Firebox unveils Inventor competition winner

12-year-old Tom Spring beats over 1,200 entries with Putty Monster product idea.
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The Firebox Inventor competition was launched last year in association with Stuff magazine and entries were judged by nine experts from the toy, design, retail and technology industry.

The retailer is now aiming to develop and manufacture the idea, launching it for sale on its website later this year. Tom's prize will be a 50 per cent share of the profits.

Putty Monsters are currently in production and will be a collectable toy combining Firebox's Thinking Putty with an online community where people can share their creations.

The simple idea of a tub of putty and a pair of eyes won over the judges. Co-founder of Firebox, Michael Acton Smith said: "Kids love playing and chatting to their friends online, and toys that successfully mix online and offline experiences are one of the fastest growing categories of the toy industry."

Sales and marketing director at Tomy, Paul Fogarty, who was also a member of the judging panel added: "Over the past year or so,we have noticed a trend towards classic toys updated with a modern twist. The Putty Monster is a simple idea yet it has been updated with the online social networking angle, which makes it work for the modern consumer."

Winner, Tom Spring, has dreamt of becoming a product inventor and his inspiration comes from his grandfather, who used to be a toy designer. Spring commented: "Thank you so much to Firebox for giving me this opportunity - I simply can't believe it. I can't wait to see my Putty Monster idea turn into a real product and be sold by Firebox.

Christian Robinson, MD of Firebox.com said: "We thin Putty Mosters has great potential and are enjoying working with Tom so far in the next stages of product and packaging design and development."

Tom Dunmore, editor-in-chief of Stuff magazine concludes: "The quality of entries was really impressive, but we were particularly taken with Tom's idea because of its simplicity and the massive potential of bringing Putty Monsters to life online. I'm sure it's going to be a big success for Tom and for Firebox."

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