Hugglets was originally formed in 1985 by husband and wife team Glenn & Irene Jackman to create traditional teddy bears and toys designed both for children and for a growing number of adult collectors.
Prior to that Glenn wasn't a stranger to bears - he grew up in a family that ran a dolls hospital where teddy bears were regular in-patients.
Hugglets is now a publishing and events management business serving a specialist niche market in teddy bear collecting.
In 1987, after a two year foray into teddy bear making, Hugglets published the first edition of the UK Teddy Bear Guide which brought together the details of specialist manufacturers, teddy bear retailers and other related businesses.
The Guide was an immediate success and grew rapidly along with the market and a new edition has since been published every year at the end of October - coinciding with Teddy Roosevelt's birthday.
Although their teddy bear making was soon displaced by publishing and events management, Glenn and Irene look back fondly on those early years.
In 1989 Hugglets organised the first British Teddy Bear Festival in London which drew together over two thousand collectors and businesses. The event proved so popular that Hugglets Teddy Bear Festivals have been staged annually ever since. There are currently two events - in February and September - both held in London at Kensington Town Hall.
The one-day festivals attract around 1500 eager teddy bear enthusiasts and are an inspiration for beginners as well as for established bear collectors from all around the world.
There are 170 stands at each event selling both new and antique bears. Many of the exhibitors are individual bear makers (known as bear artists) who make bears in their own unique designs and style. Many bears are small limited editions or one-off creations.
Around 40 stands at each event are exhibitors from overseas - as far afield as Australia, Canada, Japan, South Africa, USA and Europe.
As many as 10,000 bears and related products are on sale. Prices range from just a few pounds to over £1000. There is also a resident bear repairer tending to injured bears!
In 2009 Hugglets launched their Online Marketplace so that collectors, makers and dealers could buy and sell high quality teddy bears and related collectables from fellow enthusiasts all around the world.
Two further services have been announced - the Hugglets Online Directory aims to include every actively trading teddy bear business in the world and the 10,000 bear makers project has set out to record every bear maker there has ever been.
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