A Shopping Checklist for Stuffed Animals and Toys

checklistContrary to popular belief, shopping is more than just a pastime. It’s a skill and one that anybody should master by now. Unfortunately with all the temptations around, it can be particularly difficult for some people. Fret not because we’re here to help starting with this shopping checklist for .

Item # 1: Durability

Toys, even the collectible ones, should always be durable. What good is purchasing an item that’s not long lasting or would easily break in one pull? That said check the strength of the stitching and adhesives. We want them to last as long as possible and although upkeep plays a huge role, an already durable and quality made toy elevates their longevity. Besides, given that kids aren’t exactly tactile this characteristic becomes even more crucial.

Item # 2: Brand and/or Manufacturer

It’s not about paying for a name but rather for the product quality. The biggest names in the toy industry are not celebrated for nothing. Of course, this is not saying that startups or smaller toy companies are bad. They’re not. At the end of the day, purchase toys from manufacturers that you trust regardless of size or years. Looking for clues? Check customer reviews and feedback. That should give enough idea.

Item # 3: Fur and Fabric

Stuffed animals and toys often come with fur (made of mohair) or fabric. They need to be soft in texture but also sturdy in such a way that they don’t fall off or rip off easily even when pulled and especially when washed. It’s also best to check if they don’t easily fade and are not particularly sensitive to washing.

Item # 4: Design

Stuffed animals are beloved not only for their cuddliness but also because of their visual appeal. They’re cute and they come in various designs, patterns and hues. When shopping for them, make sure to choose a design that the recipient likes whether such recipients pertains to you or to somebody else.

Item # 5: Price

Stuffed animals and toys, even the best and finest of quality, should be reasonably priced. The only exemption would be those deemed as collectibles which are rare so they end up raking pretty hefty prices. Otherwise, they should be aptly priced not too cheap because that’s a red flag and not too expensive because that’s never a guarantee for quality.

The Most Famous Stuffed Animals of All Time

Fame is not exclusive to people. It applies to stuffed animals too! Ever wondered what the most famous ones where?

Steiff Louis Vuitton Bear

More popularly known as the most expensive stuffed toy of all time, the fully dressed bear in a classic Louis Vuitton ensemble with a matching mini luggage case was bought by Jessie Kim from Korea at a whopping $2.1 million at a 2000 Monaco auction. How the digits rose, no one knows for sure as the toy didn’t bear any precious metal or stone. It’s currently displayed at the Teddy Bear Museum in Jeju Island.

Titanic Mourning Bear

In light of the Titanic tragedy and as a symbol of mourning in 1912, six hundred black bears of five varying sizes were made and released into the British market. Only a few of these can be found today but perhaps the most popular wassteiffmourning that sold in Christie’s South Kensington auction seventeen or so years ago for $140,000. What’s interesting is that the toy, in exceptionally good condition, was a product of oversight. Its then owner said she didn’t like it so she’s kept it in a wardrobe for years.

Diamond Eyes Bear

Nothing screams more luxurious than the Steiff diamond eyes teddy bear. Manufactured to celebrate the German brand’s 125th anniversary, it came with eyes made of crafted diamonds and sapphires. Its fur was made of golden thread and its snout was nothing but pure gold. Only 125 of these were ever made making them quite the collectible item. During their release, they were priced at $84,000 a piece. But it’s been years since then, they’re more valuable now and would surely fetch more. The only question is who’s going to want to give one up?

Teddy Girl

Of the stuffed animals presented in this list, Teddy Girl is special. First because it’s definitely one of a kind and second because it’s got quite the story to tell. A 1904 cinnamon Steiff bear, it was initially given to Bob Henderson as a kid during his birthday. When he grew up, he later fought in the World War II as a Colonel in the British Army. He brought the toy with him to battle, neatly tucked to his side. After passing away, the toy formed part of his estate and was sold in an auction where Japanese businessman Yoshihiro Sekiguchi bought it for $160,000.

More on stuffed animals here.

5 Things That Make Stuffed Animals Go Bye-Bye

Steiff_Polar_BearStuffed animals are always a pleasure to have either for sentimental or entertainment purposes. This applies to everyone regardless of age. Yes, even adults love these toys too. It’s something most of us never outgrow.

But sadly, not all things last forever. This applies to these toys too and the more we fail to take care of them properly, the faster they tend to depreciate. Surely, we wouldn’t want to say goodbye to these cuddly and furry friends, now do we?

So what can we do? What should we avoid? To make sure that our stuffed animals last long enough for us to be able to at least pass them to our offspring, here are things to avoid and keep at bay at all costs.

