Couple stand by sticker idea

Monica Liebenow and husband Phil Barham, pictured with their children (left to right) Amber, Sam, Jack and Erin, are the creators of the 'My Family' bumper stickers, which are now being exported.
Monica Liebenow and husband Phil Barham, pictured with their children (left to right) Amber, Sam, Jack and Erin, are the creators of the 'My Family' bumper stickers, which are now being exported. Steve Holland- Drive

CRITICS say they're smug and mindless, but those rear window car stickers depicting drivers' families have become a national craze.

More than 2 million of the smiley ''My Family'' stick figures including ''barbecue dad'', ''shopping mum'', kids and pets have sold in two years.

The stickers are now exported to Japan and Britain and their creators, Gold Coast couple Monica Liebenow and Phil Barham, are in talks with six more countries including Argentina and Russia.

Ms Liebenow said the stickers allowed people to show off their family.

''They want to display it to the world: 'this is my family, I love them'.''

Customers have sent her photos of sticker collages of lesbian mums with babies and single surfers with dogs.

Ms Liebenow hopes a new Canadian figure, Chardonnay Mum, holding a wine glass, won't offend.

''I don't have any controversial characters there because I think it takes away from the concept of being wholesome,'' she said.

There has been a social media backlash, with Facebook sites calling for new characters such as husband's mistress and stoner brother.

A post on the Facebook page ''I Hate 'My Family' Stickers'' says: ''Thank god. I have found like-minded people that share my rage when I see these damn things. Why oh why does anyone think we CARE?!''

Kellie from Brisbane, the author of the blog Gen X Journey, said the stickers are ''smug'' and ''self satisfied'' with no ''overweight mummy'' and preferring ''tennis playing teen'' to ''emo devil possessed teen''.

My Family stickers started when Mr Barham, a chiropractor, went to California on a 2005 work trip and noticed a cute cartoon family on a car.

His luck back home was to meet Ms Liebenow, a graphic artist and mother of two girls, who started doodling ''funky'' figures with a laid back Aussie flavour.

''In the early days we sold them at markets, school fetes and begged friends and family to put these stickers on their cars,'' Ms Liebenow said.

''And it had this snowball effect because the more they appeared on cars, the more people noticed them and started looking for them.''

Four Gold Coast Autobarn stores took them up, and they went national in April 2010.

She said the stickers aren't smug.

''I honestly think people are just genuinely proud. People see it as being fun. It's not a huge financial outlay to purchase the stickers ($4 for each human figure, $2.50 for animals).

"It's very kid-driven, the children dragging the mums into the shops to say, 'Hey, we want those stickers'.

''I've heard of the 'spot the My Family sticker' car game as you're driving along.

''I think it creates a bit of conversation. And it certainly creates something for you to look at in traffic.''


What do you think about "My Family" bumper stickers? Leave a comment below.

Topics:  stickers

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