Moncton — A New Brunswick woman is aiming to capitalize on the popularity of Shopkins, a brand of miniature toys well known to kids aged 4 to 6, and to their unfortunate parents. If all goes according to plan, New Brunswick moms and dads will soon be hauling out their pocketbooks once again to purchase Brunskins, created by Shirley Dougherty of Moncton.
Dougherty said the idea hit her around Christmastime, when her young daughters were writing their wish lists for Santa. “All they wanted were Shopkins,” she recalled. “And according to anyone I know with kids, all any kid wants nowadays is Shopkins. What’s so special about them, I asked myself? Not much, as it turns out.”
If you have no children in your life, here’s a rundown of what Shopkins are: Tiny plastic “characters” depicting everyday objects — a remote control, a donut, a slice of pizza, a shoe, an ice cream cone, a spade, a purse, a plant, even a roll of toilet paper. Slap a cutesy face on the object, give it a name such as “Drips” the watering can or “Tammy” the TV, and you have yourself a Shopkin. There are more than 145 different Shopkins, and that’s before you factor in Petkins or any of the other money-grubbing offshoots of the brand.
“Their actual slogan is ‘Once you shop, you can’t stop!'” said Dougherty. “I figured all I had to do was draw some googly eyes on New Brunswick-specific objects and give them my own name, there’d be no trademark infringement and I could sell these things.
“The Brunskins I have so far include ‘Drinky’ the case of Alpine, ‘Smoky’ the pack of smokes, ‘Itchy’ the scratch ticket, ‘Pogey’ the E.I. cheque, ‘Chippy’ the Storm Chips, ‘Franny’ the fiddlehead, ‘Timmy’ the Tim Hortons cup, and a few more I’m keeping under wraps for now.”
Dougherty is convinced children from New Brunswick will disregard their beloved Shopkins and encourage their parents to buy Brunskins instead. “Kids like what’s familiar to them. For example, they see their mom or dad drinking Alpine every day; by miniaturizing this and putting a cute face on it, the parents’ addiction becomes the kids’ addiction. It’s fool-proof.”
Brunskins will be on sale by the March long weekend, for those nut-job parents who buy Easter presents for their kids.