For more than 25 years, Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. (BHTB) has continued to grow as the company has reacted to changing markets and consumer habits in the plush space. But selling to consumers is just one piece of a business that spans mass and specialty retail. It also includes a booming B2B arm in which the company works to develop plush toys and collectibles for other clients. In recent years, BHTB has scored hits with lines such as Tiny Tukkins, Squeezamals, Surprizamals, Shimmeez, MushMeez, and more.
Ahead of Toy Fair New York, the Toy Book caught up with Cristy Collins — current WIT Wonder Woman nominee and vice president of marketing and development at Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. — to discuss the company’s growth, offerings, and what to look forward to as the company prepares to exhibit in New York.
The Toy Book: In what ways has BHTB evolved over the past 25 years?
Cristy Collins: Beverly Hills Teddy Bear has grown by leaps and bounds over the past 25 years. What started as a custom plush company, developing high-end teddy bears and characters for celebrities and corporate partners has become a full-scale, global toy company in the mass and specialty markets. We now develop plush and toys across multiple categories and have products in more than 80 countries around the world. What we are most proud of, though, is what we have been able to maintain through the growth. We are family-owned and family-focused. We have a close-knit team dedicated to quality, integrity and a deep down love for plush.
TB: What sets BHTB apart from other toy companies?
CC: While product and trends change and people may come and go, at the core and really the heart of the company, we have a few overarching principles. Honesty, integrity, and ethics are a major part of this, but it’s much more than that. We have a no-ego, grow together, and win (or lose) together culture. We look at mistakes and bumps in the road as learning and growth opportunities. We are driven by passion and purpose. Most importantly, we support our partners and each other.
TB: BHTB pioneered the blind plush space. Now that collectibles and blind packs are the norm, how do you continue to stand out in an increasingly crowded space?
CC: At our core, we are a plush company but we are also a nimble, trend-based company. Packaging and delivery vehicles change in the same way that different animals or characters will be more popular one year to the next. Knowing that, we are always looking toward what’s next. We are observing trends in other categories and markets, thinking of new and creative ways to execute or deliver product. We are always on our toes.
TB: What are some of the new products that buyers can look forward to from BHTB this year?
CC: We have an exciting lineup this year. One of our most exciting new brands is Wild Alive. We are the first to bring photo-real, super high definition printing to the 3D plush space — and they are awesome!
TB: BHTB often creates products for other companies. What are some of the services you currently offer?
CC: A big part of the BHTB business is our Custom Plush side. Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company mascot, personal creation, or anywhere in between, we have a team dedicated to making that happen. In addition, because of our expertise in the plush category and our unique ability to make impossible timelines possible, we have become a partner to other toy companies to help source and develop plush. We have a small community and we have found that working with each other versus against helps us all win.
Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Co. will showcase its full range of products and services in booth Nos. 679, 688, and 788 at Toy Fair New York, taking place from Feb. 22-25 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
Click here to view the Toy Book‘s full coverage of Toy Fair New York.