Thursday, July 31, 2014

Shrimp Comics and Cute Babies #ArtistStories

Anonymous: When my brother was 7, he made up a comic book at school which was a huge hit.  Growing up he used that comic book multiple times for creative writing at school all the way up to high school!  Legit teachers loved it.  It was called "super shrimp".

Original super shrimp artwork from brother when he was kid
My brother drew this Super Shrimp when he was 7
My brother turned 30 this year and he had his first baby... a sweet babygirl named Riley.  With her first birthday coming up, I thought what better gift then her very own super shrimp stuffed animal.  
Super Shrimp drawing with Super Shrimp stuffed animal
Made a Super Shrimp stuffed animal for brother's baby girl
Amazing I just got my package I am in shock I showed everyone of my clients today and they love it. I bet I can get you at least 10 more customers!!!  Anyway I just wanted to thank you for a truly amazing job. I am enclosing a picture of the drawing the doll and my beautiful niece who will be getting her super shrimp this September!
Little Riley - future recipient of Super Shrimp!
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!  We wish you, your brother, and your adorable niece a wonderful first birthday and a lifetime of love.

Have a Budsies story of your own?  Let us know at

Monday, July 21, 2014

Budsies Partners with Brands to Make Awesome Social Media Contests

A Follower Is Not Enough: Engagement is King

Comparing Actions

Brands have traditionally measured their reach based on the number of followers they have on social networks.  However, Facebook's algorithm only organically shows posts to a large portion of your followers if the post receives outsized engagement.  Unless the brand provides actionable content, the vast majority of followers will never see it.

Simple "Likes" on posts don't cut it, either.  The most viral posts are those with plenty of comments and shares.  These actions expose posts to followers' friends.
Comparing Reach of Posts that Elicit Comments vs. Those that Do Not

Memorable Touchpoints Create Brand Evangelists

A successful ad campaign, whether online or off, creates multiple touchpoints with the targeted audience.  While a single interaction is easily brushed off, repeated on-theme impressions build true fans who will evangelize the brand.  Lastly, brands are wise to provide fans with momentos of their experience which serve to reinforce the connection to the brand for years to come.

Themed Drawing Contests Activate Followers and Their Friends

At Budsies, we've found an incredible method for engaging fans both young and old: themed drawing contests.
  1. Brand announces contest and challenges fans to post original artwork in comments beneath the post
  2. Fans and friends vote on the entries by Liking the comments
  3. The winner(s) receive their artwork turned into custom Budsie stuffed animals
The benefits of the drawing contest are clear:
  • Simple: The entire promotion only requires a simple post from the brand.  The recent changes to Facebook allowing photos to be used as comments provides the mechanics while Budsies handles all the visual design work and the prize-making
  • Multiple Touchpoints: There are three natural opportunities to engage fans. (1) Within the initial announcement (2) When announcing the winner(s) and (3) Posting photo of winner(s) with artwork and Budsies.  The winner(s) also receive branded keepsakes that they treasure forever
  • Viral: Since entrants win by amassing votes, they are incentivized to share the contest with their friends and ask for additional votes

Case Study 1: Cut the Rope's Nommies

Cut the Rope is an international brand responsible for the super popular iOS and Android game series by the same name.  Together, we ran a drawing contest specifically for their US fans to draw their rendition of a "Nommie" (the cute furball character in their game).

The post garnered an incredible response: nearly 1,300 likes, 56 shares, and 144 comments/entries.  Cut the Rope chose to make two more posts promoting the contest.

30 artists had their drawings brought to life as well as a branded Cut the Rope t-shirt and "Nommie".

Here's the first batch of Nommies we produced:

Of note, Cut the Rope elected to choose the winners themselves, which reduced the virality of the post. 

Case Study 2: Budsies' 4th of July

To celebrate America's Independence Day, Budsies announced a "Red, White, and Blue" drawing contest.

At the time, Budsies only had 2,000 Facebook fans.  The post received 44 shares, over 40 comments/entrants, and an average of 19 votes per entrant.  The winning entrant had 72 votes!

