Bear Factory party kits from our award winning Be My Bear range
Get your paws on our party packs, gifts & creative crafts. We are the number one DIY bear-making party company with a top Gift Association award for quality, style and value; there are a number of imitators out there, but we are the BEST! Prices from £6; sale or return
Welcome to our magical Bear Factory where you can create a cute bear with our bear building kits. Do it yourself with our NO-SEW teddy bear and raggy-doll making party packs or arty crafty kits for the ultimate entertainment, or book one of our agents for fun teddy bear activities! Teddy bear making parties are a great childrens’ birthday party idea! Try our selection of Easter, Christmas and Valentines day big bears. Why not find out more about our Bear Parties and Workshop
Bear Factory Accessories from Be My Bear
Check out our Bear Factory specials. Give your teddy bear, furry friend, teddy bear, puppy or dog a treat with an extra from our range of bear clothes and accessories. We have bear costumes to suit every budget with cheap teddy bears and t-shirts to decorate and personalise, recordable voice boxes as well as teddy bear picnic party tableware. We also have plush teddy bears for those wanting something a little special. Find out about our wholesale teddy bears if you’re looking for opportunities with Be My Bear. Find out more…
Bear Factory Gifts from Be My Bear
Make a bear or furry friend in your very own bear factory with a unique range of ready-to-go customised sounds for your pals or record your own message. Looking for gift ideas? We have the perfect presents for Valentine’s Day, a birthday, new baby or special anniversary. Find out more…
Bear Factory at Be My Bear ‘A History’
Be My Bear is an award-winning teddy bear company with its paws on a beary creative soft toy venture. Children experience the magic of bringing their very own personalised bear to life – a fun and creative process – with no sewing involved!
The company was founded in the UK in 2000 after discovering a niche market with its bear-making parties, where each guest makes a new best friend! Parents organise their own party with the no-sew DIY kits or book an agent to run it for them. Be My Bear’s products have won a number of awards; the Kuddly Kits range was runner up in the Best Gift for Kids awards run by the Giftware Association in 2004; they won a top website award in 2003.
Pippa Thomas and Jane Weaver, are the two friends behind the business. For them 2003 opened up exciting windows of opportunity, but it took more than 18 months of ups and downs, changes and challenges to reach this point. With no experience or knowledge of the toy industry, Pippa, a journalist and Jane, a teacher, spent 12 months sourcing the component parts and researching the market before they felt confident enough to launch their business in August 2000.
Ready stuffed bears were ten a penny, but finding unstuffed skins was a different story. Finally they found a company with whom they worked closely to develop a prototype – a traditional teddy bear skin with a hole in the back for the stuffing, which would then require stitching. They consulted closely with independent safety testing laboratories to ensure that the component parts met European safety standards and could be CE labelled. The initial range was limited – a large honey bear, a large white bear and a small caramel bear; the birth certificates were designed by Jane’s husband and the fabric hearts were made up by local outworkers. They also used outworkers to make up outfits for the bears and adapted dolls’ clothing for the smaller bears. Each kit contained a bear skin, stuffing, a heart and birth certificate. All orders were despatched from home where they used garage and attic space for storage. They put a mail order brochure together and launched the business locally with a series of workshops and children’s parties in the North Wales area, and nationally with a series of adverts in a number of glossy magazines.
By February 2002 they had pestered the head of promotions at the Daily Mail so much that he finally gave in and agreed to run a Valentine promotion featuring Be My Bear’s love bear. The only slight problem was that the Daily Mail wanted ready stuffed bears and not bearskins for stuffing. So a production line developed in Jane’s garage and kitchen with family and friends stuffing, stitching, gift wrapping and packing Valentine chocs for the love bear promotion. The promotion was a success with bears dispatched in time for the deadline and this would prove to be a turning point in the evolution of the business.
In May 2002, the company bought a portable stuffing machine which they began using as a promotional tool in conjunction with sales of their bear kit range. A second machine with a compressed air unit was built and operated on a trial basis in Center Parcs, Oasis, Penrith.
As the end of their first year loomed, they decided a website (www.bemybear.co.uk) was vital for marketing the business and worked hard to develop a welcoming, child friendly site – the site has now been redesigned. The company were runners up in the Sage/Daily Telegraph awards for Best Small Business Website in September 2003.
A new opportunity also opened up for them in the charity market – they began selling small ready stuffed bears with personalised t-shirts to the local hospice, a contract which was to keep them going during lean times. The hospice is now purchasing 1,000-1,200 bears a year, and Be My Bear are looking to further develop the charity market.
During 2002 sourced their own label animal skins with special closures (no more sewing!) and designed new packaging.
In September 2002 they approached department store buyers, and realised they were on to a winner. They had orders from Harrods and Selfridges as well as a number of smaller retailers straight away. Encouraged by the Christmas sales, they exhibited at the London Toy Fair in January, and had orders and interest from department stores, shopping channels, and mail order companies.
Jane and Pippa then felt confident enough to purchase their first container load of bears direct from the Far East all pre-assembled (no more assembly in the kitchen!) and now with voice boxes. They then rented warehousing for storage and dispatch. In 2003 the product, then known as Design-a-Bear in red packaging was highly commended by the National Association of Toy and Leisure Libraries Good Toy Awards. The company then went back to the drawing board with a experienced designer to develop the new packaging and change the brand name to Kuddly Kits. The first container of Kuddly Kits arrived in May 2004 and in July the product was runner up in the Giftware Association’s Gift of the Year awards (the industry’s Oscars) in the category Best Gift for Kids. Be My Bear also introduced a new range of products called Talking Ted.
The bear-making parties have continued to grow and there are now around 300 bear party planners and agents covering many areas of the UK and overseas.
In June 2006 the girls visited a number of factories in Shanghai to source new product lines. They found several new suppliers who they felt happy to buy from not only because of the quality of the products but also their working conditions and employment policies. New clothing and product lines are always arriving. The latest addition to the Be My Bear family is our Make A Bear Anywhere kit, a product designed to keep the children amused on a journey. The kit contains all you need to make a bear, plus a teddy passport full of fun games and activities as well as pages for photographs and for recording ted’s adventures.
Three years ago Be My Bear became the UK and European distributor for the American Bear Factory and as a result now offers a much more extensive range of teddy bears and animals as well as clothing and accessories.