The African Teddy bears

Sometimes , when you least expect it, you create an accidental HIT. This is the remarkable story of Emily Croxford an acclaimed children’s clothes designer who did not want to waste the off-cuts from a line of afro chic clothes she had just sewn. A spur of the moment decision to make teddy bears from the scraps of cloth has turned into a blossoming business with orders from Johannesburg to Toronto.

In an interview with Emily Croxford, she detailed how she created the most sought after toy in homes and daycares.

AS: Emily, What led you to the world of fashion.

Emily Croxford: I graduated from the London college of Fashion in 1991 and I have been making some made-to-measure clothes for adults and children since. But in the last ten years, due to the overwhelming demand for my brand of children’s clothes, I have been focusing on kids wear .

AS: You have a lovely line of children’s wear, but I sometimes wonder if the market for African styled clothes is not over saturated. How do you handle the competition?

Emily Croxford: I have a really unique approach to designing children’s wear. The collection I have for children is not done in the generic way that you find on the market. I just returned from Ghana Fashion Week and I was the only designer showcasing children’s wear. The response to my line was amazing.

AS: You definitely have the gift of style in kidswear, but what drew me to you is your fabulous line of African teddy bears. I am in LOVE with the African teddy bears and this is coming from someone who has never been crazy about stuffed animals yet I just can’t stop gushing over the Afro-teddys. They are to die for. What inspired them.

Emily Croxford: We were going to fashion show last year and we had off-cuts from the finished dresses lying on the floor. Now I could not bring myself to waste the random pieces of cloth so I decided to make teddy bears out of them and I tell you, they were a hit. Everybody wanted the teddy bear. Now the african teddy bear has a life of its own.

AS: I have to be the biggest fan of the Afro teddys. They are different yet so beautiful. How long does it take to make one.

Emily Croxford: I am so glad you like them. You will be happy to know that they are hand made and it takes about 4 hours to make one. They are not mass produced so you can rest assured that no single teddy bear is the same. There is the odd time that someone will ask us to replicate a specific style they saw but for the most part, we customize the teddy bear to your desire. We can emboss your initials or a special message on the teddy bear if you so wish.

AS: Fantastic! What is next for the afro teddys

Emily Croxford: We have a new line coming out with crystals and rhinestone which is just beautiful.

AS: I cannot wait to get my hands on them. Do you ship to North America?

Emily Croxford: Absolutely! If you go to www. and place your order, we will ship your teddy bear to any part of the world.

AS: Emily, I wish you all the success and I can’t wait to see the Afro-teddy at every toy shop around the world.

Emily Croxford: Thank you.

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