'Furbulous' design makes contest finals

Ten-year-old Abigail Shibley-Fry
Ten-year-old Abigail Shibley-Fry's designs for Build-a-Bear outfits are among 12 in the running to be the next to adorn Build-a-Bear mascots Pawlette Coufur and Bearemy.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson photo

Abigail Shibley-Fry has one word for what it would be like to win a contest that challenged fans to design outfits for Build-A-Bear Workshop mascots, Pawlette Coufur and Bearemy: "perfect."

And, thanks to her recent selection as a finalist in the Furbulous Fashion Design Contest, she just might learn how perfect feels.

Abigail, 10, has been a fan of the cuddly, create-your-own critters since she was about six years old.

So when an email from the Build-A-Bear Stuffer's Club came through challenging kids to submit designs for the mascots' new attire, she jumped at the opportunity.

"I just thought I'd give it a go," the Surrey Christian student and South Surrey resident said. "The prize is pretty good."

To her and her mom, Karen's, surprise, both of her designs were chosen, first as semi-finalists and then, thanks to online public voting earlier this month, as among 12 in the running for the grand prize.

She'll learn July 5 if they are selected for the big win, which includes a $5,000 scholarship and a trip to New York City.

Abigail, who enjoys freehand drawing, is hopeful her take on what would suit Pawlette Coufur and Bearemy will win the judges over. Gleaning ideas from recent fashion trends, she came up with a blue and purple skirt, a multi-coloured top and a purple cardigan with blue trim for Pawlette Coufur; for Bearemy, she chose a blue hoodie, brown shorts and a brown hat.

"We looked at fashions and stuff online just to see what was what," Abigail said.

She described the other finalists' designs as "really good," but knows having two designs in the final pool increases her odds of a win.


Her mom credits a Facebook campaign that appealed for votes with helping boost Abigail's chances.

"I emailed and Facebooked 100 people to start voting for her," she said.

Karen Shibley-Fry described her daughter as "the biggest Build-a-Bear fan ever." She currently owns nine of the critters, including bunnies, bears and gingerbread men, only three of which were made in Canada. She built the others in the U.S., including in Disneyland, Bellis Fair Mall and San Diego.

The grand prize winners are to be announced at



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