Hugglets 10,000 Bears Makers - BackgroundReproduced from the UK Teddy Bear Guide 2010 (published October 2009)
When Hugglets started producing traditional mohair teddy bears in 1985 we had no idea how many others had gone before or would follow after us. Strangely, we still don't know!
So in 2010, we've decided to celebrate our 25th anniversary by trying to record every teddy bear making business there has ever been in the whole world.
Fortunately we don't have to start from scratch because we have our records from 23 editions of the UK Teddy Bear Guide which also include many bear makers from other countries.
Also in 1997 Hugglets almost launched a global Teddy Bear Guide on CD ROM. Sadly at that time our market research showed there was not enough demand to launch it as a viable product. However, we had already carried out a lot of research into teddy bear makers and other businesses around the world which we still have on file.
Over the twelve years since then we have continued our habit of recording teddy bear makers from every part of the world whenever they have come to our attention.
In January 2010 (and possibly earlier), we will start making a facility available on our website for users to see the bear makers known to us so far. Some key information will be shown about the maker such as their main country of operation, their start date and associated names (for example where a business has operated under more than one name).
Currently we have over 7,500 bearmaking businesses recorded (which we think is about 75% of the total - though it's only a guess) and we are inviting collectors worldwide to help us track down the rest. Our aim is to record 10,000 bear makers by the end of 2010.
Most of the businesses are individual bear artists while others are factories, many long since closed. We've decided to use the generic word 'makers' to cover both artists and manufacturers.
The way it will work (we hope) is that collectors in every country will be inspired to review their collections and check on our site to see if each maker is included. If not, they will be able to submit a brief message which tells us what they have discovered - and we will then enter a new record.
If our existing site information appears to be wrong (for example a date is incorrect) it will be possible to easily submit improvements to our records.
Once we are approaching the 10,000 figure we will start to switch the emphasis to gathering original historical archive material for as many of the makers as possible.
This will be done by inviting collectors and businesses everywhere to upload scanned images and photos of historical interest relevant to each maker, along with any comments or explanations.
For example, you may have in your collection a number of original catalogues or brochures issued by one or more bear makers. Or you might have a photograph of a particularly fine specimen from your collection which you wish to upload and share with the rest of the world.
Also we are especially keen to include advertisements from bear makers through the decades as a part of this archive. And of course it would be great to include some pictures of the bear makers themselves and early examples of their work and workplaces.
Where bear making businesses are still operating we wish to provide the opportunity for makers to share some of their early records which will enhance the enjoyment and knowledge of collectors who have one of their bears.
If a business has closed we still hope that news of our project will reach the 'keepers' of any archives left behind so the material doesn't become lost over time.
In this way we hope to build a treasury of teddy bear knowledge for collectors everywhere to enjoy. Please join us in our 25th anniversary quest!
Glenn & Irene Jackman
The key data we plan to publish includes: