Od Assessment Of Vermont Teddy Bear Company
Essay Preview: Od Assessment Of Vermont Teddy Bear Company
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One of the companys newest lines is the Bearanimals CollectionÐ®, in which six classic Vermont Teddies adopt the traits of different animals through design-incorporated costumes. Mr. Nubbs the Giraffebear, for example, has tan-and-orange spotted fur, a tail, and two nubs on his head. The Pantherbear is black and the Tigerbear is striped, and both have long feline tails. The Holsteinbear is udderly delightful in black and white fur with a cow bell around its neck.
Factory visitors not content to choose from the bears available are welcome to stop at the Make A Friend For LifeÐ™ room, located on the companys grounds. For $25, they can select, stuff, sew, and dress their own keepsake. The room mimics the real-life manufacturing process taking place on the factory floor.
First customers pick a bear that suits them. Next, in the stuffing area, customers select the bears characteristics by spinning a dial programmed to fill the bear with cherishable traits. A quality control hug follows to make sure the bear feels just right before it moves on to the stitching area, where a crew surgeon sutures the bear with a special T. Bear stitch. Staffers record the bears birth time on a birth certificate and administer the Teddy Bear Oath.
How do they come up with all these clever ideas?
“We have brainstorming meetings, involving all disciplines of the company, to create spontaneous idea sharing and just general fun, which, in turn, develop into our next new product offering,” explains Bob Delsandro. The ideas evolve into prototypes, which are then reviewed to see if they will work for customers. “These meetings are wonderful because they are imaginative, creative, emotional, and crazy all at the same time. We have a lot of fun.”
Despite consistently high product quality and ever-increasing customer demand, The Vermont Teddy Bear Company has hit some bumps on the road to success. Founder John Sortino left, both to open the growing companys doors to a more business-oriented leader and to satisfy his own entrepreneurial urges (hes since created two other ventures). Under new leadership, the company broke ground on a state-of-the-art new factory and charged headlong into both retail and catalog ventures. The resulting loss of focus on the core business–Bear-Grams–threatened the companys survival.
In 1997 Elisabeth Robert (pronounced Ro-bear), who had served as the companys chief financial officer for two years, was appointed CEO. One of the nations youngest female CEOs of a publicly held company, Robert, 43, has put the company on a firmer course for the future and fulfilled her obligation to company employees, shareholders, and fans alike by refocusing the business on what it does best: sending Bear-Grams.
Robert has used a mixture of time-tested business techniques and innovative ideas to re-energize the company. She scaled back the catalog program and closed the retail stores. Shes developed some key corporate partnerships which have yielded a variety of opportunities. Further, some of the bears for corporate clients will be produced off-shore. (Cal Workman notes that the companys signature line of 15-inch, jointed Bear-Gram bears continues to be made only at the Vermont Factory.) And, like CEOs around