Saturday, June 11 2016 18:58

Toy Review: Budsies Custom Stuffed Animals

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Custom toys have been growing in popularity and availability over the past few years, particularly as prices for things like 3D printing have come down to more affordable levels. One thing that can't be "printed" (as far as I know - yet) is plush, and there's a number of outfits dealing in various levels of custom stuffed animals and the like -- and we've seen quite a few, but none as magical as Budsies.  If they sound familiar, it's completely possible that you caught Budsies founder Alex Furmansky pitching Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O'Leary and Laurie Greiner on ABC's SHARK TANK. While he didn't accept one of the two offers served up by the Sharks, Budsies has been rockin' since 2013, providing whimsical, custom creations based on the artwork of children. The Budsies crew offered me a chance to try their service, and that I did.

Having used a number websites to create custom products myself in the past, I can attest to the fact that the Budsies website and interface is about as simple and streamlined as they get. Adalyn, the oldest of The Rock Daughters™, created a colorful teddy bear drawn on paper with crayon and marker. I simply snapped a photo of it, uploaded it and added a detailed description - a step that's really important to explain exactly what the designers are looking at. Here's exactly what I wrote when I placed the order...

"Addie's Budsie: Interestingly proportioned bear with brown fur. She has black "claws" on all four paws, and wears a colorful "rainbow" shirt. The shirt is largely greenish in color, with a pink stripe on the the side of her right arm. She also has a geometric pattern outlined in black, filled with various spots of purple, red and blue coloring. Additionally, there is a yellow spot of pattering, accented by black lines within. This bear also has a small, yet jovial smile, inviting black oval eyes, and a small black dot nose."

Budsies Status

Over the next couple of weeks, the crew at Budsies sent status updates on Addie's bear as they selected the fabrics, colors, and worked on the patterns - each double-checked and put together by a seamstress. About three weeks later, Addie's Budsie arrived... but there was a slight issue I hadn't considered: we were doing an "unboxing" video and little Finley didn't have one. In the spirit of presenting things as honest and real as possible here on the site, I can't recreate Addie's first-time reaction of seeing her Budsie... it just happened that the video came out to have joy and sadness all in one shot... but weeks later, both girls love this Budsie.

My only point of criticism is that the 16" $89 Budsies (you can get a "Super-Sized" 30" version for an additional $29) are made in China. While it's an undeniable, yet unfortunate fact that the majority of toys (including some of the best ones) are made in China, it is entirely possible to have custom plush Made in the USA. I know this because I own some. I'd love to receive news down the line that Budsies are bringing production home.

Budsies Custom Plush Review

All said and done, Budsies are a Rock Father-approved toy that would make a great gift, and easily has the potential to become a cherished keepsake for life. Make yours at Budsies.com, where they also do Selfies (based on people) and Petsies (based on your pets).

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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