Lovingly Crafted Timeless Bears: For Anyone & Any Occasion

Dear Ted

Dear Ted is a proud New Zealand brand that lovingly crafts timeless bears, for anyone and any occasion. Whether you’re looking for a gorgeous gift or brightening up your home, Dear Ted Editions are lifelong companions suited to all ages. Every Ted is knitted from a beautiful blend of New Zealand perino wool, creating a timeless, eco-friendly bear that will stay by your side for years to come. Made with love and care, each Ted is hand finished and comes in a beautiful gift box with it’s very own little personality swing tag. Here, Founder Hayley Herron talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about her business journey so far, the additions to her range, the passion behind Dear Ted, and her hopes and dreams for the future.

The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?

I moved back to New Zealand from London and after years of being in the creative industry, I decided to fulfil my ambition of setting up my own business that combined my love for teddies, design and New Zealand. I wanted to create beautiful, unique bears that would not only brighten up people’s homes and hearts but also make a small difference and help our environment. I worked on bringing a classic style teddy bear with a modern colourful twist to fruition. Dear Ted Editions are boutique bears that come in a beautiful range of colours, each with a personality swing tag and a gift box or tote bag, which makes them perfect for gifting.

The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?

I came across a range of perino (possum and merino yarn) products in a gift store when I was travelling around New Zealand and thought it is so soft and would be a wonderful material to work with. I loved the idea that this material is unique to New Zealand, and I wanted to really focus on being a boutique New Zealand brand.

From there I started buying samples of perino, getting in touch with suppliers and figuring out how I could use this material to make my bears. 

Being a total perfectionist, the design was my number one priority. It took over a year to get it right, back and forwards with suppliers. Lots of trial and errors and all during Covid was challenging, but finally we got there. We launched a few days before my son Wallace was born, in July 2022. It was an incredibly busy first few months.

The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?

The biggest breakthrough was the design of Ted. As our yarn is knitted, we needed to find a filling and lining that would help hold Ted’s shape while ensuring that each Ted is incredibly soft and nice to cuddle. The bears are often gifted to newborns so it was important to me to use 100% natural materials and avoid synthetic stuffing like most soft toys. 

The other challenge was finding a manufacturer that would complete the entire Ted, including all the hand finishing. This was key and what makes each Ted unique.

Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?

It is a juggle but when you love being a mother and a business owner you just make it work.

I am incredibly lucky to have the most wonderful and supportive network around me. My husband will always help where he can, whether it is with the kids or the Teds. Friends and family have been great too. Whether it is bouncing ideas around, babysitting, packing orders, selling Teds, or manning a stand at a trade show – they are my biggest brand advocates, which I am very grateful for. 

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