About this project
Threadies teddy bears are handmade stuffed animals designed to provide comfort and trauma support for child refugees. Threadies teddy bears come in twin sets: for each Thready purchased, its twin is donated to a child refugee, creating a special bond between children across the world.
We founded Threadies on the knowledge that all children need, fundamentally, stability and loving comfort. Working closely with child psychologists and humanitarians, we’ve seen first-hand how effectively a simple teddy bear can treat trauma and provide psychological first-aid, especially for vulnerable children. Since 2013, we’ve collaborated with dozens of experts around the world to perfect a specialty stuffed animal, built specifically for comfort.
"[C]hildren who've been uprooted from familiar and safe surroundings need stability, friends, something of their own: An object as simple as a teddy bear can mean a lot. Having a toy to cuddle at night can strengthen their sense of safety.” -Sandra Maignant, Child Protection Specialist
“It's amazing how something as simple as providing a toy to a child can change their outlook and circumstances.” – Rob Maroni, Humanitarian Country Director
When you purchase a Thready, its unique twin is given to a child living in a refugee camp. Each pair of Thready twins shares a unique fabric patch on the back of their ears, creating a special bond and connecting them across the world.
Your child’s Thready comes with a poem that helps kids understand what Threadies is all about:
In refugee camps, each Thready comes with a coping kit, which humanitarian case workers use to guide children through trauma healing exercises:
Each aspect of the bear was thoughtfully created with children in mind. It was specifically designed for comfort. They are sturdy and just the right size—not too big, not too small—easily embraced in a child’s arms, ready to take on an adventure.
Through Kickstarter, we will be able to raise enough funds to expand into bringing Threadies to stores across the US.
We need your support to reach a bigger audience, invest in new inventory, and get expert advice as we launch a line of accessories for each Thready.
And, most importantly, after a successful Kickstarter we will be able to send a ton of Threadies to child refugees!
The bears have already been designed and several prototypes have been made. During a pilot test in Jordan, we handed out several prototype bears to children in the Azraq refugee camp. Needless to say, they absolutely loved them!
For our Kickstarter launch, three adorable designs are available to purchase and many pledge levels are available to choose from:
1. Educating Children - Threadies purchased in the US teach children the value of sharing love and help them understand that their special Thready connects them with another child across the world.
2. Healing Trauma - Thready twins each come with a “coping kit” that guides children and their parents through trauma healing exercises, based on the latest research in child psychology. These twins are distributed to children in refugee camps surrounding Syria by our partner: International Medical Corps.
3. Empowering Women - Each Thready is hand sewn by a team of refugee artisans in the West Bank, through our partnership with Child’s Cup Full. Stable employment brings empowerment and gives these women the ability to pay for their children’s education.
Threadies would not be possible without the help of some amazing partners. Over the last two years we’ve secured several partnerships to get Threadies up and running.
Manufacturing: We proudly manufacture Threadies in close partnership with Child’s Cup Full (CCF), a non-profit that trains and employs refugee women in the West Bank. Each Thready is hand-sewn by a team of women, who receive a living wage and valuable job training in return. With any excess profit, CCF supports the creation of grassroots childhood development program across the region.
Humanitarian Distribution: We partner with International Medical Corps (IMC) to ensure that Threadies stuffed animals get to children with the greatest need. IMC handles all psychological and trauma-related services for UN refugee camps hosting Syrian refugees. IMC hosted our pilot trip to Jordan in August 2015, and they will begin by deploying Threadies in Jordan's Azraq refugee camp, one of the world’s largest.
Design: Special thanks goes to Shawn Smith, the creative genius behind Shawnimals, who helped us with plush design, and Dr. Meghan Marsac, whose research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia inspired our coping kits. Special thanks to Group7even for designing the logo and advising us in all things marketing, and Old North Media for creating our Kickstarter video. We’re also extremely grateful to Emily Feenstra, Steff Bomb, Stephanie Unson, Valeriano Lima, Mitchell Barthelemy, Brian Donlin, Rene Mazurka, and Anoud Attiyeh, who have each contributed their considerable time and talents toward making this project a success. You guys rock!
Facebook at www.Facebook.com/ThreadiesToys
Twitter at www.Twitter.com/Threadies
Check out our website at www.Threadies.com
Steve Lehmann – Steve is an entrepreneur and technologist with a heart for the most vulnerable, especially refugees. His work in the humanitarian sector has carried him to far off places—Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Haiti, and Jordan—as well as to neighborhoods closer to his home in Chicago. An engineer from Valparaiso University with an MBA from Notre Dame, he has worked on projects related to renewable energy, water filtration, nutrition, and HIV/AIDS.
Andrew Jones - Andrew is an entrepreneur with experience in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. With a degree in International Economics & Cultural Affairs from Valparaiso University, every venture he’s participated in has used business practices as a force for good. He and his wife own Fair and Square Imports, a retail store that sells fair trade products benefiting disadvantaged artisans around the world. His joy lies in bringing handmade items to market and seeing the lives of producers transformed through trade.
Risks and challenges
As with many Kickstarter projects our main risks lie within the production of Threadies teddy bears after the campaign is finished.
These risks include normal delays in manufacturing and shipping.
We have traveled to personally meet with our manufacturing partner, already produced 100 prototypes, and have worked with them to mitigate quality control issues and production delays.
We also have experience fulfilling orders through past businesses and will be able to scale depending on the volume of our campaign.
If, despite our best intentions and efforts there are delays, we will promptly notify each backer, and work to get the bears shipped in a timely manner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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