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Dilu Posts: 8,574

For you professional guys and gals:  I am curious, since you sell at shows and on line and all, just how many bears are you able to make in a year? 

How do you do it?

Do you source out parts?

For you non-professionals, who don't have quite the pressure to produce on you, how many do you make?


wendi Toggle Teddies
Posts: 597

Hi Dilu

I have only been making mohair bears for a year and have done 36, so not sure what my average would be, with family life and having Endometriosis I can't spend as much time as i would like on them.

The first thing i do is design a pattern or at least have an idea and then look for the mohair i think would suit it, or sometimes the other way round if i go to a fair and get tempted to buy lots of mohair:lol:  as for all the other bits, i have a good supply and then top up when i need to, and spend hrs on the net looking for new bits and bobs which is all part of the fun of it.

Chico, California
Posts: 9,939

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

I can manage one to two per week, three if I"m under heavy pressure and working like a fiend.  I do all the work myself, no farming out.  Lots of reasons for that, some having to do with finances... some related to the tax issues that get involved when one has a "legitimate" business and takes on employees (don't want the hassle of the paperwork, etc.)... mostly having to do with a reluctance to surrender even the smallest bit of control of the most minute aspect of my bearmaking  to another human being!  Plus, I've heard that a piece is more desirable from the collecting end if every bit of it is artist-made.

This puts enormous strain on me to produce and I just can't keep up with demand; it's a wonderful predicament, but also, stressful, because for a people pleaser like me, I just don't like keeping people waiting.

The up side of being a total one-woman-shop, though, is that I can work at my own pace.  And if live intervenes, I can stay up until 3am to finish what needs doing.  Tiring, yes... but also... Lovely!

SueAnn Past Time Bears
Double Oak, Texas
Posts: 20,786

SueAnn Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

Hiya, Dilu.  I make around 50 - 70 bears/friends in a year and am a one-person business.  I'm like Shelli in that I really don't want anyone else working on my bears.  For whatever reason, I don't think it's totally mine anymore if I'm not responsible for every step.  Of course, I certainly wouldn't mind if there were somebody else to take care of all the paperwork, packaging and shipping, housecleaning, meal cooking, laundry . . . . . . .

Dilu Posts: 8,574

WOW!  I am totallly floored ladies.  Totally!

Wendi; I'm with you, love the internet....almost have to though cuz of where I live. 

Shelli; 2-3 per week comes out to 2.5 per week average and thats 130 bears!  And Miss SueAnn is doing 50-70!  I can't imagine.  I spend most of the day doing bears.  OK I cheated when I put the garden in, but you gotta eat.  I don't think I will ever get as fast as you gals. 

The differance between enthusiasts and professionals.

I did have a learning curve when it came to designing my own.  Well all of you professional ladies and gents, if Dale weighs in, have my admiration.

I like the way you think.  I would have a hard time out sourcing.  You can't be sure of quality control.  AND it is your name out there, not the outsourced person's.

Chico, California
Posts: 9,939

Shelli Retired Help Advisor, Banner Sponsor

I'm not sure I can pull off 100 bears+ per year.  Like I said, the "three per week" is a rare thing indeed.  I usually just manage one...

I do think though that it's fair to say I could manage 50+ per year.  If I spent less time in message board chit-chat, that is.... :D:D:D

We are ALWAYS trying to find ways to "do it quicker" and, plain and simple, there just isn't a way to get lightning quick when it's a handmade item in a one-person shop.  So go easy on yourself.

For those of us that do this for income, it doesn't hurt, by the way, that we have the pressure of utility bills, the IRS, the mortgage, and kids (who need something, every second of the day) breathing down our necks, urging those  productivity numbers onward and upward...!

Dilu Posts: 8,574

You mean you aren't sewing while you wait for stuff to happen.  Amelia got her embroidery done while I was on last night.

But I would be more productive......gotta go.


yosemitebearworks Oakhurst, CA
Posts: 64


I too manage about 50 bears a year.  I tend to work in cycles.  When I have a show coming -- I push harder and get more done.  After a show, I tend to grind to a halt for a while.  This time is not entirely wasted, though, as bears are never far from my mind.  It is during this after-show down time when most of my planning happens for my next wave of bearmaking.  I make sketches, lists, and look for accessories that will be needed for my next bunch of bears.  Then "whammo" the gears start whirring and I'm off again.  If I would work consistantly I could get much more done -- but that's not the way that things work for me, I guess.

I love your avatar, by the way, it's such a happy group!  And I love the concept of "Golly and the Three Bears"  Darn!  Why didn't I think of that?  Great job. :)

Hugs,  Donna

Dilu Posts: 8,574

Aww Donna thanks.

Do you guys dream bears?  I do and then think it happened in real life.  But great ideas come in dreams.  And a really neat thing about menopausefor me is that  I don't sleep very well, so that helps me remember my dreams.

Actually the three bears were all the same pattern and same fabric.  I played with enlarging and decreasing patterns durring that time.  They are about 8 months old now. 

Donna I bet the box didn't get there can take 10 days for mail to make from here back to Oakhurst/Mariposa.

Hope you like it.


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