Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Cohen.
Hi Rachel, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I created this company after a trip to Southeast Asia where I worked with children who, on a daily basis, had to deal with extreme trauma. Having my own childhood trauma with health issues, I knew I had to do something and to support these children. Teddy bears were a vital piece of my childhood and provided a sense of security, stability and comfort during the tough days.
Coming back from my trip, I was searching for the answer to provide comfort and a sense of stability to these children. I started on Instagram with a gigantic teddy (Jeff) showing life from his perspective, mostly to be humorous. However, people quickly became hooked. Seeing the familiarity of comfort and joy it brought people, and being reminded of how impactful teddy bears were for my own childhood, I came up with the idea of doing a buy one, give one teddy bear business model to support children going through trauma.
“Jeff” means peace, which is the gift we want to give each child no matter what they’re facing.
Since 2016, the progress for My Bear Jeff went from just an Instagram account with a gigantic bear, to an idea concept, to finding an outstanding manufacturing partner, creating a prototype, partnering up with excited nonprofits and launching a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2019 to bring this idea to life.
To date, we have given away over 1000 teddy bears in our communities!
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road has been anything but smooth. I had zero experience in manufacturing or the toy/retail industry, and no idea of what I was doing. I decided to run a Kickstarter campaign which was (to date) the hardest thing I’ve done in my career. I also had no experience asking or raising money and was not prepared at all to do the push.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
My Bear Jeff is a buy one, give one teddy bear model to give back teddy bears to kids going through trauma. Each bear was designed with kids in mind to give them a best friend to be there through everything they go through. I have a branding and marketing background and have a feel for design. I wanted our bear to be something special to stand out from the rest. We created a bear that has a red heart on its chest and a name tag for kids to name their own bear. The look of the bear, the warm feeling it promotes, coupled with the buy one/give one model is what separates our bear from others.
Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
Always keep the vision in mind. There are a million moving parts every day but to stay focused on why we’re here, to help children in trauma, has been what has kept me going. And that “thing” is, and will always be, to do it all for the kids.
- $35 – buy 1 bear for you (or someone special) and 1 will go to charity
- $25 – send a bear to charity
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: mybearjeff.com
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/mybearjeff
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mybearjeff