Julie and Amanda began working together in 2006 when they discovered a shared passion for promoting and encouraging art and creativity primarily through sewing. They joined forces to combine teddy bear and soft toy design and construction with helping to enthuse children (and their parents) through workshops and creative birthday parties. “It became quite apparent to us that at least a generation had lost the ability to use a needle and thread.”
The business developed into restoration and repair as it became clear this was what people really wanted. Bear It In Mind then began to focus entirely on this side of their work.
With unique flair and passion, the ladies created an extremely successful and highly regarded business with a strong emphasis on customer service. They used new and interesting ways of promoting themselves with ideas such as ‘pop-up clinics’ which found the ladies travelling around the country giving people the chance to meet them before handing over such precious items as their childhood teddy bears.
Julie and Amanda have always been happy to work on any soft toy or teddy bear regardless of age or condition with an attitude of care and regard for their customer’s requirements. “There is always something we can do”, became their familiar mantra.
As demand for their services increased, Julie and Amanda committed to taking on an apprentice and other part-time staff members who they have trained and encouraged and who have become an important part of the team.
The Teddy Bear Ladies are now able to share their passion, knowledge and skills with a much wider audience through their role as regular experts on the BBC’s ‘The Repair Shop’. They hope that, by watching them work, people all over the country might be inspired to pick up a needle and thread and have a go. “There may even be a new generation of repairers developing as we speak, together with growing interest in the history and stories behind the once flourishing manufacture of soft toys in Britain.”
Alongside their regular appearances on TV and radio, they also have their own podcast called ‘Bearly Begun’ and an active social media following on both Twitter and Instagram. It is their hope that further opportunities to share their unique take on this creative and fulfilling subject will arise.
After years of building and developing their business, Bear It In Mind is now limiting the number of restorations it is able to undertake. “This has not been an easy decision. It is clear, as we spend more time as ambassadors promoting this craft, we are unable to work on as many patients as we have done in the past.”
Applications for new repair work are no longer being taken through this website. There will, however, be windows of opportunity, usually through a road-show approach via their links with Merrythought in Ironbridge and these will be posted on the teddy bear ladies’ social media (please do not contact Merrythought before dates are announced).
Julie and Amanda would like to thank you for the interest you have shown in their business.