Our Story

We care about the quality of our product, the satisfaction of our customers, and the strength of our community.

Adorable girl with her custom plush bird and drawing

About

Budsies® is a South Florida-based company that brings artwork to life. Budsies are beautiful custom-sewn stuffed animals created from any drawing or photo. First launched in August 2013 by Founder & CEO Alex Furmansky, the company is headquartered in Boynton Beach, Florida. Since its start, over 43,000 Budsies have been created for happy customers across 63 countries around the world, including the U.S., France, India and Australia.

Whether artwork, people, or pets: we make the world more huggable! Keep in touch and see many more creations and customer reactions here:


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History

How It All Began

Budsies founder and CEO Alex Furmansky grew up just outside Philadelphia, PA. It wasn’t until he turned 16 that his parents brought his little sister Michelle home from the hospital. With a 16-year age gap, Alex had the privilege of seeing her art and creativity evolve throughout her childhood as she moved from pre-school to camp to specialty art classes. But sadly, Michelle’s drawings went from being displayed on the kitchen fridge to being buried in a box in the basement. From wacky shapes to advanced illustrations, Alex witnessed as Michelle’s creativity was quickly being forgotten.

Michelle with Footsie, her unique 4-legged plush animal

Michelle with “Footsie,”
her 4 legged duck

The Bright Idea

The idea for Budsies first came about when Alex saw Michelle hugging her stuffed animals and tucking them in at night. He asked himself: “What if I could turn a drawing into a stuffed animal friend that would last forever?”

All children could have their own personal buddies (hence the name Budsies!) to hug and hold. Alex was mesmerized by the idea of literally bring her drawings to life and making the world more huggable!

Alex and Michelle hold the Dongler stuffed animal

Alex, Michelle, and her Original Dongler: the very first Budsie ever made!

Dongler (& Budsies) was Born

It was during the Spring of 2013 that Alex visited home and “borrowed” one of Michelle’s favorite drawings of a character she named Dongler.

He returned to South Florida where he was living and had Michelle’s drawing designed and turned into a huggable stuffed animal. From the comfort of Alex’s small bedroom, the grassroots operation known as Budsies was born!

Growth & Milestones

In Budsies’ first two years, Alex realized the tremendous growth opportunities for the brand while always committing himself to stay true to his initial vision: making a huggable world! Some of Budsies greatest achievements to date include: creating more than 14,000 Budsies; launching Budsies Selfies and Petsies product lines; expanding the Budsies “behind the scenes" team; moving to a new, larger headquarters; project launches with The Gap, Cut the Rope, and Drawing Desk; philanthropic partnerships with Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital, Mayo Clinic, and The Office Depot Foundation; and appearances on ABC’s Shark Tank, CNBC, BuzzFeed, New York Times, and more.

Timeline of Budsies history becoming the worlds largest producer of custom stuffed animals

Future Plans

The future of Budsies and its product offerings, including the original Budsies, Budsies Selfies and Petsies, is bright! Alex and his team have plans to empower the imaginations of millions of children. The company’s goal is to create a marketplace where families can purchase stuffed animals designed by children and artists around the world - thus empowering anyone to create their very own line of toys.

Quality & Safety

Budsies produces high quality stuffed animal gifts

Alex started Budsies in honor of his younger sister, which serves as a constant reminder to him and his team of the importance of product quality and safety. As Alex often says: “The same care I would give to a toy I’d give my little sister goes into every Budsie stuffed animal we make.”

Budsies are all made of hypoallergenic materials and adhere to rigorous standards of stitching quality and materials. Because each and every Budsie is unique the team inspects each one individually for loose parts. Since some toys may have small/thin pieces, Budsies recommends they only be given to children 3+ years of age.

Budsies is registered with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and contracts Bureau Veritas, a certified 3rd party CPSC-approved laboratory to conduct materials and composition testing of its products.

Giving Back to Our Community

Alex was raised in a close-knit family where giving back and supporting others in need was always a priority. As a result, philanthropy has always been core to the Budsies mission. So how exactly is Budsies doing its part? The company donates supplies and Budsies to schools, make free Budsies for kids in need, and help raise funding for various kids’ charitable foundations. For example, Budsies made personalized stuffed animals for a foster home in Michigan so the children could have a constant buddy in their lives. Similarly, they made Budsies for children born with HIV/AIDS who took part in a safe haven camp in Northern Virginia.