  1. FOOD – We may personally love food and even drinks but these toys think otherwise. Even the slightest of spills can damage them, stains being the most obvious consequence. When not immediately cleaned or washed, food can drive insects and rodents to the toy. They’d nibble and sometimes even inhabit it causing its early demise.
  2. MOISTURE – Humidity or moisture can easily destroy any stuffed animal. It encourages the growth of molds and yeast. At first, it often affects the external features particularly the fur and then it progresses to the stuffing inside. Eventually, this rots the stuffed animal. This is why the choice of storage and its location is crucial in upkeep.
  3. DUST – Apart from making them look dingy and smell funky, dust and all types of dirt will only hasten the wear and tear of these toys. They may seem harmless at first but they age the items and gradually bring them to a point where they get brittle and say adios.
  4. HEAT – Heat is one of the primary reasons why stuffed toys suffer from discoloration and why some of its parts and accessories melt or fall apart. Direct and consistent exposure to heat can damage them and it’s often human error that causes it. For instance, the use of hot or warm water when cleaning and drying and the wrong placement of storage shelving.
  5. PETS – Those seemingly cute pets aren’t exactly the tamest of creatures. Cats and dogs may be a treat for us but not to stuffed animals. Our pets can bite, scratch and tear apart these toys so it’s best that they are kept out of easy and immediate reach.

Collectible Teddy Bears and Where to Buy Them

steiff collection bearPeople love to hoard things and we have different reasons for it. In many cases it’s about sentimental reasons, others for investment purposes while some simply have a penchant for collections. One of the more popular items that often get accumulated for such purposes are stuffed toys. But exactly where does one buy collectible teddy bears? Unlike regular designs, these can be a bit harder to come by, right?

  • Specialty Toy Stores – Most toy shops will only carry the regular mass produced designs in the market but if you want something that’s beyond ordinary, target the specialty boutiques instead. Although these won’t come in as large numbers, there’s bound to be one in every city. You just have to keep your eyes peeled open.
  • Online Shops – With the advancement of the digital era, we can now conveniently shop in a touch of a button. There are several websites that offer these collectibles which range from vintage finds to the more recent limited edition releases. Type a few words into the search bar and you’d be rewarded with options. Just make sure to check and validate before making the transaction for safety.
  • Auction Houses – Many of the much coveted collectible teddy bears around the world are being traded in auctions. These high intensity sales involve a bidding process so expect that the prices can skyrocket. There’s no window for bargaining here. In fact, the most expensive bear in history was sold at a 2000 Monaco auction for a whopping $2 million dollars.
  • EBay and Online Auctions – Much like shopping, auctions are also come in a digital version. Auction sites, such as EBay for instance, allows sellers and buyers to trade in such a way through a digital platform. Again, caution should be observed especially because one cannot physically see and feel the item prior to buying.
  • Garage Sales – Ever heard of the saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Believe it or not, some people are not aware of how valuable some of their old stuff is. If you’re lucky, you might just come across a collectible teddy in a garage sale. It may require more skill in terms of recognition and validation but it’s worth the try. The same applies to flea markets and thrift stores.
  • Antique Shops – Of course, we can’t wrap up this list without having to include antique or vintage shops. They are a treasure trove of not just collectible teddy bears but all things vintage in general. You might just spot one so don’t hesitate to take a look.

Stuffed Animals and 5 Adjectives that Define Them

cuddly stuffed animalStuffed animals or stuffed toys have been around for a while now, more than a century to be exact after the German brand Steiff started manufacturing them in 1880. Its founder Margarete realized that the pin cushions she designed to look like elephants became more popular among children than among seamstresses and tailors. And after that as they say is history.

But even with the advent of more modern toys and gadgets, stuffed animals continue to exude an undying charm that’s timeless and beyond magical. They continue to pile up inside nursery rooms and even shelf collections. They’re undoubtedly a favorite among children and kids at heart.

We asked around to gather the reasons why these toys continue to rank high in demand and below are only some of the reasons we got… in adjectives.

  1. They’re cute. – Adorable, charming, darling, loveable, sweet, appealing and delightful are only a few other words that people describe them with. These furry toys come in all shapes, sizes, colors and designs and even so, they still manage to share one specific adjective and that’s cute. They are endearingly attractive to the point that they tug at your heartstrings and you could no longer do anything but reach out for them.
  2. They’re timeless. – When taken cared of right, stuffed animals last long. In fact, many of them can stand for years and decades. How many of us have received or have given these toys out as a form of inheritance or heirloom to our siblings or even children. A lot, that’s what. Moreover, many pieces are considered vintage collectibles and are hot on the eyes of collectors in auction houses and trading sites.
  3. They’re huggable. – They’re so soft and fluffy so it’s no surprise why people would want to touch, pat and hug them to their heart’s desires. They are pleasant to hold because of they are soft, warm and as mentioned earlier, endearingly attractive. What’s there not to love?
  4. They’re uplifting. – These pieces evoke happiness and warm emotions which is why it’s not a surprise why they help in terms of anxiety, depression and even trauma in both children ad adults.
  5. They’re rare. – Not all stuffed animals are rare but some are as mentioned previously. These are called vintage toys or limited edition pieces that are more for display than play. Not everyone has them and they come with a hefty price. So what?

