Bernie’s Birthday Ice Cream Party!

75 years ago today, Bernard “Bernie” Sanders was born in Brooklyn, NY. In celebration of his birthday, we’ve picked 5 winners to receive a year of Ben & Jerry’s.

On July 25th, we launched the #MyBernie Instagram Contest after shipping out over 25,000 Bernie Sanders Action Figures. To be honest, we expected a year of ice cream to be a popular prize, but we never expected to receive so many amazing submissions. People took their Bernie Action Figure everywhere, from the DNC to their summer vacations. Alas, we could only choose 5 people to win from over 1,700 entries featuring the Bernie Action Figure on Instagram.

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from #MyBernie.

Bernie proved to be a great ambassador.

Bernie’s adventures around the world had him building relations of all kinds. He campaigned with the Democatic Party, brought together citizens of every background, and negotiated for peace between antagonistic parties.

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Bernie advocated for the environment.

Besides Bernie’s 75th this year, the National Parks Services had their 100th birthday over the summer. Bernie took a tour across the country to highlight the beauty of America’s landscapes and the need for environmental conservation.

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A special congratulations to BrianneBikes for becoming a Junior Ranger of the NPS!

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Wherever you went, Bernie went.

Whether it was to Philadelphia for the Democratic National Convention or the beach for vacation (the office for some…), Bernie was a loyal companion for every adventure. He even went all the way to Japan for some foreign diplomacy.

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Bernie took some time to himself.

After a long and exhausting campaign, Bernie made sure to take some time for himself. He enjoyed some great Vermont cheeses, had a party, and made use of prime grilling season.

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Bernie got cinematic.

As a dynamic figure, Bernie was always on the move. Some fans took to video to capture his action-packed days.

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The Runner-ups!

As you can guess, it was tough picking out only 5 winners to receive a year supply of Ben and Jerry’s. There were so many delightful #MyBernie moments that voting on only five was as challenging as getting Congress to agree on something. So we decided to share the wealth with our runner-ups. Each of our runner-ups will get a free pint of Ben and Jerry’s! Woohoo!

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The Winners

The winners of #MyBernie elicited the strongest reaction from the FCTRY team. Whether it was laughter or admiration for the artistry, these submissions were marked as the most memorable ones. Each of these entrants will get a year of ice cream from us. Say hello to some Chubby Hubby!


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We’ll be contacting the winners and honorable mentions for details shortly so please keep an eye out for a message from us via Instagram.

The Adventure Continues…

Perhaps the greatest thing to come from the #MyBernie Contest was watching the community of fans share their personal escapades via the Bernie Action Figure, both with us and with each other. We’re grateful to have so many wonderful moments shared with us on Instagram. Though the contest may be over, we hope that the #MyBernie adventures continue.

P.S. Make sure you’ve downloaded your Bernie’s Besties Paper Dolls. Find them here.

The Vote Is In

We Asked 24,000 Bernie Sanders Supporters If We Should Make A Trump Action Figure. Here’s What They Said.


Last month, we shipped out about 27,000 Bernie Sanders Action Figures to about 24,000 Bernie Sanders supporters. In every package, we included a card inviting our Bernie customers to help us decide whether we should make a Donald Trump Action Figure, an Elizabeth Warren Action Figure, or both.

The results are in and, as could be expected with all things Donald, they are polarized. Let’s dive into the data.


Question #1: Who would you like to see turned into an action figure next?

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Interesting, right? At first blush, it’s clear that the majority wants us to make Elizabeth Warren into a toy. All in all, 77% of voters. Even clearer though, statistically, is that basically everybody wants us to make at least one of these political action figures, as only 2% of voters said “neither”. That’s great news for us!

But what to make of the Trump numbers? Only 45% of respondents wanted a Trump Action Figure. Not an overwhelming endorsement, but if you consider that we’re talking about an audience made up entirely of ardent Bernie Sanders supporters then that number is actually shockingly high. Nearly half of them want us to make Trump?

Interesting. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Question #2: How excited would you be for a Liz Warren Action Figure?

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To give it some context, let’s look at that next to the same question for Trump…

Question #3: How would you feel about a Trump Action Figure?

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This is where it gets fascinating for us. If you look at the averages on a 10-scale, Liz crushes Trump with 7.52 to his 5.34 in terms of excitement. But if you dig deeper, something interesting emerges.

The top answer for Liz was a perfect 10 out of 10. For Donald, it was the exact opposite – a perfectly miserable 1 out 10. But when you look at the second most popular answer for Liz, it’s a respectable 8 while Donald somehow jumps up to 10! In fact, he has nearly as many 10’s as he does 1’s! Look at his graph – it’s basically a dumbbell (no pun intended) – weighted at both ends.

As product designers, what are we to make of that?

What we’re aiming for, first and foremost, when we create any product is a strong emotional response. At the end of the day, we’re selling tiny sculptures and the reason people buy them is that it makes them feel something. If that little bit of magic doesn’t happen as a creator then you’re stuck in the Land of Meh.

