Steiff since 1880
Teddy bears and stuffed animals
“For children, only the best is good enough” This is motto of an extraordinary woman and a unique company. As an energetic young girl, Margarete Steiff fought for her place in life, against much resistance. As I child she was diagnosed child paralysis. Her legs were paralysed and it hurt her to use her right arm. In spite of the pain in her right hand, Margarete went to sewing school and became a seamstress. Later on she took the step towards independence. One day she saw the sewing pattern for a small stuffed elephant. Using this pattern, she made the elephant as a pincushion, but soon the little stuffed animals were very popular as children’s toys. In 1880 Margarete Steiff Manufacture was founded. The first big seller was the elephant. In 1902 Steiff designed the “Bear 55PB” bears, the worldwide first stuffed bears with moveable arms and legs. The bears began an unprecedented selling success in the USA under the name of teddy bear – named after the American president Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt.
A Steiff animal is much more than a product: it is the expression of high quality inventions and first class craftsmanship. There is the attention to detail: to design the animals, the designers work closely with the original examples. Steiff uses mostly natural materials of exquisite quality, such as mohair, alpaca or woven plush. Mohair is the long grown hairy fur of the extremely valuable angora goat. It keeps its colour, silky shine and grip. Alpaca is very light, fine and extraordinarily soft. A Steiff animal is only completed when the dark eye buttons are placed in and fastened by cautious hands. Literally a special moment. Only when the Steiff animals have successfully passed the final checks do they receive the famous button in the ear.
THE CONNECTION WITH LES SAGAS
Every Eastern, Catharina was so lucky to receive a Steiff animal from the Eastern Rabbit, at least that was what her parents had always told her! For Catharina, having Steiff at Les Sagas is like reliving her childhood.