Jodi Anderson didn’t set out to start a business. Two years ago, she made a faux fur teddy bear as a Christmas gift and soon after orders began pouring in.
Since then, Anderson has been busy building a teddy bear business, named Anderson Bears, and filling a need. Anderson’s mission is to serve families who have lost loved ones, including babies and Gold Star families, as well as seniors transitioning to long-term care facilities.
What sets this North Carolina-based company apart is that each bear’s clothing is made from the person of honor’s clothing as a unique and special touch. They can be passed down through generations, and with each cuddly bear squeeze, keep the memory of a loved one alive.
Anderson creates Legacy Bears as a way for recipients to honor and memorialize a loved one.
World War II veteran Carl Memmel, 94, is an exception. He was able to receive a teddy bear made in his likeness. With a personal connection to Memmel, Anderson tracked down a picture of him from 1948 as an 18-year-old serving in the U.S. Army’s 11th Airborne Division. She used this as inspiration for his teddy, which bears a striking resemblance to Memmel.
A Military Connection: Gold Star Families
It’s clear Anderson has a heart for the military community. Several Gold Star Families have been recipients of Legacy Bears that honor fallen heroes.
Anderson believes the Legacy Bears give grieving families “something they can love and cherish forever.”
Anderson created a Legacy Bear in honor of Sgt. Justin Marquez, who died in 2012 as a result of wounds from small arms fire while on foot patrol in Afghanistan. Justin’s Legacy Bear was given to his mother, Terry, as a special reminder of her son. The bear even wears Justin’s shirt. While the bears are typically made of faux fur, Anderson created Justin’s bear out of a gifted mink coat that had been passed down in her family.
Anderson says her teddy bears “connect people back to family that they are missing and alleviate symptoms of loneliness, depression, and anxiety.”
Beyond Legacy Bears
In addition to Legacy Bears, Anderson offers two other categories of teddy bears. Prayer Bears are made with colored ribbons on paws and ears that correlate with an awareness theme, such as pink for breast cancer. These are custom made and available for any cause.
Angel Legacy Bears are made specifically for parents of stillborn babies, helping to overcome empty arm syndrome by giving them something to hold onto in their grief. These bears are weighted to the baby’s birth weight, and sized to wear newborn clothing.
Anderson Bears Legacy Love program provides personalized teddy bears to seniors to hug as a comfort item during a transition to assisted living.
Honor your loved one with a teddy bear
Whether it’s a Legacy Bear wearing your hero’s clothing, a Prayer Bear color-coordinated with your favorite cause, or an Angel Legacy Bear, the gift of a bear hug is a meaningful way to honor loved ones. Visit www.andersonbears.com or connect on Facebook or Instagram to find out more.Read comments