HACKED FIRM’S DRAGONS BACK FOR WORLD CUP:
COMPANY LOST £18,000 BUT FOUNDER SAYS SHE COULDN’T LET DOWN ALL THOSE WHO HELPED
ASMALL toy company on Anglesey that lost £18,000 in a hacking scam, are reintroducing their Welsh-speaking toy Draigi for the Rugby World Cup this year.
Si-Lwli Cymru is well-known for creating the “world’s first Welsh singing toy”, and is popular with Welsh-speaking children across Wales and further afield.
In June of this year however, the business was struck by financial hardship after being scammed through a “sophisticated” fraud.
Its founders, Awena and Baron Walkden from Menai Bridge, fell victims to an online hacker that intercepted and altered an email they sent for an order to a company in China – the only company able to create the company’s singing toys, Draigi and Seren Swynol.
It was only after Awena transferred the £18,000 fee for an order of Draigi that she realised the request for payment was a scam.
The manufacturers in China had not received their fee and therefore, the company had to pay an additional £18,000 to release the toys from the site.
Awena described the experience as “puzzling” and “upsetting”, and had to remortgage her house to pay for the extra money.
At the time, she said: “It is a heartbreaking situation and still feels really raw.
“A lot of people feel that it’s not just an attack on us, but an attack on the Welsh language and Welsh speaking children.”
Awena and her husband decided to take a break from the business to focus on their newborn child, and were uncertain about Si-Lwli Cymru’s future.
“After the hacking scam, me and my husband felt like we had lost all motivation,” Awena explained.
“But, we had time to reflect and realised that we did want this.
“The response we have received from so many has also been heartwarming. Even people that don’t have children reached out to us.”
One customer decided to start a crowd funding page. So far, £1,600 has been raised of a £18,000 target.
Awena said: “We were so grateful to everyone that took part, shared and contributed to the funding.
“For that reason, we felt that we couldn’t let them down, and decided to carry on with the business.”
In celebration of the Wales rugby team’s on-going success in the World Cup, Awena has decided to re-sell their dragon toy called Draigi (pictured) on their website.
The dragon is known for singing Welsh-language classics, such as Calon Lan, Sosban Fach, Ar Hyd y Nos, and Hen Wlad fy Nhadau, which can often be heard sung by Welsh crowds during rugby matches.
Awena explained: “We just felt it was right to sell the dragons now, not only for the World Cup, but to show our existing and new customers that we are still here for them.
“Draigi is popular with many, not just with children. I’ve had non-Welsh speaking parents contacting me and telling me the dragons have helped them learn Welsh.
“In the past, we’ve also sold the dragons for people battling with dementia. The songs often remind them of a time in the past, and puts them more at ease.
“The dragon toys have also helped children and young adults with disabilities, and brings them enjoyment.
“We’ve realised that these toys that produce music has a profound effect on so many, not just children.”
Awena and her husband also intend to create a long-term plan for their company, including designing same styled toys but with different Welsh songs.