All About Charlie Bears
When you hold a Charlie Bear in your hands,
you know he/she is unlike any other teddy bear you've ever seen or owned.
Want to know what makes these paw-some "bears with personalities" so special
and how they came to be? You've come to the right place.
This is where you can find everything you always wanted to know
about Charlie Bears and more.
Love, Dreams & Bears
When she was just five, Charlotte ("Charlie") received her first teddy bear, which was the start of everything to come.
Her passion for bears grew into not only a personal hug but also a vocation.
With the help of her mom and dad, Charlie opened and ran three teddy bear stores.
On day, William ("Will") came into one of the stores to buy a teddy bear for his mom who was in hospital.
As Will recalls, he left the store "with a bear in his hand and a song in his heart."
He would soon visit Charlie's other two shops...to buy more bears for his mom, of course.
The rest, as they say, is history.
A year to the day after they met, Will proposed to Charlie, and a year after that, they were married.
Because of rising rents, Charlie had to give up first one, then the other two shops.
She and Will decided to start their own business...but what kind?
Charlie had always felt that there was a gap in the market for high quality, collectible teddy bears but at affordable prices.
So in 2005 Will and Charlie made the decision to start their own teddy bear company, Charlie Bears Ltd.
They would make plush bears but to the same high standards and with the same fine details found in more expensive mohair bears.
They sold their home and rented a large farmhouse where they could both live and work.
For the first year they lived on what they called their "Baked Beans on Toast Budget".
It was during that first year, at a teddy bear fair in Münster, Germany, that Will and Charlie met renowned bear artist Heather Lyell
who agreed to design the first collection of Charlie Bears. Later that year, in New York, they met Isabelle Lee who,
in return for Charlie Bears helping to sell Isabelle's existing line of mohair bears in the U.K.,
also agreed to help design and manufacture plush bears for the new company.
The first Charlie Bears collection was introduced at the NEC in Birmingham in the spring of 2006.
The range consisted of just 12 bears. With orders from over 100 stockists (retailers), the trade show was a huge success
for the fledgling company. In September of 2006, Will and Charlie made their first of what would be many appearances on QVC.
Charlie Bears is now a global phenomenon with the Bearhouse (office, warehouse and gallery)
in Cornwall in the U.K. and Cubhouses in Victoria, Australia and Florida, U.S.A.,
and with hundreds of stockists in 37 different countries around the world.
Bears Against MS has been an authorized Charlie Bears stockist (retailer) since early 2008.
In 2020, we were honored to be named as one of only 10 Charlie Bear Paw Stores in all of North America.
Paw Stores are retailers, globally, who not only provide excellent customer service
but also carry the largest range of Charlie Bears products from every collection in every year.
Paw Stores also carry exclusive products and certain Charlie Bears Secret Collection plush characters
which are more difficult to find than those in the general collection.
What Makes Charlie Bears Special?
Charlie Bears uses only high quality fabrics including European plushes and Schulte mohair.
Many of these fabrics are created to Charlie's own specifications.
The bears are hand-made, from the cutting of the pattern to the final detailing.
The same detail is applied to both the plush and mohair bears. They have hand-sculptured faces, hand-embroidered noses
and often feature air-brushing to provide character and definition.
Because they are hand-made, even with the same bear, no two will be exactly alike.
No wonder Charlie Bears are known as "bears with personalities".
Do We Choose A Bear Or Does The Bear Choose Us?
Since all Charlie Bears are hand-made, even two of the same bear can be slightly different
and we firmly believe that you don’t choose a bear, a bear chooses you.
We therefore photograph every bear we receive and upload the photos to the Bears Against MS Photo Gallery.
So if we have more than one of a bear available and you would like to pick a face, you may do so.
Who Designs Charlie Bears?
Charlie works with a number of talented bear artists to help bring her ideas to life.
Charlie Bears' head designer is world renowned bear artist Isabelle Lee who is from Korea.
She designs for both the plush and mohair collections.
Heather Lyell, who has designed for the plush collection, is from New Zealand
and her original creations are featured in museums around the world.
