Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 2, 2012.

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Ancient craft reinvents a timeless classic. Spread joy through unique teddy bears - 100% handmade by artisan women pioneers.

Update:  Thanks to all who helped us reach the MINIMUM budget in less than two days.  You can still get a bear and make a positive impact!  Let's raise another $50,000!

A Berd Bear (pronounced: Baird Bear) is a one-of-a-kind, 100% handmade teddy bear crafted through an ancient technique that was initially introduced to the region of Berd, Armenia by a German nun.  A woman in Berd recognized that the bears were unlike any other and recruited some pioneers to join her. The craftswomen then united with toy-expert and Norwegian Consul Timothy Straight, and together they re-designed a modern classic.

The result?

A bear that is as much art as it is toy - as it is story.  

One that appeals to "children" of ALL ages. Something that will forever be on display, that embodies what can be created with careful hands and prioritizing creativity and quality craftsmanship above all else. (Or in other words, the opposite of most things you can buy in the Western world today!)

If somehow all that doesn't make you want one, then there's also the life-changing impact of empowering enterprising women and artists to dream beyond the mountains of rural Armenia. 

www.berdbears.com for more photos and information...

Who are the women of Berd?

As you can see from the video, the women of Berd are mostly mothers who aside from this project and their craft have limited options for income, particularly due to closed borders and barren industry.  They are also artisans who finally have the opportunity to put their world-class craftmanship to work and are empowered by the camaraderie that comes with being part of a creative community, in a town that previously held no place for one.

Why is the project's goal to raise $5,000?

This is the MINIMUM amount to ensure that the artisans are able to get the quality materials they need for this exciting first-ever design run of Berd Bears.  Of course, the women can make as many of these bears as the Kickstarter community demands, but this is the minimum amount needed to create a run of bears and get them out of the mountains and into the homes of people around the world. 

Why are Berd Bears so awesome?

Each bear takes over 20 hours to make, is 100% handmade, and no two are the same. They also measure a substantial 15 inches (38 centimeters) tall, and the joints rotate a full 360 degrees for unconstrained imagination.  Old world meets new.  No photo introduction can adequately recreate the smiles that meet these bears in person, but to get an idea...

There are a million reasons to want a teddy bear - it's one of the few timeless, ageless and borderless things left in the world.  For such a memorable object, why not adopt/give something with a story behind it, handmade and uniquely reflecting the bear's owner; a mini-treasure that will always evoke smiles and fond memories of the person who gave it or the sort of world you believe in.  

Little in Size.  Large in Impact.

Credits:

Thanks to Manana Films who created the video for this project.

Thanks to Sister Hannah who preserved and shared the technique with the women of Berd, and to Timothy Straight who helped the women perfect the bears.                                                                                                                

FAQ

189
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$17,318
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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    4 backers

    #1) Support the arts and receive a handwritten postcard from one of our artisans! - in ancient Armenian script (translation will also be provided), postmarked and delivered from Armenia, straight to you.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $25 or more
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    21 backers

    #2) In addition to the above, receive a keychain with a hand-knitted miniature Berd Bear! Your name will also be listed as a patron on our website.

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  • Pledge $55 or more
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    56 backers

    #3) Berd Bear with striped sweater and jeans or khakis. Be one of the first to adopt this adorable work-of-art and empower the women of Berd! Your photo will be hung on our proud parents wall which will also be displayed on our website. (Includes cost of direct shipping from Armenia, but please add $15 for shipping to countries outside of USA, Canada and Europe).

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  • Pledge $65 or more
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    12 backers

    #4) Berd Bear with red plaid dress with white blouse - adopt an old-world mother bear designed and handmade by old-world artisans! Your photo will be hung on our proud parents wall which will also be displayed on our website. (Includes cost of direct shipping from Armenia, but please add $15 for shipping to countries outside of USA, Canada and Europe).

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  • Pledge $75 or more
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    13 backers

    #5) Labor-intensive and dressed to impress - adopt this Berd Bear with a crocheted dress. Your photo will be hung on our proud parents wall which will also be displayed on our website. (Includes cost of direct shipping from Armenia, but please add $15 for shipping to countries outside of USA, Canada and Europe).

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  • Pledge $95 or more
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    22 backers Limited (78 left of 100)

    #6) Limited edition Berd Bear with Armenian flag and American flag sweater. Be one of the few to own this highly-desired bear, plus have your name listed on our website and the plaque of supporters to forever be displayed in the Berd Bear facility. Your photo will be hung on our proud parents wall which will also be displayed on our website. (Includes cost of direct shipping from Armenia, but please add $15 for shipping to countries outside of USA, Canada and Europe).

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $125 or more
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    10 backers

    #7) Here's where the real fun begins! Create a personalized Berd Bear with any two flags and a name or short message in Armenian, English or a language of your choosing on the clothing. Select any of the styles above and make it your own. The perfect keepsake for all the (beautiful) mixed babies, immigrants or political activists of the world. Your name will also be listed on our website and the plaque of supporters to forever be displayed in the Berd Bear facility. Your photo with your custom bear will be hung on our proud parents wall which will also be displayed on our website. (Includes cost of direct shipping from Armenia, but please add $15 for shipping to countries outside of USA, Canada and Europe).

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  • Pledge $200 or more
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    2 backers

    #8) As far as custom keepsakes go, this is the ULTIMATE! Utilize the talent of our craftswomen and design your own custom-outfit for a bear, including an embedded message or name on the clothing. To get the juices flowing, the artisans of Berd have offered ideas: doctor, nurse, police officer, priest, bride, groom, soldier, princess, soccer player, graduate, cheerleader, but if you can imagine it, they can create it! Your bear will come with a certificate stating that your bear is your own unique creation and the first of its kind. You will also receive all the supporter acknowledgements listed in reward #7. (Includes cost of direct shipping from Armenia, but please add $15 for shipping to countries outside of USA, Canada and Europe).

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $250 or more
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    20 backers

    #9) Why choose? Get the entire family of Kickstarter Berd Bears (4 bears), plus your name will be listed at the silver level on our website and the plaque of supporters to forever be displayed in the Berd Bear facility. Your photo will be hung on our proud parents wall which will also be displayed on our website. (Please add $15 for shipping to countries outside of USA, Canada and Europe).

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  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    0 backers

    #10) Trip for two to Armenia! Gain inside exposure to Armenia's cultural riches, and most importantly, meet the amazing women of Berd and see their craft. Get an in-depth perspective on the artisans and their impact on the ground. Your name will be listed as prime benefactor on our website and the plaque of supporters to be forever displayed in the Berd Bears facility. On your visit, you will have a chance to receive bears in your family's likeness or in other designs of your choice.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (55 days)