Well-acquainted with the company from many years ago, I knew Madeline would love to learn how they made their bears, and a purchase of a teddy bear was quickly added to my budget.
Between her collection of Beanie-Boos and other assorted stuffed animals, we might need to do an intervention soon.
The factory was our first stop on the day we drove to Vermont and, although it’s sort of located in the middle of nowhere, it is very easy to find, as is parking in their generous-sized parking lot.
Adults are $4 admission and kids 12 and under are free – can’t beat that for an hour of “something different” entertainment. We received little pins as our proof of payment and quickly joined the tour that had just started.
Brittney, our Tour Guide, was friendly and outgoing, and explained every part of their production line from start to finish, answering the groups’ questions along the way.
There are 20 different parts making up each of their bears, and their seemingly small facility makes 750 bears a day. Most of the various colors of bears available are differentiated by food flavoring names; for example, buttercream, honey, mocha, espresso, maple, and vanilla. They also have a patchwork bear, which I loved, that is a cute mix of all the different types available and one with a Holstein cow pattern of black and white.
The fabric/fur pieces are sewn inside out, and the company added moveable joints in 2001, which definitely sets them apart from other teddy bears. They make an average of 150,000 bears a year for every occasion, and just-because, and there are many different ways you can personalize your bear, from adding a stitched name or memorable date on their paw pads to choosing a uniform or special outfit.
The stuffing is hypoallergenic and made from recycled materials, and the backs of every bear are sewn by hand because, at that point in the production, they no longer fit in the sewing machines. The final step before they are shipped is that all their fur is brushed and they are given a special “beardo” that resembles a bit of a subtle Mohawk.
Their busiest day is Valentine’s Day and, surprisingly, they primarily ship in the United States only. The insides of the boxes the bears are shipped in are decorated with Vermont facts, puzzles, and activities, and they are complete with air holes so the bears can “breathe,” and a chocolate snack in case the bear gets hungry during his trip to your home. Of course.
Each of the bears’ eyes says “Born in Vermont” (I love that touch) around the pupil, and they also have a “tush tag,” which guarantees the bear for life. If something ever happens to the bear, you can send it into their hospital for repair. Loved the little honey bottle IV for the bear on the stretcher (shown below).
After the tour, we browsed the gift shop, of course. They have every size and color bear you could want, along with many outfits to personalize it. Madeline went with a Buttercream bear, which was one of my favorites too, and pajamas.
And proceeded to dress and undress her bear every day during the rest of our trip.
If you undress the frog outfit pictured above, it reveals a Prince costume underneath. Too cute.
If you happen to be in the area, or are planning a trip to Vermont, visit their site to check out the tour details. It’s not terribly long, and it’s a fun place to pop into.
The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory & Bear Shop
6655 Shelburne Road
Shelburne, VT. 05482
(802) 985-3001 /(800)829-BEAR
PS This stop was actually the first smooshed penny we got in Vermont to add to our collection.