Alison Mills, from the U.K., is the latest designer to work with Charlie. She designs for both the plush and Baby Boutique collections.
What Is Random Plush?
A bear made from random plush has different colors printed directly onto the fabric
(this differs from a patchwork bear which is made of different colored pieces of fabric sewn together).
These color variations show up in different places on each bear, depending on how the pattern was cut out on the fabric.
So one bear might have a splotch of color in one place while another of the same named bear might have that coloring
in a totally different place, making each one truly unique.
Charlie Bears' Signature Tickly Toes
Most Charlie Bears have paw pads that are made of a faux suede, although some are made of other fabrics
such as cotton, leather and reverse mohair. Many have sculpted paw pads with detailing such as air-brushed shading and stitching.
Charlie Bears calls these special paw pads "tickly toes" and they are one of the most popular design features of Charlie Bears.
Recently Charlie has added a strip of fur between the paw pad and the toes of some bears, making their paws even more special.
What Is a PLUMO Bear?
Charlie Bears produce both plush bears and mohair bears.
Then they have also coined the term "PLUMO" to describe bears which are a combination of both fabrics.
On a PLUMO bear, the muzzle and inner ears are made of mohair (or occasionally alpaca);
the rest of the head, body and limbs are made of plush.
Only a very small number of bears in each year's collection are PLUMO bears, making them extra special.
The Isabelle Collection
Each year, Charlie Bears launches a collection of mohair and alpaca bears called "The Isabelle Collection".
Designed by Isabelle Lee, these bears have hand-sculpted facial features, air-brushed muzzles,
hand-embroidered noses and glass eyes. Some have white felt under the eyes to give them that soulful look.
They often wear beautiful necklaces or fine fabric neck bows, sometimes even both.
Each bear is part of a limited edition of generally between 200 and 500 pieces world-wide.
The bears are released throughout the year, but many sell out through pre-orders on the day of the launch.
Each year, Charlie asks Isabelle Lee to choose the bear she most enjoyed creating for the Isabelle Collection,
a bear she would like to champion, and that bear is then fondly referred to as the "Isabelle Masterpiece" for that year.
The Masterpiece series has become one of the most sought after pieces each year
as they are limited to 400 or less pieces world-wide. This year's bear is made from a combination of mohair and alpaca.
The Minimo Collection
Is finding a place for your bears becoming a problem? With that in mind, Charlie created the Minimo Collection,
a hug of small mohair bears. They will sit on the knee of a larger bear so take up little to no space!
As Charlie says, "There's always room for one more bear."
Since the first Minimo collection in 2009, the range has been expanded to include dogs, cats and other animals.
Each Minimo is limited to between only 600 and 2,000 pieces world-wide.
The Secret Collection
These are bears and other characters who are not featured in the annual Charlie Bears catalog.
They are released at various times throughout the year and are generally only available on the shopping channels,
through Charile Bears Direct and through select Charlie Bears Paw Stores (of which Bears Against MS is one).
Many of Charlie Bears' bears wear beautiful accessories, including bell collars, necklaces
adorned with beads, bell or key accents, or pretty organza neck bows.
Because the plush bears are deemed suitable for ages 3 years and above, due to EU safety regulations,
the accessories on these bears are attached to the bear with a few strategically placed stitches.
Since the mohair bears are suggested for ages 14 years and above, their accessories are not required to be sewn down.
Charlie Year Bear and Charlie Mohair Year Bear
Each year, Charlie chooses the bear that best represents her and the new collection,
and this very special PLUMO bear is named the Charlie Year Bear.
Starting this tradition in 2009, every year the Charlie Year Bear has morphed into a different character.
The Year Bears are limited to just one year of production.
Knowing how close these bears are to Charlie's heart makes this series extremely popular with collectors.
Starting in 2014, there has also been a Charlie Mohair Year Bear produced each year.
What Colors Are Pandas?
In nature, pandas are generally black and white, although there is one known instance of a brown and white panda.
However, in Charlie's mind, pandas aren't just black and white. So in the world of Charlie Bears,
you'll find pandas in shades of red, orange, blue, green, grey, yellow, brown, cream and many more color combinations.
