HONOLULU (KHON2) — The iconic Teddy Bear was invented in 1903 by Morris Michtom, a candy shop owner in Brooklyn, New York.
The stuffed bear was created by Michtom to honor President Theodore Roosevelt after seeing a political cartoon that depicted the president refusing the unsportsmanlike invitation to shoot a bear that had been knocked unconscious and tied to a tree while visiting Mississippi.
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Clifford Berryman was the cartoonist who memorialized this event in a political cartoon for the Washington Post on Nov. 16, 1902.
Fastforward to the 21st century, and we have a flourishing stuffed animals’ market.
The Build-A-Bear Workshop is one of the more popular avenues people take to get that perfect stuffed animal for someone… or themselves.
And being the iconic bear maker that they are pursued a study to find out how many Americans love these wee plushy companions.
So, what did Build-A-Bear discover?
They found that across generations 40% of Americans sleep with a stuffed animal even when they have a bed companion.
“At Build-A-Bear, we believe wholeheartedly that you’re never too old for a teddy bear, and we love that more than 25% of Build-A-Bear shoppers are 12 and older,” said Sharon Price John, president and CEO, Build-A-Bear Workshop. “It’s also fun to see older Guests incorporating teddy bears and other furry friends into the celebration of everyday and extraordinary moments in life – from birthdays and engagements to prom-posals.”
They also found that 56% of Americans still have their beloved stuffed animal from childhood with 72% of those respondents saying they would keep their stuffed animal forever.
“As children develop independence from their parents, they still yearn for a secure bond with something,” revealed Dr. Shefali Tsabary.
The survey discovered that 30% of Americans can feel a comforting memory when thinking about a particular stuffed animal from childhood with 22% remembering exactly who gave them that stuffed animal.
“In many cases, children turned to stuffed animals, including teddy bears, to help them through this transition,” added Tsabary. “As we enter adulthood and leave home for the first time, it’s no surprise that the same object re-enters our life, providing comfort while also helping us work through feelings of uncertainty as we transition into a new life stage.”
Finally, regional location was found to be a big part of the equation when it comes to seeking comfort from a childhood stuffed animal. Their study found that in the Southern United States 73% of respondents are most likely to have stuffed animals.
This is followed by the Midwest at 72% and the Northeast with 70%. There doesn’t seem to be any statistics on the Western or Pacific states.
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“We hope the results of this survey … empower people of all ages to go get that favorite teddy bear from childhood that’s been hiding in the closet or make a new furry friend to cherish for years to come,” concluded John.