Should You Buy Teddy Bears Online?

teddy-bears-onlineWith virtually anything and everything bought and sold in the internet, it’s no surprise why more and more people buy teddy bears online. From the regular plushies to the vintage collectibles to the limited edition pieces, you’re bound to find something for you in the cyberspace mall.

Despite online shopping’s massive success and its good run in the market, many people remain uneasy and skeptical about it. It’s new for many people. Yes, that’s a hardcore truth. Millennials by far are the biggest spenders in the online world. The other generations may have dabbled in it but not as much.

So the question begs. Should you buy teddy bears online? We’re giving you a few reasons why you should.

  • It’s convenient. You don’t have to budge. You can be anywhere around the world. In fact, you can be in bed tucked in your covers wearing your pajamas. There are no long queues or the traffic to waste your time and give you a headache.
  • It’s cheaper. As mentioned, you cut on travel thus gasoline and fair. You also forego all the unnecessary shopping and eating that you do once you find yourself in the mall’s complex. Double score!
  • It’s bigger. In terms of your choices, it very well is. You not only have your town or your nearest shopping center to scour toys from. You have the world at your disposal in one press of a button. You can purchase from any seller from any country. This is very beneficial especially when we’re talking about collectibles that are very hard to find.
  • It’s faster. When it comes to comparing and canvassing, shopping teddy bears online is faster and less work. You get to compare products and process and at the same time research about the items, the sellers and the sites trading them.
  • It’s fun. Who are we kidding? Shopping is fun be it offline or online. What makes the latter even more exciting is you can window shop anytime you want without having to spend a dime. Add items to your cart or wish list and save up for them when the time comes.

Now, there are pros and cons when you buy teddy bears online just as much as there are with any other shopping endeavor. Just make sure that you practice the right amount of caution and do your fair share of research first. Be a smart shopper online and offline.

Why Limited Edition Teddy Bears are All the Rage

The world is not new to collections. We’ve known at least one or two of these so-called hoarders and they can amass a number of different things from something as common as shoes and bags to those that come pretty hefty like cars and paintings. But would you believe that toys like limited edition teddy bears are all the rage too? Yes, you’ve read that right and here are some of the reasons why.

  1. They’ve got history written all over them.

There are two types of collectibles: vintage and limited edition. In some rare cases it can even be a combination of both. Vintage teddies for one are so in demand and sought after because they are considered antiques. Time has written itself in them and that in itself screams mystery and interest combined.

  1. They’re rare and therefore one or a few of a kind.

Some of these collectible bears can come in a few pieces while there are those that stand alone as the only available item of its kind. The exclusivity that they bring scratches a particular itch that most people have. We all tend to have a fascination for things that not everyone can amass, even toys.

  1. Their previous owners were quite the celebrity.

We don’t mean celebrity to exclusively point out to actors but to a wide group of significant and noteworthy individuals. Many of these collectibles were previously owned by monarchs, poets, painters, war survivors and other individuals in history who have given a significant contribution to the world in their own ways.

  1. World's Most Expensive - $2,1 Million Steiff’s Louis Vuitton BearThey’re a collaboration among powerhouses.

There are quite a number of collectible teddy bears that were born out of the collaboration among two or more powerhouse brands. One clear example to this would have to be that of the toy considered as the most expensive teddy of all time. The Steiff Louis Vuitton bear fetched $2.1 million in a 2000 Monaco auction and the record has not been broken since. It was a collaborative effort between the infamous fashion house and the first plush toy company in the world. At present, it is preserved and displayed in Jeju Island Korea’s Teddy Bear Museum.

  1. They’re simply charming.

Admit it or not but we can’t deny the fact that collectible teddy bears are downright cute. They’re adorable, huggable and undoubtedly endearing. There’s a certain enigma that draws people to these toys. Yes, as simple as that.

How to Care for Your Stuffed Animals

stuffed animal toysStuffed animals are perhaps the most popular toys out there. Thousands of these furry wonders are manufactured every single day and loads of them are bought and handed out as presents to oneself, to a special someone, a friend or a relative. Their charm exceeds boundaries appealing to both kids and kids at heart regardless of gender.

Now, you’ve probably seen a number of these stuffed animal toys being handed down by parents to their children and so on and so forth. It’s nothing new as stuffed animals are in a way considered a treasure and an heirloom. However, not all of these pieces survive the decades. Those that do however are a result of proper care and maintenance.

Today, we shall dish out some tips on how to care for your stuffed animals making them last longer and looking brand new all the time.

