Alice's Bear Shop
When a child is very small, before they have responsibility for a pet, they learn to love and care for their first soft toy. If we encourage children to collect toys simply for the brief pleasure of purchasing rather than playing, they'll carry this ethic into adult life. Buying becomes an addiction; a shopping trip a consumer fix rather than an opportunity to buy what we need.
If we're going to teach our children to value and care for the things they have, we need to show them that those things don't need to be the latest "straight from the packet perfect" to be worth having.
There is nothing better to get this message across
than a loved to bits teddy bear
The bond between a Teddy and his human was something we had almost lost. We gave our children more and more, but we were actually removing the joy of having something special. Only a generation or two ago a child had one or two special bears and those friends travelled with them throughout their lives. The wonderful news is, over the last fifteen years our teddy bear hospital has gone from strength to strength giving us hope for the future: perhaps we are turning our backs at last on the 'throw-away society'?
I wrote stories for my children based on the teddies that came to our Teddy Bear Hospital for repair (which are now in print). These days bears and dolls travel to us from the world over to be repaired. In the last few months we've had patients from Kenya, USA and Australia.
We also re-home bears. Maybe a Steiff collection that has outgrown its space or a vintage bear needing a new home. If I could give a voice to anything it would be these gorgeous characters. They may have lost a little fur and their filling may be a little saggy but they are simply stuffed with character, charm and years of love.
This ethic works at all levels of our business. We work constantly to trade in an environmentally sustainable manner, from our choice in business partners and how we trade day to day, right through to the message we pass on to our customers. My business partner Becky has recently penned a very sweet little poem explaining our reuse of boxes for posting. Sustainability and recycling is one of our key messages.
We have now launched a range of gorgeous 'Heirloom Teddy Bear making kits' for both the public and wholesale. With very easy to follow instructions we're helping people create their very own hand-made, mohair, jointed teddy bear, making not just the receiving but the giving special (all materials have been sourced as close to home as possible!). We taught Kirstie Allsopp how to make bears on her Kirstie's Homemade Christmas show and the kits have since gone from strength to strength. Our dream is to find a UK manufacturer and bring soft toy Teddy Bear Making back to the UK.
You can find us at www.alicesbearshopuk.com on Facebook and on Twitter. On Google maps you can actually come inside and take a tour around the shop and hospital.
We are open every day of the year , except a few days over Christmas and the New Year, from 10am till 5pm and our team consists of myself, Dr Dave, Nurse Lesley, Becky and Meg.