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Mount Pleasant resident Maureen North and her childhood best friends design playhouses made from 100 percent recyclable materials

Mount Pleasant resident Maureen North and her childhood best friends design playhouses made from 100 percent recyclable materials
July 2024

Find Make It Cute playhouses at Wonder Works Toys

Looking for more planet-friendly options for their kids, Mount Pleasant resident Maureen North (middle) and her childhood best friends Amanda Seyfried and Anne Hoehn began designing playhouses made from recylable material.

During the height of COVID, Maureen North found herself and her two children, ages one and three, stuck at her Mount Pleasant home surrounded by unused playthings. “I was so tired of junky, plastic toys covering my nicely decorated house,” says North, whose childhood friends Anne Hoehn and Amanda Seyfried expressed a similar interest in shifting toward more sustainable options. “We got inspired by Anne, who had been making her kids these playhouses out of cardboard furniture boxes, and started turning them into something cute we would actually want to have in our homes.” 

Having gone from kindergarten best buds in Allentown, Pennsylvania, to first-time moms together, the trio began collaborating on the prototype for a sustainably-made, heavy-duty cardboard playhouse with a neutral color palette that would blend with a home’s decor. After three years of production, Make It Cute launched in June 2023 with two adorable, durable playhouses, available in “Modern Farmhouse” and the New England-inspired “Cottage.” 

(Left) Make It Cute creates playhouses from recylable material; (right) Make It Cute held a beach cleanup on Isle of Palms in July 2023 for Plastic Free month. 

While the founders live across the East Coast, North has been a Mount Pleasant resident for more than a decade, serving as chief operating officer of Make It Cute and working as a physician assistant in both surgical oncology and aesthetics. “After we launched, our business advisers warned, ‘This is gonna be the hardest two years of your life,’” she says. “Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster; it’s not easy by any means,  but we’re so grateful for the opportunity.”

Constructed to fold flat for easy storage and be assembled in 60 seconds or less, the brand’s plastic-free playhouses are made with three interlocking pieces of heavy-duty, reinforced, corrugated cardboard and printed with water-based ink. Design elements include working doors, star cutouts of the Big and Little Dippers on the ceiling, and hand-illustrated accents that range from herb gardens to herringbone floors. “Our playhouses are not your standard cardboard box,” explained Seyfried in an e-mail. “They’re the perfect venue for endless imagination and are being played with in homes, hospitals, schools, day cares, and dance studios.”

The brand places an emphasis on being environmentally friendly beyond the playhouses themselves, partnering with’s reforestation initiative, The Canopy Project, to plant one tree for every set sold. Corresponding with July being Plastic Free month, the company plans to hold its second-annual employee beach cleanup on Isle of Palms, not far from the pier where actress Seyfried filmed the 2010 romance Dear John. 

Make It Cute products can be purchased online, as well as locally at Wonder Works. Playhouses can also be directly donated to children undergoing treatment through the American Childhood Cancer Organization. With growing consumer interest and future products in the works, North says that despite an initial struggle to balance work and personal life, she wouldn’t trade it for anything. “We love that going through motherhood and starting this business has brought us and our families even closer together,” she says. “Motherhood has lent us a wonderful ability to multitask.

By the Numbers

  • $220: Cost of a playhouse
  • 60: Seconds it takes to put it up or break it down
  • 100: Percent of recyclable materials each playhouse is made with
  • 3: The number of founders
  • 2: Styles of playhouses