Grinning Ghost Co. you make handmade plushes. What inspired this choice and how do you stay motivated when it comes to deciding what plush to make next?         

Lauren: This whole thing started actually in Lexicat’s chat since she’s OBSESSED with squishmallows! The idea floated around like “oh man a pig squishmallow would be super cute” and then I though – fuck it? Let’s try it. The Pig was my first plushie I drew, drafted and created, and she’s also one of my best selling, being a permanent staple in the shop. 

When it comes to deciding on the next plush, it really depends. Right now, I’m doing it based on what fabrics I already have available to me, just so I can get through the stock of what I already have, but I also put out polls and feeler posts on what people would love to see on Twitter! Myers is a HUGE request so I’ll make him eventually. 

The Grim Grinning Ghost Co. Website

MT: Sweet origin story. I’ve noticed you make Dead by Daylight and Midsommar themed plushes so far. Do you have any other themes or ideas in the future? If so, can you share them?

Lauren: Yes! I have so many ideas floating around in my head of other franchises that it kind of makes my head spin. There’s another Midsommar one I have planned that I’d like to execute eventually. As I rewatch some of my favorite horror franchises, the ideas just kind of pop in organically. Luckily, Dead by Daylight is a staple because the cosmetic variations at the moment are ENDLESS for how often I release them. 

MT: I get you, this happens to me with writing my books. I’ll be watching something and I get a new idea. I saw you moved from Etsy to your own site for the business. What hindered you when solely on Etsy as opposed to having your own site? Is having your own store easier or harder? Why, why not?

Lauren: There are definitely pros and cons to both. With Etsy, the discoverability was AMAZING since it’s a known site and it’s easy for people to find you. I decided on my own Shopify site ultimately, because it’s cheaper for me in the long run with fees and shipping, and it helps me build my own brand. There was a time when I was doing both, but having two different sale channels to manage was hard to organize, so I eventually moved completely away from Etsy. I’ll always still have my Etsy shop/page up, but it’ll just gently point you into going to my website instead. 

She’s smiling because she personally feels free, even though it’s just her being more immersed in this religion/cult. 

MT: I can relate. I had a store on Etsy years ago, but ultimately found having my own site was best. What do you most enjoy about streaming? And what do you enjoy streaming the most?

Lauren: In the beginning, I started streaming to just force myself to get through my MASSIVE game library. As I continued to stream and watch other streamers and accumulate a few regular viewers, it became so much more. I started streaming back in 2017, but it was VERY sporadic. I didn’t fully get back into streaming until the pandemic started, which I know was common for a lot of people, but it genuinely became my sole way to socialize and connect with people. The viewers that come and watch me/chat with me are great friends and I adore them immensely 

MT: Yes, I agree with that statement. Life ebbs and flows, whoever comes, cherish them. How integral is your community to your streams? Do you find holding community events/charity streams helps engage them?

Lauren: Community is VERY important. While I’m still building myself up, I don’t QUITE hold a lot of community events, but the ones I do hold are very near and dear. Trivia in The Fog is the most recent one I’m doing on Oct. 24, which is a Dead by Daylight styled Jeopardy event. I have some great friends involved, so I’m so stinkin’ excited to kick it off. 

MT: Nice! Looks like we just missed it but I’m sure it went well! Speaking candidly, does a low viewer count affect your energy in streams and distract you or do you not pay attention to it? Do you have any advice for someone who deals with low viewer count while streaming?

Lauren: While it is something that I notice during streams, personally it does not affect my energy overall because ultimately, I’m there to play a game that I want to play! At the same time though, I’m not worried since I also have a full-time job. I understand the anxiety if streaming/content creation was my full-time gig. 

There are a lot of things happening right now that can affect viewer count at the moment. While the pandemic has ended, many are being forced back into the office and are unable to be present. Everyone has their own lives. I know it’s hard not to take it personally, but I would be more concerned bout a massive influx of people unfollowing me vs viewer count. Unfollowing is telling me “ok I generally don’t like you or your content and don’t want to see you on my list anymore.” It just comes down to perspective I suppose! 

MT: Sound words. I too try not to worry about view count, but it does help that a fulltime job supports me. The unfortunate thing in anything artistic or creative like this is that it’s all precarious. But moving on, best horror movie scene of the past two years? Why that scene?

Lauren: In the last two years that I’VE seen or for a movie that’s come out in the last two years? Hahaha. I mean, personally a scene that has stuck with me for the last two years is the end of Midsommar, where Dani smiles as she’s donned in her May Queen robe and watching the temple on fire with her boyfriend inside. (spoilers I guess?????).

Midsommar (2019) | Square Peg B-Reel Films A24

MT: I think if anyone’s saying that’s a spoiler while reading this, they shouldn’t be online. The movie’s been out and talked about for years now. Why’s that scene stick out to you?

Lauren: That scene is just so iconic to me because after everything that Dani has gone through. She’s smiling because she personally feels free, even though it’s just her being more immersed in this religion/cult. 

MT: I agree. I did an analysis video on Midsommar and the cult years ago and came to pretty much the same conclusion. She’s free…but she’s not. I want to thank you for virtually sitting down and speaking with me about your store and streaming. I wish you all the best with both!

The video analysis I did on Midsommar:

One of our contributors analyzed the cult in an article:

A Different Cinematic Monster: The Cult of Midsommar

The monsters at the heart of Midsommar are the traditions of the Swedish society the American travelers are subjected to as they try to maintain sanity amidst what may be a murderous cult.

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Before you go! Get one of Lauren’s plushes for 25% off with my code, ‘WRITINGVAMPIRES.’ Click the image below to purchase!

Use my code ‘WritingVampires’ for 25% off!

Lauren (she/her) is a disabled and neurodivergent variety streamer with a passion for bringing awareness and solutions to accessibility – both in the online and offline space. Lauren is also the owner of Grim Grinning Ghost Co., a shop specializing in horror themed plushies and more.

You can find Lauren at any of her links below!

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