The history of
Clemens´ Teddy Bears
Hans Clemens arrived in Kirchardt/Germany from Alsace with his family in 1948, shortly after the Second World War. Like most people at that time, he had lost everything, including his manufacturing business and a wholesale trade business in shoes, due to the war.
He opened a retail trade business in Mannheim, selling glass, porcelain and gifts, but was constantly asked by customers for Teddy Bears, since these didn’t exist during the war. Hans Clemens made the decision to help his customers and began to produce Teddy Bears from old army blankets. His sister produced these by hand and every Teddy Bear was lovingly and individually made.
Soon the demand for these bears began to increase and the business was extended again and again and eventually Hans Clemens enlisted his first employees.
With the upturn in the economy the business began to flourish and so many enquiries were coming in it was very difficult to cope. Many other plush game animals were introduced into the range, but the Teddy Bear was still the favourite darling of them all.
During the following years, there were many problems to overcome as with all types of industry. However, because of Clemens’ unmistakable style and quality, the company has grown from strength to strength.
Clemens is today a well know soft toy factory in Germany, whose Teddy Bears and animals have conquered the hearts of many children at home and abroad.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Peter Clemens took over the business, but eventually retired from managing the company in 2002 in order to concentrate on developing new designs and concepts for their collections.
Peter handed over the management of Clemens Spieltiere to Mr Ren Lee in that year, but still keeps a loving eye on his company and its many varied and loveable mohair bears and toys.
Today at Clemens-Spieltiere they make a lot of different bears such as the ‘Nostalgic Bear,’ the ‘Panda Bear,’ the ‘Cotton Bear,’ the ‘Baby Bear’ and the ‘Growling Bear’. They range in sizes from 10-90 centimetres and come in shades of brown, honey, white and green. With a worldwide reputation, Clemens-Spieltiere prides themselves on having produced the highest quality teddy bears for 67 years.
Each bear is born from an original design. Before the production process begins each design is critically evaluated in order to ensure that the best bear is produced. To produce plush animals is considerably more difficult than to produce other types of toys. It is not a matter of creating moulds but of perfecting each step of the bear making process; creating a plush animal that is identical to the reference sample takes a lot of discipline and hard work. This can be seen by the fact that every seamstress at Clemens has been trained for a minimum of six months.
Clemens bears are composed of many intricate parts. Upon closer inspection one will discover that the bear is composed of around 20 pieces of plush. At Clemens-Spieltiere the teddy bears do not go through a production line; they are actually individually hand-made. Each part of the bear is sewn together inside out before being assembled. Then the bears are sent to the stuffing department to get their final shape. But there is still work to be done: seams are scraped out, the fur is fluffed, the stuffing is properly positioned and wrinkles are smoothed out. After which the facial expression is added with an airbrush to draw the snout, eye corners and mouth.
With the addition of the necklet, the bears must pass the final quality inspection to receive the Clemens-Spieltiere trademark label. With this, each bear become a part of the long Clemens tradition. Although the appearance of the bears may have changed, the quality and care in producing a Clemens-Spieltiere bear remains the same.