Dragonfly’s Design a Beanie Boo competition proves a great ‘Ty-in’

Winner Anna Jones, with her creation and her prize, a giant Ty dragon.
Winner Anna Jones, with her creation and her prize, a giant Ty dragon.

Independent card and gift retailer, Dragonfly Cards & Gifts has been flexing its marketing muscle once again to engage with its local community – this time with an incredibly well supported Design a Beanie Boo competition.

Launched during the school Summer holidays, the competition involved children being given a sheet of paper with a pair of the distinctive Beanie Boo eyes in the middle. They then had free rein to create any creature they liked.

Just some of the entries to the Dragonfly Design a Beanie Boo competition.
Just some of the entries to the Dragonfly Design a Beanie Boo competition.

“We received an amazing 83 entries, from children aged between 3 and 11 all designing their own Beanie Boo in the hope of winning a giant one of their own,” said Rachael Barnes, who co-owns The Retas-award winning Knaresborough card shop, Dragonfly with her mum Rita Knibbs.

Dragonfly’s Rachael Barnes in a forklift in UKG’s warehouse last month when she was part of the publisher’s Customer Retail Forum event.
Dragonfly’s Rachael Barnes in a forklift in UKG’s warehouse last month when she was part of the publisher’s Customer Retail Forum event.

Entries were attracted by putting a giant pink unicorn Beanie Boo in the window (it was during the town’s Feva festival where all the Knaresborough shops turn their windows pink) with a sign which read  ‘Call in for an entry form for the chance to win me!’.

The competition created a lot of excitement, explains Rachael.

“We had so many entries that we couldn’t display them all in the shop – we started to in the first couple of weeks, but soon ran out of room so had to resort to Facebook postings instead.”

As the deadline for entries passed, Rachael said the anticipation was palpable with children popping in daily to see if the winner had been chosen. “Many parents said they were thankful that it gave the kids something to focus on a wet afternoon in the summer holidays, while they lovingly drew their creatures,” said Rachael.

Three of the well deserved runners-up.
Three of the well deserved runners-up.

All the entries were judged by Ty’s area manager Frank Loughlin. “The children all put so much effort in it was impossible to pick just one winner, so Ty kindly extended the prize to include five runners up as well,” said Rachael.

The winner was Anna Jones, aged 10, for her fabulous ‘Magic Monkey’, who received a Beanie Boo dragon (worth £30). “She’d gone the extra mile by writing a story about her creation too, which is what just gave her entry the edge,” reveals Rachael.

A staggered approach to announcing the winner and runners up meant that the excitement around the competition was sustained.

“We contacted the first prize winner first, then released one more name on Facebook each day until all five runners-up had been announced. It meant that people visited our page every morning and just drove a bit more excitement about it,” she explains.

Some more wonderful entries.
Some more wonderful entries.

Rachael says that while it is difficult to gauge the effect of the competition on the shop’s sales, she admits that “It was our best summer yet for Ty sales (they’ve been steadily increasing all year) and most children talked their parents into one when they brought the entry forms back in!”

This is not the first time that Dragonfly has run a Ty design competition, but as Rachael realised, the children who entered the previous one are now all grown up.

As to whether Ty will put any of the entries into production remains to be seen. “The entries may give them a few ideas though – the peacock that was one of the runner ups I personally think would be fabulous!” says Rachael.

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