Tatty Teddy, the bear with the brown patches, first appeared with a group of other characters in the Miranda gang in 1987, charming his way into many hearts.
So when Stephen Haines, founder of Carte Blanche Greetings, made the decision to change the bear’s colour many would have questioned his decision.
But it seems the now grey bear with the blue nose hasn’t lost his appeal. Quite the contrary, for it is the Me to You brand featuring Tatty Teddy that has secured its place as one of the fastest growing 'cute' brands.
Me to You was initially launched as a collection of greeting cards and has since grown to encompass proprietary and licensed products; gift wrap and accessories, jewellery, plush toys, collectible figurines, lifestyle products, car and phone accessories, toiletries, confectionery and cakes, crafting, party ware, posters and prints and stationery. The firm says products have a “prominent” High Street presence throughout the UK and can be found in multiple retailers and small independent stores. Not forgetting the full range of clothing available in major UK clothing retailers such as Marks and Spencers and New Look.
“Me to You is probably the most successful non-media based character brand in the world with retail sales set to exceed $800 million. It is important for the future growth of the brand that we work with partners who can help us achieve our strategic objective of making Me to You a truly global brand,” Richard Edmondson, commercial director at Carte Blanche Greetings, says.
And then there is the website – www.metoyou.co.uk - which boasts 150 million website hits per year. Users have the opportunity to download screensavers and mobile phone games, leave messages and keep up to date with new products.
“A key development area is to increase the dominance of the brand in international markets. Working closely with our distributors and licensees to develop a tailored product offering, designed to maximise sales opportunities within these specific markets, has been hugely successful,” Edmondson continues.
Cuteness and sentiment drive the brand’s appeal to all age groups and demographics, while its longevity looks more promising with the launch of Me to You Softly Drawn earlier this year. The firm expects to increase its targets in all areas.
“The popularity of Tatty Teddy has not only generated a multi million dollar brand, but has also produced a hugely collectable character with a registered fan base of 340,000 people and a dedicated website which receives over 350,000 hits each day,” Edmondson says.
Indeed, the character that began life on a greeting card has become a medium, allowing millions of people worldwide to communicate and express their feelings, and created a fan base of all ages that see Tatty Teddy as part of their life.