Steiff Teddy Bears

Business Talks With Steiff Teddy Bears

Business Talks With Steiff Teddy Bears 

Stuffed Animal & Plush Toys Market Research Report study on market strategy, investment plan, industry share, growth factors, industry policy, revenue, opportunity, demand and 2026 forecast.

Global “Stuffed Animal and Plush Toys” market size is expected to witness high growth during the forecast period.

Some Key Players of Global Stuffed Animal and Plush Toys Market Are:

  • Mattel
  • Hasbro
  • Bandai
  • Ty Inc.
  • Simba Dickie Group
  • Spin Master
  • Margarete Steiff GmbH
  • MGA Entertainment
  • Sanrio
  • Melissa and Doug

Global Stuffed Animal and Plush Toys Market Segment by Types include:

  • Cartoon Toys
  • Traditional Stuffed Animals
  • Dolls and Playsets
  • Customizable Stuffed Animals
  • Action Figures and Model Play
  • Special Feature Plush and Puppets

The Early Days of Steiff Teddy Bears

Steiff Teddy Bears company is over 120 years old.

Steiff Teddy Bears
Steiff Teddy Bears

The toy was first created in 1902 and was named after  Theodore Roosevelt. A childhood favourite has reached a ripe old age – the teddy bear is 100 years old. Now the teddy is big business.

Steiff produced black bears after the Titanic disaster. At the same time, a factory in Germany owned by seamstress Margarete Steiff began making a soft plush, jointed bear – with a trademark button in the left ear.

In 1903, the company exported 3,000 bears to America. Daniel Agnew, a specialist from Christie’s, said the bears on sale on Tuesday were more than childhood toys. He explained the hobby of collecting bears had become more and more popular in recent years. “In the 1970s and 80s, it became a big collecting subject,” he said. “Steiff was always the most expensive and is consequently the most valuable now.

Born in Giengen, Germany, Margarete was the daughter of building contractor Friedrich Steiff . Doctors finally diagnosed Margarete with polio.[wiki] after 3 years of illness. Margarete regularly attended school throughout her childhood and in spite of the pain in her right hand, went to the needlework classes of Frau Schelling where she completed her training as a seamstress at the age of 17. She occasionally worked with her sisters, who had opened a women’s tailors.[wiki]

Her savings allowed her to buy a sewing machine, the first owned in the town of Giengen, and this led to another opportunity to earn income. Margarete worked on trousseau for the town folk and by her mid-twenties was making fashionable clothes and traveling to other towns to work and visit family.


In 1892, her small company applied for a patent “for making of animals and other figures to serve as playthings”. The patent number was DRP 66996, but this was later withdrawn when contested by another German toy manufacturer.

Margarete’s brother Fritz realised that there was an opportunity to sell large numbers of these toy animals and he took some samples to the market in Heidenheim, coming away with many orders. Production and turnover increased each year as did the variety of toys on offer. Pull-along and ride-on toys were also added with the development of metal frames inside the toys.

By 1889, the company moved into a larger building, which had a corner shop where the toys and fabric could be displayed for sale. The words “Felt-Toy-Factory” were painted in large letters on the outside wall. Next came a printed catalogue for customers to order from, and the business grew.

In 1902, Richard Steiff designed “Bear 55 PB”, the first soft toy with movable joints, which was to become the first teddy bear.

By 1903, a large shipment of toys had been sent to a New York showroom, but there was not much interest in the plush toy bears that were displayed there. In March 1903, Richard Steiff took jointed soft toy bears to a spring fair in Leipzig, where they caught the eye of an American buyer, who ordered 3000 bears. From then on, “Bear 55 PB” became a bestseller in the United States – a remarkable achievement for a small German business from the Swabian Albs. Starting in 1906, the bear became known under the name “Teddy Bear”, named after the American President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.[Wiki]

The Steiff Teddy Bear quickly turned into a family business as Fritz’s kids entered their auntie’s business in 1903. As per June 1988 article in Antiques and Collecting magazine, two of Gretle’s nieces started working for the company. Yet, it was Fritz’s six children who took initiative in the business.

