More About Vermont Teddy Bear
In 1981, John Sortino was playing with his son Graham and his collection of teddy bears. Surprised to see that every one of his son's bears wore a tag identifying it as foreign made, Sortino was inspired to bring this American tradition back to its roots by handcrafting bears right here. His first bears, Bearcho, Buffy, Bearazar, and Fuzzy Wuzzy, were made in his wife's sewing room and sold mostly to friends. By 1983, Sortino began to sell his bears from a peddler's cart at an open-air market in Burlington, Vermont. It took four days to sell his first bear and a year to sell through 200.
One day, a customer gave him a terrific idea. A tourist visiting Burlington wanted a bear, but she wanted it mailed to her home. That gave Sortino the idea to package a teddy bear and add delivery service and other extras to go along with it. The Bear-GramŽ concept was born.
Shortly before Valentine's Day in 1990, the Company took its Bear-Gram concept and unusual marketing strategy to New York City. Advertisements featuring well-known local radio personalities endorsing Bear-Gram gifts were placed on Z-100. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Calls for Bear-Grams flooded the Company's three telephone lines and within the first two days, the Company reached its sales goal for the entire year!
Today, more than 150,000 people a year visit the Vermont Teddy Bear Company to find out how a teddy bear is made from scratch, and to make their own teddy bear in the Make A Friend for LifeŽ Cubhouse or select one already made and dressed in the Bear Shop.
The Company believes it makes the best bears in the Universe because every bear is lovingly designed, cut, sewn, stuffed, and stitched in Vermont. The Bears are alive with personality and attitude and they help people connect in a fun, personal and meaningful way.