  • Keep them stored in a dry place. Lock them away from moisture as that could lead to a build-up of molds that will eventually rot the toy away. Choose a spot or a type of storage that does not develop or encourage humidity.
  • Clean spills immediately. In the event that something has spilled onto the stuffed animal, be it food, drinks or dirt, clean immediately so as to prevent any stain from materializing. Small issues can be dealt with using a sponge or damp cloth but massive ones may need an overall wash.
  • Sew them up at once. Upon first sighting of a busted hem or any torn areas, bring out your sewing tools and fix them up stat. This shall prevent the problem from worsening itself. A small tear is easy to handle. A bigger one on the other hand may deem the toy irreparable.
  • Check for bugs regularly. Obvious signs include foul odor, weird spots, chewed on fabric and discoloration. There is still hope for stuffed animals that come infested with bugs; however, such must be attended too quickly otherwise there might not be anything left to save.
  • Schedule cleaning. Overtime, stuffed animals accumulate dirt regardless if they are for play or for display. This is why it is crucial to schedule in regular cleaning and washing. Of course, not all of them are the same so it would be wise to research and know the washing instructions first to avoid any mishaps that might damage the item.

Remember These When You Buy Teddy Bears Online

teddybears onilneCyber toy shopping has its merits and demerits. If you’re one smart shopper then you’d be on the former’s side but not all of us are well versed and familiar with the endeavor. Convenient it may be, you can never fully enjoy its benefits if you keep falling prey to mistakes. This is why we’ve rounded up a few reminders to help and guide you as you buy teddy bears online.

  1. Read the “Privacy Policy”.

Since confidential and sensitive information will be exchanged across the interwebs, it is important to be very cautious. It can feel particularly lazy to read the policies but it pays off in the end. Your name, contact details, mailing address, credit card numbers and the like will be used to finish off the transaction. You won’t want these ending up in the wrong hands. The “Privacy Policy” contains the details by which the site and its owners shall store, use and protect all information received, sent and discoursed.

  1. Understand the shipment terms.

Not all shops will be able to ship the items and make them arrive the next day. This varies from seller to seller and other factors will also come to play such as location and distance. Take note of this to ensure that you get to schedule your purchase and the toy arrives when you want it to.

  1. Assess seller and product authenticity.

Run a background check on the company and the website. The internet shall be very handy with this. Also, look for any blog posts and forums that talk about both the brand and the online shop. Reading reviews and feedback will help you assess quality.

  1. Compare prices across websites.

Don’t go straight away for the first teddy bear you see posted online. Try to compare prices of the similar item in other sites. Don’t forget to put shipping and taxes into your computation too.

  1. Don’t forget to check customs, taxes and duties.

Depending on your and the seller’s location, certain taxes and custom duties may have to be paid before the items are shipped to you. These vary from one country to another so if you ever plan to shop for toys or anything for that matter via the internet then you better brush up on your knowledge about this.

Are you ready to buy teddy bears online? Well, we sure are!

How to Keep the Bugs Off Your Stuffed Animals

bug offBugs. We hate them for many reasons and we simply cannot let them be. They have to be kept away and even removed or else suffer the damage that they bring. They are a pest and that’s nothing to be questioned about. They tend to nibble at and live within the tiniest nook and crannies within our homes and even in our beloved stuffed animals. Yes you’ve read that right. So what’s there left to do? How do we remove them and how do we keep them away? We have the perfect tips for you here.

  1. Avoid contact with food. Insects love to eat and they will smell their way to it by hook or by crook. To avoid having them get into the toys, it would be wise to keep the stuffed animals away from food as much as possible. The smallest bits and pieces can leave a smell and attract the bugs.
  2. Wash food stains immediately. In the event that the inevitable has happened, clean the toy as fast as you could. The longer the food stays, the worse the stain and the more pronounced the odor will be. Small spills can be fixed with a damp cloth or sponge while more serious ones will require washing.
  3. Clean the toy regularly. Over time, the stuffed animals are going to accumulate dust, dirt, sweat and other elements that will lead to its dirty state. His thus necessitates the need for regular cleaning. Doing so not only keeps the insects away but it also helps in the care and maintenance of the toys.
  4. Provide for adequate storage. When the toys are left scattered all over the place, the more likely they are to get dirty and to get infested with bugs. To avoid that, secure and use a system of storage and organization that suits your needs and lifestyle.
  5. Re-stuff the toy. Should bugs be already breeding within the toy, your best option to save it is to remove all the stuffing and the bugs inside. To do so, first place the toy in a sealed plastic bag. Put this in the freezer for a complete day or two to kill the bugs. After which, carefully undo a small part of the hem to remove the stuffing. Throw that away and wash the rest of the toy making sure that it is clean and that all bugs and insects have been removed. Dry it and put in new stuffing. Sew back up and the stuffed animals will look brand new.