Case Study 3: Juggling with Kids

Juggling With Kids, a mommy blog run by Akane Everitt, hosted a summer-themed drawing contest.

The top three entries received 146, 102, and 101 votes/likes, respectively.

A Free Turnkey Collaboration

Budsies is happy to work with likeminded brands to engage their audience and reward their fans.  We will leverage our experience to craft the perfect messaging, timing, and theme to maximize impact.  We will also offer a free Budsie for the winner or offer discounted bulk pricing in the case of multiple winners.  In addition, Budsies can handle all the logistics of creating and shipping prize packs to the winners.  Finally, Budsies can cross-promote the contest to 5,000+ Facebook fans and 4,000+ email recipients.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Kids Draw Their Own Bedmates

Since launching Budsies, which turns kids artwork into stuffed animals, parents have sent us hundreds of photos of their children with their new Budsie friends.  Besides getting gleefully giddy every time we saw another happy face, we started seeing a trend: our toys are natural nap inducers! :)

Now I can't say it's been scientifically proven... but we certainly believe that Budsies are the best cuddly sleep aid out on the market!

Here's a sampling of adorable children sleeping with their creations.  If your child also sleeps with his/her Budsie, send us a pic and we'll add it to the list!

A Swirly Snail Makes a Great Hugger

This Octopus Uses All 8 Arms to Fend Off Nightmares

Is There Anything Cuter Than Their Matching Shirts?!?

This Boy Lost His Old Cow Plushy So Budsies Made Him a Custom Replacement

Budsies Are Essential for Peaceful Road Trips

That Crane Is Doing a Better Job of Lifting His Head Than His Own Pillow!
Sean's "Ugly Dog" Makes for a Great Car Companion (Added 6/18)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Watch A Dad Take His Little Daughter On the Best Date Ever

Chivalry is far from dead!  This amazing dad, Aaron Dickson from Bellingham, Washington, recently took his daughter Analynne on her first real date.

Any future boyfriend has a lot to live up to ;)

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Teacher of the Year Creates Model for How To Host A Drawing Contest for Your School

When Mary Schoppy heard that Budsies turns kids art into custom stuffed animals, she immediately wanted to get her school involved.  She decided to throw a drawing contest and asked us if we would donate a Budsie for the winner.

We immediately said "Yes!" and within days, she organized a giant drawing contest that rallied an entire elementary school and will serve as a template for other teachers around the world!

Mary's 1st grade class at James K. Polk elementary school outside of Arlington, VA became instantly excited by the contest concept.  They couldn't stop talking about it.  In fact, when the 5th graders got wind of the buildup to the big day, they too demanded to be involved.  The project quickly blossomed from the initial 22 students in Mary's class to 120 students gleefully drawing.

What to Draw?

Mary wanted to tie the activity back to the class's recent trip to the National Museum of Natural History.  So for a theme, she skillfully asked the children to draw a creature they would want to see in the museum.  This gave students inspiration from all of the creatures they recently visited yet also provided them the creative freedom to let their imaginations soar.

The children had a blast making their artwork.  They made everything from butterflies to robots, with one student even drawing a red donut-man with arms and legs!  The slight hint of competition engaged even the typically disinterested kids to pour their hearts into their crayons.

How to Pick the Winner?

Mary used the winner selection process as an opportunity to show her children how a fair, democratic selection system works.  She assigned each picture a number and gave each student an index card.

Each child stepped out into the hallway and wrote down their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place choices.  She also ensured that the artist's name was only written on the back of each drawing.  This was a great technique because it avoided any issues of popularity.

She then tallied up all the votes.  A first place vote counted as 3 points, a second place vote as 2, and third place vote as 1.  Winners were to be announced the following day, so the whole school was buzzing with anticipation over who would be declared winners.

Prizes for Everyone

After tallying the votes, the class had agreed upon 3 winners, each of whom received a prize pack with crayons and a coloring book.

The grand prize winner is also set to receive a free full-size Budsie of his rendition of the class's owl mascot:

Here'e Sam meeting his Budsie for the first time:

Mary took it upon herself to ensure every child felt like a winner.  She awarded every participant a packet of flower seeds and a certificate in honor of their imaginations sprouting to life.