Name a color and there is probably a Charlie Bear panda in that color.
By the way, the same goes for bears, they are not just black, brown, gold or white.
You'll find Charlie Bears' bears in lots of different colors.
What Is A Giggler?
Designed with open mouths, the "Gorgeous Gigglers" are a series of bears that will add some fun to your life.
They are certain to make you smile, maybe even make you giggle.
Charlie Bears usually only releases one or two gigglers each season.
They have been featured in both the Plush and Mohair collections.
Who are Charlie's Magical Snugglies?
This is a collection of bears, first introduced in 2014, designed by Heather Lyell.
The grouping includes Razzle Dazzle, Fizzywhizz, Hocus Pocus and Mystery.
They have long, skinny bodies with very little stuffing; you can almost feel their internal armature.
Charlie describes this as "like a puppy who hasn't yet grown into his skin."
Later bears with this same design feature include Rainbow, Red Liquorice, Chocoholic, Chutchy Face,
Tippeetoes, Yummy and Scrummy and many more.
Not Just Teddy Bears
Without a doubt, Charlie Bears make bear-illiant teddy bears.
However, over the years they have also introduced many other characters.
In addition to bears, they have made bunny rabbits, dogs, cats and mice,
and have also featured the occasional fox, lion, tiger, panther, elephant, giraffe, kangaroo, badger, raccoon,
and lots of other delightful characters including birds and dragons.
Jointed or Not?
even the tiny 5" bears and key chains, are 5-way jointed.
Some have wobble joints, meaning very loose joints, which make them somewhat floppy but super posable.
Some of the large standing characters, while they will bend at the leg joints, because of the armature used to support their legs,
they are best if placed in a standing position.
Bears and other characters from the Bearhouse and Baby Boutique Collections,
originally designed for younger collectors but now just as popular with adult collectors, are non-jointed.
Look For These Icons
but some are only featured on one or the other.
Video - For a number of Charlie Bears, we feature videos where we give a 360° view of the bear,
describe the color and texture of the fur, the facial detailing, the paw pads and whether the bear is firm bodied or squishy.
We discuss who designed the bear, the accessory he or she wears and whether it is a limited edition or not.
Top Seller - This indicates that the bear has been one of our most popular, but not to worry, we may still have a number available for adoption.
Last Chance - This means that we only have one of this particular bear still available for adoption. So if you're interested, don't delay!
Valerie's Pick - I could put this icon on so many, I love them all, but I've tried to be a little more selective
and only put this on just a few of my personal favorites from each collection.
Adopted - Sorry, this means all of our allocation of this bear has been adopted and we have no more on order.
I Sale - Indicates that the bear currently has special pricing, but that is subject to change at any time.
Reserved - This means that our last of this bear is either on hold or on layaway so unless we have a cancellation,
we no longer have one available for adoption.
Limited Edition - Most of the plush Charlie Bears are open editions but a few are limited editions
(some numbered, some limited in production to a maximum number) and are marked as such on the website.
All Isabelle Collection and Minimo Collection bears are numbered limited editions.
Limited In Production - Some bears in the Plush Collection, mostly the Plumo bears,
while not individually numbered, are limited in production to a certain number.
They are marked as such with the "Limited Quantity" icon.
Retired - Indicates that the bear is sold out at the Charlie Bears Bearhouse so is no longer available for stockists to order.
Once our current stock is sold, no more will be available.
Free Shipping - We offer free shipping within the continental U.S.A. on all regularly priced Isabelle Collection bears
(i.e. those not on sale), with discounted shipping worldwide.
We also offer free shipping on certain other bears, as well as total orders over a certain $ amount*
(* subject to "Oversized Box Notice if applicable).
Charlie Bears Best Friends Club
Charlie Bears has a collector's club with a number of member benefits.
These include advance mailing of all catalogs prior to launch, newsletters and the opportunity to buy club exclusives.
We hope you have enjoyed reading all abut Charlie Bears and their "bears with personalities"
and that one of these paw-some bears will soon choose you.