Budsies: New Florida Company Turns Your Drawings Into Adorable Stuffed Animals

Categories: Art

All photos courtesy of Alex Furmansky
Remember being bored as a kid or teen, and doodling up some imaginary characters in your notebook when you should have been paying attention during lectures? Actually, that sounds very much like your college days, too.... and like your behavior during meetings at the office today. What if those doodles didn't have to die each time you tossed out your notes? What if you could turn your mindless animation into a real, tangible thing?

Think three dimensional, but not like a 3D printer. More like a hand-sewed, fuzzy buddy -- a Budsies, to be exact. Budsies is a Florida company, headquartered in Boynton Beach, which celebrated its launch not more than a month ago. Budsies takes a drawing, any drawing, and turns it into a quality plush toy for you to cherish and keep forever.

The idea originated when Alex Furmansky, founder of Budsies, noticed the lifespan of his younger sister's drawings. Furmansky says how his mother would hang them up in the kitchen, on the fridge, and then they were moved to the basement, and eventually thrown out. "Meanwhile, on her bed, she had so many stuffed animals that she would tuck in every night," he remembers. "How cool would it be if I could transform her imagination into something she can tuck in every night and be a part of her life?"

The answer to that question: very cool.

Courtesy of Alex Furmansky
Michelle, 12, with her first Budsies
Since his sister, Michelle, inspired his company, Furmansky says her very first Budsies is sort of like the company's mascot now. Idealy, he plans on making her one every year in order to track her artistic progress; "Imagine a row of Budsies where it starts more abstract with lines, and then you get a sort of face, then some sort of body, [and so on] -- it would be so cool to see that progression."

Furmansky brought a Budsies creation with him to our interview. It was a green alligator/dragon/unicorn with the softest plush material and the most charming snout. "The key is to see the picture and then see the toy," he said while pulling up the image to compare. The resemblance was incredible, to say the least.

"How can you not feel good about your life, making these toys?" Furmansky said, beaming.

The final product may look as if it sprung out of the paper, but the process behind its creation is a lengthy one. As Furmansky explains it: "First, an operator here looks at the incoming artwork and does two things: one, verifies that it's not obscene, and two, adds basic notes, like" -- he uses the alligator to demonstrate -- "this tail should be exaggerated, the horn should be white, etc." Next, "it goes to a designer who takes those notes and actually starts picking the fabrics and drawing the patterns. Then it goes to the worker who actually sews the plush together."

The last stop before shipment is quality control, where the toy gets poked and prodded, and pulled and pushed for safety and durability. Then, they'll hold up the original artwork along with the finished product and compare: "is it cute enough? If not, we scrap it and start again." Once it passes the cuteness test, the Budsies is carefully gift wrapped and sent along with a framed copy of the artwork it was based on, and arrives at your doorstep within two to four weeks.

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