We are so proud of Mary and her class for organizing such a wonderful art contest and inspiring dozens of children to express their creativity.

On behalf of the children, their parents, and all the thousands of children's imaginations your work will inspire, we'd like to say THANK YOU!

Other Ideas for Your Class

Mary inspired us to do more outreach and support teachers around the world to run similar contests for their schools.  In addition to providing your class with a free Budsie for the winner, we're committing to providing you with:

  • Storybooks that can be used to inspire themed drawings
  • Blank or templated drawing paper (see our templates section for examples)
  • Crayons or similar drawing instruments
  • Index cards for gathering votes

Interested in hosting a drawing contest for your classroom or group?  Contact us at

About Mary

Mary grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and attended Millersville University in Pennsylvania.  She initially worked at a school within an emotional support classroom, providing extra help to kids who had trouble in regular special education classes.  After going to back to school to receive her Master's in Reading Specialist and English as a Second Language certifications, she taught at a school in Wilmington, DE before making her way to Alexandria, VA where she currently inspires and educates a culturally diverse group of 22 2nd graders.  This summer, Mary will be moving back to her roots in Upper Dublin, PA.  If you know of anyone hiring teachers, please let us know and we'll put you in touch.  We've never met a woman so dedicated and heartlessly devoted to her students and wish Mary all the best in her future journeys!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Budsies Trends Spring 2014: Selfies!

Each season, we at Budsies witness spikes in specific types of art submissions to be made into stuffed animals.  Last winter, there was a large number of mermaids and unicorns.  For Spring 2014, we're seeing SELFIES!

Yes... the lovely word that was just added to the Oxford dictionary and became 2013's word of the year has taken on a whole new meaning.  We've had folks make Selfie Budsies for themselves, for their significant others, and for their friends.  We love them all equally and can't wait to make more!

If you want to make a custom stuffed toy of yourself, simply submit your photo at!

Here are some of our favorites:

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Budsies Before-and-After Video Contest

Inspired by Mom Loves to Read’s YouTube clip showing her cute kids happily opening their new Budsies, we are challenging you to make a home video of your own!

Here’s what’s on the line:
  • Grand Prize All-Around Video: $500
  • Best Box Opening: $250
  • Best Group Video: $150 (multiple kids simultaneously opening boxes)
  • Cutest Video: $100
Plus: Your child may get featured on Ellen!

Latest Entrants (June 2014)

Entering is Easy

  1. Take a video of your child(ren) drawing their future Budsie 
  2. Take a video of your child(ren) discovering the Budsies box and meeting their Budsie for the first time
  3. Join the two videos together, upload to YouTube, and send your link to
Videos can be shot using any modern smartphone or camcorder

Forgot to take a video while drawing the artwork?  No problem.  You're still eligible for $500 of prizes!

Tips for Winning

  • Talk to your child(ren) while they are drawing and after they receive their Budsies. We all know kids say the darndest things! 
  • Try not to promote the Budsies brand in the videos. We’re just looking for honest reactions 
  • Keep the camera in focus and try to shoot in an area with plenty of light 
Winners will be chosen by Budsies staff.

Entrants grant Budsies LLC a nonexclusive, worldwide non-exclusive, unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, and cost-free right and license to use, copy, record, distribute, reproduce, disclose, sell, re-sell, sublicense (through multiple levels), display, publicly perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, translate, make derivative works of, and otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your content (and derivative works thereof), for any purpose whatsoever in all formats, on or through any media, software, formula, or medium now known or hereafter developed, and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed, and to advertise, market, and promote the same.  Entrants irrevocably assign to Budsies LLC, it’s subsidiaries, Affiliates, licensees, assignees, and designees: the exclusive and perpetual right throughout the world in all media (whether now known or hereafter devised) to reproduce, print, publish, and disseminate entrants' first name, age, portraits, pictures, voice, likeness, and any biographical information concerning me, in connection with or related to, directly or indirectly, any services and/or performances rendered by me at any times in connection with or as part of the production of the Budsies  LLC marketing materials.