So rather than focus on the overall average, or just the positive scores, we added together the extreme scores for each candidate to get an Emotional Index. America, guess who won.

Elizabeth Warren

 45% + 12% = 57% Emotional Index

Donald Trump

35% + 27% = 62% Emotional Index

They both look pretty good and, based on what we’re seeing, we’d like to move forward with both figures, but we feel a little safer with Trump. All in all, the impression we have is that he’d be like the Darth Vader in our collection whereas Elizabeth Warren would be something more along the lines of a Lando Calrissian. (Either you get that analogy or you don’t!)

The Wisdom of The Crowd

One of our most favorite things to do is to get our community involved in our creative process. It’s about the funnest way ever to answer those tough little questions that inevitably come up during the product design and brand creation process. Nine times out of ten, we will go with the crowd’s answer on this stuff because it’s the closest things there is to a “right answer”.

Question #4: If we make Liz, what color should her blazer be?

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Question #5: If we make Trump, which face should he have?

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Question #6: And which hand size; tiny or regular?

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Ha. This turned out to be the closest we got to a unanimous response on the whole survey!


Ease our Guilty Conscience

We can’t lie – the question of whether or not to make Trump has been incredibly tough for us. We really are the starry-eyed idealists that we’ve portrayed ourselves as in our Kickstarter campaigns. A big part of what makes life at FCTRY so much fun is that we get to feel like we’re doing a little good when we make our stuff. The possibility of making Trump makes us uncomfortable because he is literally the antithesis of all the things we support.

But at the same time… we just know that he’d make such a funny little toy! And everyone knows that villains are the best characters. So there’s that.

Our solution to this dilemma is that if we make the Trump Action Figure, instead of donating to his campaign as we did with both Bernie and Hillary, we will donate to the Un-Trumpiest cause we can find.

Once again, we turned to our Bernie backers and asked them the following…

If we make Trump we’ll make a donation to a really un-Trumpy cause every time we sell one. Any suggestions?

Here are some of the answers that appeared most frequently:

*turns out this one wasn’t real

Where Do We Go Now?

Armed with all the feedback from the poll, we went back to Mike Leavitt, the man who makes the magic happen, and asked him to sculpt prototypes of both Trump and Warren. We’re not going to lie; he hated working on Trump, but that did not stop him from knocking it out of the park on a technical level. You can see for yourself below; he nailed it with both Trump and Warren.

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If you ever wondered what Trump would look like without his trademark helmet hair, wonder no more!

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All that’s left now is to cross that chasm from art to mass production. Fortunately, that’s our specialty. We haven’t fully decided if and how we’re going to bring these guys to market just yet. But stay tuned. We are hoping to have some fun news on that front pretty soon.

Bernie’s Besties

Beautiful Paper Dolls for Hardcore Liberals, featuring Killer Mike, Liz Warren, Mark Ruffalo and Ruth Bader Ginsburg

And, like all the best things in life, they’re free.

Back at the end of February, we launched the Bernie Sanders Action Figure Kickstarter campaign with modest expectations. Our goal was to reach $15,000 to fund the production of an action figure based on the sculpture by artist Mike Leavitt. The response to the Kickstarter campaign was overwhelming as we smashed through our original goal in the first day.

mikeThe enthusiasm and support for the Kickstarter campaign was so great that we had to throw in a few treats for all the love. We promised a series of stretch goal rewards for every major milestone in our campaign’s funding. 20 volunteer hours for Bernie’s campaign, planter signs, Red Hot Bernies, and Bernie lapel pins were among the rewards that were proposed. All, but the final goal of 20 more volunteer hours were attained with the Kickstarter campaign’s final amount raised: $248,063

The Bernie’s Besties Paper Dolls are here to celebrate surpassing our $190K stretch goal. We picked a handful of iconic faces associated with Bernie’s campaign and political philosophy. Save the environment with Mark Ruffalo or tear down Wall Street with Elizabeth Warren. Rally a grassroots movement with Killer Mike or strike down regressive laws with the notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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Bored with just paper? Here’s some ideas to get your Bernie’s Besties adventures started.

Sticker paper
Add to your ’90s sticker collection by printing them out on sticker paper.

Magnet sheets
Feeling more nomadic? Magnet sheets are available at your local office supply or arts and craft store for a less permanent option than sticker paper.

Mod Podge
Mod Podge is a godsend to DIYers everywhere. Its a clear sealant that’ll allow you to adorn any frame, mug, or chest with your favorite Bernie’s Bestie. Just print with regular paper and slather on that Mod Podge. 

Fabric Paper
You can take the doll in paper doll a step further by printing out on fabric paper. Cut it out with a matching backing piece, stuff it then sew it up for a more huggable version.


Let us know how you’ll be playing with your Paper Dolls by tagging us @fctry!