The story of Taunina started more than a year ago when Taunina’s founders, Tracey and Karen, researched the collectable soft toy market as part of an Executive MBA programme. They traveled far and wide, and had the privilege of meeting some of the world’s most inspiring teddy bear and soft toy makers, each with their own special approach to their art.
They spent a typically rainy spring day in Canterbury, three hours outside of London, with the delightful Kerstin Blackburn of Canterbury Bears. Kerstin patiently and passionately shared with them everything there was to know about ‘the making of’ the classic Canterbury teddies and other soft toys in their quaint studio. Meet the adorable Canterbury clan here.
Tracey also spent many hours immersed in the warmth and energy of the Heartworks’ Sewing Club studio, founded by Margaret Woermann – one of the leading lights of Cape Town’s craft world. Margaret very kindly allowed Dorcus Mavu, one of the Sewing Club’s talented seamstresses, to spend many of her mid-week ‘break’ days indulging Tracey’s relentless obsession to create the perfect bear prototype. In July this year Margaret came to train Taunina’s embroiderers at our studio in Woodstock. Have a look at Heartworks’ beautiful embroidered bears here. We absolutely love them.
Over the years teddies have done their bit to change the world for the better. Wired.com features a green teddy that is made of recycled fabrics, Steiff – creator of the first teddy bear – has also collaborated with fashion designers to raise funds for charity, and the Pudsey Bear Collection is helping the BBC’s Children’s Fund to raise money. This year, Pudsey has collaborated with various fashion designers and Liberty to raise funds for children’s’ charities.
In South Africa, Tracey and Karen continue to be inspired by social enterprises that are committed to creating jobs through the beautiful products they design and create. These include Ardmore Ceramics, Tambani Embroidery Community development project and Mielie.