There’s a new kid in the YouTube neighborhood, and she’s from North Idaho.
Mopsy was created by Matt and Lily Edwards to be the feminine answer to Blippi, a YouTube personality their children love watching.
“Being someone who’s worked in film and TV for many years, I’d watch Blippi and say, ‘Wow, we could do that,’ ” Matt Edwards said.
When he lost his job at a nonprofit that works with filmmakers, thanks to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the couple decided to move away from Los Angeles and focus on creating Mopsy through their new business, Hitch N’ Go Media.
They picked Hayden as their home base and moved with their three children, ages 10 months, 3½ and 5½.
With Mopsy, who is portrayed by Lily Edwards, the Edwardses want to entertain and educate.
In the videos, Mopsy does things like play hopscotch or learn about how to make pizza at a local restaurant, all along highlighting letters, numbers, colors and other important concepts.
“We don’t want to just be mindless entertainment,” Matt Edwards said.
Neither of the Edwardses has training in early childhood education or development, but as parents they watch what their kids are doing and how they’re learning. For instance, an episode about rhyming was sparked by watching their kids having fun with rhymes.
“Our kids are a huge source of inspiration for us,” Lily Edwards said. “We’re taking the things they’re already interested in and finding the educational skew.”
Their children also provide a built-in test audience, Matt Edwards said. If a day or two after he’s shown them an episode they’re echoing something from the video in their play, “we know we’ve got a winner of an episode there.”
And while the kids are providing inspiration – and critiques – for the content, the character’s name comes from the family’s past. Mopsy is what Lily Edwards called her great-grandmother.
“It’s a fun name that definitely had a sentimental connection,” she said. “When we started considering the character, it just seemed kind of like a no-brainer.”
Part of creating the character was to come up with her outfit – bright yellow overalls with a pink shirt and yellow hat and glasses. They had to find the right clothes “that enhanced part of my personality to bring out the character in a more natural way,” said Lily Edwards, who has previously worked as a dance teacher and with an interior design company.
“It feels like she’s kind of an extension of me, she brings out the kid energy in me,” Lily Edwards said.
Mopsy videos are available on YouTube, the YouTube Kids app and at mopsy.tv. The Edwardses have also started a podcast, “Mopsy’s Storytime.” Podcast episodes are five to 10 minutes, featuring stories and folktales.
“The energy in the storytime podcast is very different than the energy you see in the Mopsy videos,” Matt Edwards said. “We envision these being able to be listened to any time of the day” – even bedtime – “so it can’t be crazy and full of energy.”
The Edwardses are excited at the opportunities to expand online, but they also want to keep Mopsy grounded in North Idaho. They’re enjoying their new home, the region’s natural beauty and the opportunities it provides for their family. And, if families happen to see Mopsy around town, they hope they’ll come chat.
“We’re really excited to bring a character that is local, that people here can connect to,” Matt Edwards said.