Designer of the Week - Little Bear Company

A couple of weeks ago, a cheerful little chap who I affectionately named “Sunshine” landed on my doorstep after an exciting ride in a jumbo jet all the way from Lower Hutt in New Zealand. He was sent on his big adventure by talented toy designers, Tracy and Noeline from Little Bear Company, and it’s my pleasure today to share their story.

Little Bear Company Handmade Teddy Bears

The Product Review

Sunshine the Snuggle Bear is handmade from 100% natural mohair fabric with hand embroidered facial features that are child safe (and super cute). He stands about 16cm tall and is available in five different colours, Marine Blue, Rose Pink, Sunshine Yellow, Mint Green and Lavender. Sunshine is from the 2013 collection by Little Bear Company, which also includes a selection of bunnies.

There’s many things to adore about this furry little guy, and chances are you’ve already fallen in love with him just by looking at the photo above. My favourite feature, aside from the expert craftsmanship, is his mini size. He can be stashed in pockets, carried by little hands, and welcomed into the dollhouse to play with Blythe and her friends. I also love the texture of the mohair on his body and the slightly quizzical look on his face.

For this review, I engaged the assistance of a gentle and loving little soul (Miss Two-and-a-half) who was fascinated with the fuzziness of the mohair. She spent a large portion of the afternoon stroking her Sunshine bear across her cheek, just to feel the texture against her skin.

The verdict… A little bear with a big warm fuzzy heart.

The Indie Label

Tracy and Noeline met at their local miniature toy group and soon discovered their shared love for craftwork. In May this year they decided to combine their talents, launching theĀ Little Bear Company along with their first collection, Snuggle Bears and Bunnies.

Tracey is an international bear artist and mum of four who has designed and sold collectable character bears and critters, under the label Bears by Tracey, since 2002. Noeline is a mum of two, who designs and creates miniature knitwear for bears, bunnies and dolls. Together they’re an unstoppable crew of creativity and cuteness!

Little Bear Company Handmade Teddy Bears

The Creative Mind

The idea behind the Snuggle Bear and Bunnies collection came about after a nine year old girl approached the Bears by Tracey stand at a show last year. She fell in love with the artist bears but could not afford to buy a collectable toy. Noeline explains, “Tracey so much wanted her to have a bear, so she decided to design an affordable bear for the beginner collector or to be given as a gift. The range is different to designer collectables in that you will be able to get a range of accessories especially designed for the bears and bunnies. These include sleeping bags, a bed with bedding, clothes and much more. Coming soon to our store…”

The Whimsical Spirit

Here’s three fun facts about Tracy and Noeline (in their own words):

  1. We love to travel and meet new people.

  2. We love spending time with our families (they are the best).

  3. We have just completed a Set up Shop course to understand what we need to do to make the Little Bear Company succeed.

The Handmade Collection

The creation of the Little Bear Company toys begins with simple idea and a drawing. This is followed by a bunch of research, a draft of a pattern, an initial prototype, and lots of tweaking. Noeline explains, “After each tweak a new pattern is drafted and a new prototype produced. The fun part is keeping track of which pattern you are using, but we have learnt (after a few mistakes), always label each piece as you go. This saves lots of headaches later!! Sometimes we can have six or seven prototypes before we are happy. Then of course we have to get the face right.We are hard task masters on ourselves and will not stop the development until we are both happy with the result.”

You can find out more about Little Bear Company at their website, shop the collection at their Etsy store, or visit them on Facebook for all the latest news.

Little Bear Company Handmade Teddy Bears

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