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Ty Beanies Tracker

Boyds' Chief Designer, CEO, and "Head Bean" was born in New York City in 1949, the son of a German Immigrant. He attended Alfred University in upstate New York to earn his B.S. (how appropriate) and an M.S. in Biology. Being a self-described "true Child of the Sixties", G.M. then joined the U.S. Peace Corps and "split" for the Fiji Islands in the South Pacific, where he did his part for World Peace. Then, for reasons still unknown (Masochism?), he returned to New York to embark upon a seven year career at that Mecca of Merchandising ... Bloomingdales. At "Bloomies", G.M. worked in purchasing, designing, and merchandising, which exposed him to some of the fashion industry's top Clothing Designers ... and also allowed him to take his next Bold Step. Instead of continuing his successful Bloomie's career, in 1979 G.M. moved to rural Boyds, Maryland, near Washington, D.C., to open an antiques shop ... the beginning of The Boyds Collection Ltd.

Antiques to Ducks to Teddy Bears?

The Boyds Collection Ltd. began as an antiques shop in the home of G.M. Lowenthal and his partner (now wife), Justina Unger. Their love of antiques outweighed their ability to purchase many of the rare items, so the team shifted its focus. Instead of the "true antiques" that carried heavy costs, G.M. and Tina began to search out and sell "Antique Reproductions," with the look and feel of true antiques at more affordable prices. This retail venture proved to be so successful that by 1982 they began to wholesale some of these top-selling antique reproductions to other stores.

Some of their most successful wholesale items were Antique Reproduction Duck Decoys that ranged from a 9" stained teal to a giant 3' Whistling Swan. The wholesale part of The Boyds Collection began to flourish as G.M. designed, painted, antiqued, boxed, and sold the decoys and Tina handled the customer service, billing, shipping, and accounting aspects of their business. G.M. added a new line when he found a group of 100% Merino Wool Bears from China. In 1984 G.M. designed a 12" fully joint-ed wool bear and named it after his latest "joint venture" with ....... their newborn son, Matthew. Also in 1984, G.M. - tired of painting 20,000 duck decoys until 3 am.- turned to resin sculpting to produce "The Gnomes Homes," extremely detailed miniature houses based on American architecture and his own fertile imagination.

Growing and Relocating

The company expanded from their home into an I 880s-era Sunday School building down the street. The Lowenthals added a secretary and a warehouse man and continued to wholesale duck decoys, wool teddy bears, Gnomes Homes, and some antique-style brassware. In 1987, G.M. and Tina moved to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and moved the warehouse and office to Littlestown, Pennsylvania, ten miles east of Gettysburg.

The Boyds Collection Ltd. has continued to grow by leaps and bounds over the years, but as G.M. says, "We're a lot bigger than when we were a 'mom and pop' shop, but, for better or worse, we still run it like a 'mom and pop' shop, only on steroids. We're still a little disorganized and a little off-center, and slightly eccentric.., just like our bears!"

How Did the Boyds Bear Line Come About?

G.M. Lowenthal noted the success of the 100% Merino Wool Bears that he had developed and
imported to sell in the antiques shop and whole-sale business. He then licensed the rights to a
design that incorporated "poseable"
characteristics with a plush bear's body. Through G.M'S designs and through the licensing of other teddy bear artists' designs, the Boyds Bear family continued to grow.

Today most of the plush Bears, Hares, and Friends begin as concepts developed by G.M. and the Boyds Product Development Team, through sketches or by "hands on" work with the Master Seamstress in the factory. After a prototype is developed, G.M. makes many modifications of pattern, color, fabric, etc., until the exact "Look, Feel, and Personality" is achieved to his satisfaction. Once a prototype is finalized and signed off, it is handed to the Associate Seamstresses, who make up additional prototypes and patterns for the factory, and the Master Seamstress, who gives the instructions for production. The Seamstresses then cut out the patterns and sew the pieces by hand or sewing machine, in a manner similar to "Turn of the Century" teddy bear production methods.

Once the pieces are sewn together, the plush animal is passed on to Stuffers, who use fiberfill, plastic pellets (our famous "beans"), or a combination of both - depending on the critter's design. From the stuffing process, the animal passes to the Embroiderers, who hand-embroider the noses, paw pads, eyebrows, etc.- no machine embroidery is used in the production of Boyds Bears! Finally, the plush animal is hand-brushed and put through three final inspections. When it has passed this quality control stage, a hangtag is attached, and the Boyds Bear is packed for shipment.

The Hairy Truth

Most Boyds Bears are intended for the Collectibles Market. What differentiates a "toy" from a "Collectible," in our eyes? The look and feel of the bear and its appeal to adults, of course! Unfortunately, many believe that, because Boyds Bears are inexpensive, they are not "collectible." Mr. Lowenthal disagrees. The Head Bean is a pretty smart cookie who knows the value of a dollar and, further, that an item's cost doesn't always reflect its true value! He's seen to it that Boyds Bears, through design and craftsmanship, offer true value to the collector.

Describing Boyds plush animals is like trying to describe your own kids.. . each one is unique, irresistible, and slightly off-center. From a single wool bear in 1984 to the entire collection today ... here's the line!

J.B. Bean & Associates .. .comprised of fully joint-ed, pellet-filled animals that can flop, bend, and pose in a thousand and one positions.

Recent History. .July 2001..Lead B. Bottoms Series... The newest Boyd Bear...this was a creation of an Outside Designer! This is the beginning of a rising new artist that the president of Boyds found in the small town of Flushing, Michigan. Lead B. Bottoms actually has packets of BB`s in his bottom so that he will cuddle up into your hands. The Artist, John Higgins is a Boyd shop owner located in the heart of America. The L.B.B. Series was inspired by John's Son in Law who once claimed to have "Buns Of Steel" This comment and John's response is....Enouf said.



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Copyright 1998-2010
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