The oldest, Richard, joined the firm during the 1890’s. He acquainted Steiff items with the globally famous Leipzig toy in 1894 and planned a zoo-loaded with creatures after the 1900’s. Richard’s sibling Franz, a materials expert, joined the organization as a chairman in 1898. Paul turned into a creator with the family firm in 1899, Otto went ahead board as a universal merchant and publicizing pro around 1900, and Hugo assumed responsibility for quality control in 1906.

Steiff Teddy Bears

Consequently this cohesive family carried on the tradition after Franz died in 1908 and Margarete in 1909. Hugo and Otto were chosen co-overseeing executives, while Richard and Paul carried on their work on the imaginative side of the organization.

A 6th kin, Ernst Steiff, at long last joined the firm in 1927. Established a reputation as a generous employer, and Margarete nephews carried on that tradition after her passing. Among other benefits, the company offered low-rent apartments and low-interest mortgages to its staff, which by 1909 numbered nearly 3,000.

Steiff Teddy Bear  and Growth in the 20th Century

Though the company had begun making stuffed bears as early as 1892, the “teddy” bears for which the toy maker would become world-famous did not come into play until after the turn of the 20th century. Among the zoo animals Richard Steiff designed in 1902 was a bear with jointed arms and legs. Little did the family know that U.S. political cartoonist Clifford Berryman had by that time touched off a craze that would help launch the company’s biggest selling toy of all time.

The incident arose in 1902, when U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt went on a four-day bear hunt in Mississippi. The president’s hosts had captured a bear cub and tied it to a tree to ensure that their esteemed guest would get a kill on his outing. Roosevelt surprised his hosts when he refused to shoot the ursine youngster, and Berryman immortalized “Teddy’s Bear” in a cartoon for the Washington Post.Steiff Teddy Bears

Whenever Berryman featured the president in a drawing, there too was the little bear. American toymakers, most notably the Ideal Company, rushed to churn out teddy bear toys, but the Steiff bears had already earned the distinction of being first. Ironically, not one of the original (and unmarked) 3,000 Steiff bears brought to the United States is known to exist.

In 2015, Steiff Teddy Bears company meets RIMOWA

Two traditional German companies join forces for a limited suitcase edition. The classic aluminum case from the Cologne case manufacturer RIMOWA is not only adorned with a drawing of the Steiff bear on the outside, the interior of the case is also designed with gray alpaca typical of Steiff. Worldwide, only 1050 of these cases are sold in RIMOWA stores and 250 more in the Steiff shops. Similar to Aurora Plush the company needed to stay flexible in a growing competitive market.

Fast Forward  to 2018

Steiff receives the Disney Heritage Award – The first cooperation between Disney and Steiff came about in 1931. Many fascinating, detailed plush toys followed. This year Steiff receives a very special honor: the Disney Heritage Award.

2017/2018 – The expansion continues….

With the opening of six more Steiff shops and flagship stores in 2017/2018 in Munich (2), Mannheim, Ludwigsburg, Sylt / Westerland, Bremen and Frankfurt and the launch of further Steiff web shops in France and the Benelux countries, the expansion continues.Steiff Teddy Bears

13/01/2020 – Steiff Shop Berlin is moving.

A new Steiff shop will open near the Hackescher Markt in Berlin on Thursday, January 16, 2020. The shop, which was previously located at Leipziger Platz in the Mall of Berlin, will move there.

An important part remains, however, because shop manager Heike von Malottki-Exner and the shop team also move into the new location. No wishes remain unfulfilled on a sales area of ​​150 square meters. In addition to the world-famous plush toys with the “button in the ear”, current baby and children’s fashion in sizes 50 – 122 and gift ideas for young and old, there is also something new to discover in the shop.


Though the company had begun making stuffed bears as early as 1892, the craze launched the company’s biggest selling toy of all time – the Steiff Teddy Bear in 1903. Named after Theodore Roosevelt the Teddy Bear lives on as strong as ever. In addition to the world-famous plush toys with the “button in the ear”, current baby and children’s fashion in sizes 50 – 122 and gift ideas for young and old, there is also something new to discover in every store.

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