Budsies provides free stuffed animal gifts to children to make them smile

When a young cancer patient couldn’t draw her own Budsie, her brother stepped in to help and drew a superhero rainbow bear for her.

The company's flagship annual philanthropic event is called Budsies Pals. Each summer, the Budsies team partners with the community to donate free plushies to children fighting through illnesses at a local hospital. Budsies has partnered with Joe DiMaggio's Children's Hospital, the Mayo Clinic, and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. You can learn more about getting involved and watch the heartwarming video here.

More About Charitable Work
I cannot begin to tell you how much these stuffed animals have meant to the patients…With Anthony being hospitalized unexpectedly and going through some tests, he has not been himself. Receiving this new friend really cheered him up!
Elisa Jones, ( Budsies Pals Program coordinator at the Joe DiMaggio's Childrens hospital. )

Partners

Budsies has had the privilege of forging partnerships with incredible companies and
organizations. Here is a sampling of the brands we work with.

  • Kelloggs Rewards members can redeem customized gifts
  • Gap includes Budsies stuffed animal gift cards in their retail stores
  • Celebrity Cruises includes Budsies stuffed animal making on their cruise ships

App Partners

Monster Create lets users make their own monsters and turn them into stuffed animals
Monster Create

Create your own super cute monsters to play with!

Behavior world rewards children by letting them make their own stuffed animals
Behavior World

Help improve a child’s behavior through a reward system

Drawing Desk lets users turn drawings into custom gifts
Drawing Desk

#1 Entertainment Drawing App for iOS

Artkive lets parents turn kids artwork into stuffed animals
ArtKive

The perfect app for scrapbooking your child’s artwork

Media

We are humbled by the positive media attention Budsies has received. Here are some of
our favorite coverage examples from the past couple of years:

  • Buzzfeed stuffed animals from picture
  • Shark tank personal stuffed animal from photo
  • Parents magazine custom gift
  • Stuffed animal from photo of drawing NYT
  • Marie claire reviews stuffed animal gifts
  • Today custom stuffed animal from photo
  • Mashable unique gift reviews

Interested in learning more? Are you a media outlet? Check out the Budsies Media Kit and reach out to our team so we can share more of what’s happening behind the scenes at Budsies HQ. We also come across some truly incredible stories from families, from fathers playing plush “choo choos” with their sons to families overcoming unimaginable tragedies. These stories inspire us every day and we hope you will help their voices inspire families worldwide.

Download Media Kit Email Our Team
We partner with schools to let kids turn art into stuffed animals

Schools

Want to spread the magic of Budsies and get funding into your child’s school?

We would love to work with you! We’ll be launching a school fundraising program in 2016. Please leave your contact information and we’ll reach out to you when the program launches.

Apply for School Fundraiser
Apply to become a distributer of Budsies stuffed animals

Distributors & Ambassadors

If you currently sell family-oriented products or you’re a passionate networker who loves our services, then we would love to work with you.

Digital distributors, influencers, and those highly engaged in their communities can sign up to our affiliate program. Here, you'll receive a special link which will allow you to earn a % of all orders you drive to Budsies.com. Please visit our Affiliates page for the most current information.

Ambassadors are most welcome to join our Referral Program. With this program, you earn free Budsies when your friends buy Budsies. Your friends, in turn, will receive a % off their purchase. Everyone wins! Please see our Referral Program for more details.

Major brands, digital apps, and art or pet-related companies interested in deeper partnerships are also most welcome! We've done everything from joint social media campaigns to deep API integrations. We've worked with brands including Cut The Rope, Time Hop, Shoparoo, Celebrity Cruises, Toyota, Kellogg's, Drawing Desk, Artkive, Keepy, and plenty more. Please give us a shout at bizdev at budsies dot com.

Physical distributors (like art studios, pre-schools, and retailers) are welcome to join our distributor program launching in 2016. Please apply here and we will reach out to you when we're ready.