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The bear necessities

Christmas Bears have been a huge part of our history since 1986 when our first bear, Snowy was introduced. This year we introduced Joshua, our 2019 bear. We caught up with our Harrods Signature experts to find out more about how Joshua came to life.
Tell us a little bit about your role?
Felicity: I am Felicity, the Buyer for Harrods Signature, Toys and Christmas. I have been part of the Harrods family for 12 years.
Sarah: My name is Sarah, I am an Assistant Buyer for Harrods Signature and have been part of the family for two and a half years.
So, the Christmas Bear, where do you begin?
First, we begin by taking a look at a very important book – we refer to it as the ‘Harrods Christmas Bear Bible’ – it contains pictures of our past Christmas Bears. We take a look at the previous bears and consider elements and traits our previous bears have had to ensure we don’t replicate and this year’s bear is unique.
We also attend trade shows to understand and get insight into the latest trends in regards to; plush (material), colours and textures. Once we have an idea of what we want the bear to look like we start to think about what we want him to wear. Will he have a hat? What kind of jumper will he wear? We think about every single detail, big or small before we brief it to our suppliers.
When we get a few bears back we decide which supplier to work with and the exciting part of making the bear begins to take place. We go through a few iterations before we sign off on the final bear.
It’s a great project and takes around 14 months from concept to the shop floor, which means sometimes we are working on two Christmas Bears at a time! Spoiler alert, next year’s Christmas Bear may have a zip.
How exciting, how do you decide on the name?

Felicity: I do lots of research on names. We have a look at the most popular names, traditional names and lots of other factors too. Once we have a shortlist we run through our favourites with our Director, Raj and CEO Michael to collectively decide the final name.
What’s your favourite part of working on the project?
Sarah: When you see the first completed sample, you can see the character and the project feels like it’s all starting to come together. From that moment you can instantly tell whether it’s a Harrods Christmas Bear – it’s such an exciting moment.
Felicity: This is the 13th Christmas Bear I have worked on. I started in 2007 working on Benjamin, followed by Oscar, Maxwell, Archie, Freddie, Chester, Sebastian, Jasper, Benedict, Hugh, Bertie, Oliver and finally Joshua. For me, seeing it on the shop floor is always my favourite part and a priceless feeling.
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