Everybody knows the three ultimate signs of success are 1) being parodied on "The Simpsons," 2) having a drag queen version of yourself, or 3) being turned into a doll or action figure. Things aren't looking that great for the first two options, but thanks to plucky Web company I Am a Stuffed Animal
, I have fulfilled my dream of being represented in miniature.
Launched last year, the company's mission is to make "wee-sized, delightful stuffed animal versions of you." All you have to do is fill in your name, eye/hair color, what you'd like to be wearing and other hobbies/interests you want represented. Then send up to three clear, detailed photos of yourself and in 4 to 6 weeks you'll be creepily snuggling a reasonable facsimile of your likeness.
But we didn't stop there -- we'll be sharing some of these dolls with lucky Asylum readers. Keep reading to peek in on the buddy-making process and for a chance to win your own custom buddy or one of the ones we created.
Old friends Dave, Mike and Drew launched I Am A Stuffed Animal
last October on an ESPN podcast.
According to Dave (a finance professional by day), "The inspiration for the idea is varied depending on which one of us you ask. My inspiration was a personalized G.I. Joe that I sent away for in 1987. It cost me 16 proofs of purchase and $20 but it was nothing more than a stock body with a masked face sporting my name on his cardboard ID tag. It was one of the top six most disappointing moments of my life. I swore that day to offer a better personalized toy option to the world."
To get started, I sent IAASA the following three photos of myself, along with my description and the request that they dress me in a slave Leia bikini. (What? When else am I going to get to wear one?)
After that, one of IAASA's 11 freelance designers got to work to create an Adobe Illustrator file, including the loving if slightly inaccurate recreation of my tattoo sleeve. (There's a daisy, there's a bee -- it's pretty freaking close.)
Then that file is printed onto the fabric, the fabric is sent out to be stuffed and sewn and then back to IAASA where they inspect and ship the buddies.
And voila! A less lippy version of me is born. When I first unwrapped my custom buddy, I was slightly taken aback by the, ahem, heartiness of my physique. IAASA states that they'll try to incorporate your body type into the design, but the shape is the same for everyone, so don't expect to look dainty.
Co-workers who passed by my desk where my buddy was displayed said stuff like "Hey! That's you!" so the likeness seems to be pretty accurate.
And, hello, I'm in a Leia bikini. Awesome.
All this was pretty cool, but when IAASA responded to our request for custom buddies based on famous mug shots with a "No problemo," we knew they were all right in our books.
We narrowed it down to the following three incarceration classics: Nick Nolte, Michele Allen (aka Cow Suit Lady) and James Brown. Who wouldn't want to cuddle or proudly display one of these little guys? But as much as we love having these dolls here at Asylum HQ, we've decided to give all three away to readers -- as well as a free custom-made buddy that one reader will be able to design in his likeness.
To enter our I Am A Stuffed Animal buddies giveaway, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post
by 6 p.m. on May 26, 2010. We'll be randomly selecting three commenters to receive one of the Mug Shot Buddies each, and one grand-prize winner will get the chance to create their own custom buddy for free.
If you prefer your celebrities commemorated in happier times, you'll be glad to know that IAASA is launching a "famous" buddies section of the site, where you can order smaller versions of Sarah Palin, William Shakespeare and others
Emily McCombs is Asylum's deputy managing editor and token girl.
Asylum's IAASA Dolls giveaway is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 and older. To enter, please leave a comment at the bottom of this post. You must enter before 6:00 pm Eastern Time on May 26. You may enter once per email address, and one Grand Prize winner and 3 First Prize winners will be selected in a random drawing. The Grand prize pack will include the following item: (Approximate total retail value $69.00) one custom made doll by IAmAStuffedAnimal.com. The First prize packs will include the following item: (Approximate total retail value $34.95) one pre-made Mugshot doll by IAmAStuffedAnimal.com. Click here for complete Official Rules.