The History Behind Promotional Teddy Bears

Teddy Bears

The name ‘Teddy Bear’ originated from an incident involving former United States President Theodore Roosevelt, who was commonly known as Teddy. In November 1902, Roosevelt attended a hunting trip in Mississippi where several other hunters were competing. Most had already killed an animal and a group of Roosevelt’s attendants cornered and tied an American Black bear to a tree after a long chase with the hounds. They called Roosevelt to the site, but he refused to shoot it, deeming it unsportsmanlike. He instructed the bear be killed to ‘put it out of its misery’.

The Washington Post published a political cartoon on the incident on November 16th 1902. The original sketch, by Clifford Berryman, involved a large Adult Black Bear and a disgusted Roosevelt. However, in later versions, the bear appeared smaller and cuter, to dramatize the symbolic overtones of the event.

Morris Michtom, a businessman and inventor, saw the drawing and asked Roosevelt for permission to use his name. He later created a soft bear cub toy and placed it in his shop window with a sign labelled ‘Teddy’s Bear’. The toys were an instant success and Michtom founded the company Ideal Novelty and Toy Co which, after his death, would become the largest doll-making company in the United States.

At the same time, in Germany, the Steiff company exhibited a stuffed bear at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903. The bear was seen by a buyer for the George Borgfeldt and Company in New York. An order was placed for 3000 bears to be delivered to the US. Although Steiff and Michtom were both making teddy bears at around the same time, neither would have known of the other’s creation due to poor communication channels.

Style and Material

Since the creation of the first teddy bear, the iconic children’s toy has been celebrated in film, story and song. Over the years, teddy bears have greatly varied in style, colour, material and form. Early teddy bears sought to imitate the form of a real bear with extended snouts, beady eyes and twany mohair fur. Whereas modern teddy bears are styled with baby-like features such as larger eyes and foreheads and smaller noses to enhance the toy’s cuteness. Teddy Bears are made in a variety of materials, most commonly synthetic fur but also velour, denim cotton, satin and canvas. Teddy bears can be decorated with sashes, t-shirts or ribbons. Sewn teddy bears are made from a wide range of commercially available material, including cotton, felt and velour. Other non-stitched teddy bears are made from either knitted or crocheted yarn. Plywood and other craft materials are also used.

The Impact of Teddy Bears

Retail sales of stuffed animals totalled $1.3 billion in 2006. Teddy bears have grown increasingly popular in recent years as ‘do-it-yourself- chains have opened throughout the UK. Among some of the most popular are Build-A-Bear Workshop and Merry Thought. Mass-produced teddy bears are predominantly made as toys for Children. These must either have safety joints for attaching heads, arms, and legs, or sewn joints. They must have securely fastened eyes that do not pose a choking hazard for young children. Teddy Bears marketed to Children in the European Union and United states, must meet a rigid standard of construction. Popular mass-marketed bears made today include Sooty, Rupert, Pudsey and Paddington Bear.

At Redbows, all our Teddy Bears conform to EN71 and CE regulations for toy safety. Even after 100 years, teddy bears are still among the most popular gifts to give to children. Teddy bears signify love, congratulations or sympathy and carry a lot of weight in terms of positive association.

In popular culture

  • Ted (2012), and its sequel, Ted 2 (2015), are comedy movies where children’s teddy bears come to life.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh is a fictional character based on a teddy bear owned by A.A Milne’s son, Christopher Robin. Milne wrote many stories which were later adapted by the Walt Disney Company into theatrical shorts or movies such as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the 2011 film Winnie the Pooh.

Promotional Teddy bears

Teddy Bears

Among some of the most comforting gifts available are teddy bears. These are excellent for a wide range of potential customers because they can be given to children, collectors or even to people who may put them on a shelf in their office. Teddy bears are universally adored and are perfect for promoting charities, universities, schools, organisations or businesses.

One of the best things about Teddy Bears is that you can add anything you want to them. Teddy bears are great promotional tools because they allow you to present information about your company in an informal way.

  • T-shirt bears provide enough room for you to promote your company information, products and services or slogan. One way to use these is to place your logo and company information on the t-shirt so that your customers will have your contact details all year round.
  • Bow Teddy Bears offer enough room for a slogan or phone number.
  • Sash Teddy Bears are perfect for adding your company phone number, slogan or email address. Sash bears are great for charities to use as products that can be handed out during events.

Promotional teddy bears are great for helping to cultivate an association image between your company and something as welcoming as a teddy bear, but the fact that you can fine tune them with personalised decorations means that you can further drive home any concept you are trying to convey. We offer a wide variety of Teddy Bears at Redbows, ranging in size, colour and style. Popular accessories are bows, sashes, t-shirts, hoodies and graduation gowns. Some of our best sellers are listed below.

Cappuccino Bow Bears

Cappuccino Bow Bears

Cappuccino 12cm Bow Bears with a satin bow printed in up to 3 colours. The bear features hand-sewn patches on its head and feet. The Cappuccino 12cm Bear is also available with a sash, t-shirt or as plain stock. *Please note: All our Bears conform to EN71 and CE regulations for toy safety. Dimensions: 12cm – Print area: 60×13mm

Fudge T-shirt Bears

Fudge T-shirt Bears

Fudge 15cm T-shirt Bears with a t-shirt branded in up to full colour with your logo. The Fudge bear is also available with a Bow or Sash. These cute and cuddly bears are guaranteed to put a smile to your customers’ face. Dimensions: 150mm x 120mm – Print area: 50 × 13mm

Cocoa 20cm Bears

Cocoa 20cm Bears

Cocoa 20cm Bears available with a printed bow, sash or t-shirt branded with your logo. Simply select the bear of your choice, accessorise with a bow, sash or t-shirt send us your artwork to order. The Cocoa Bear is also available in 25cm and 15cm. Print area: Template available

Sparkie 20cm Graduation Bears

Sparkie 20cm Graduation Bears

Sparkie 20cm Graduation Bears with a cap and gown printed with your company’s logo. Graduation bears are perfect for raising funds for schools, organisations or companies by selling online or in-store for graduation ceremonies. The Sparkie Bear is available with a range of accessories including bows, sashes, t-shirts and hoodies. Delivery is approximately 10-15 working days from artwork approval. Dimensions: 20cm – Print area: 45×40mm

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