In January 2011, Steve Lehmann, a Notre Dame MBA Grad, landed in Port au Prince to witness the effects of the earthquake in Haiti a year before. He saw firsthand its devastating effects on children, from whom the basic ingredients of childhood–comfort, safety, stability–had suddenly been stolen. After encountering similar situations during trips to Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda, he was moved to act.
Inspired by childhood experiences with his own stuffed animal, Boppy, he began designing a stuffed animal “coping kit” that would help restore childhood to children in need. In 2014 he enlisted the help of his college roommate at Valparaiso University, Andrew Jones, and the two co-founded Threadies. Threadies creates teddybears that are sold as "sibling" pairs: one for you, and its twin for a child refugee.
Threadies is the result of two years of collaborative research and design. Beginning at Notre Dame with a prototype made of old bed sheets and newspaper, Lehmann worked with humanitarians, child psychologists, and toy experts to create a stuffed animal that is both adorably cute and extremely comforting. Each aspect of the teddy bear was specifically designed—incorporating multi-sensory fabrics, a warm and friendly face, and a pouch that can safely store treasures.
They 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 programs across the region.
To find out more about Threadies, please visit http://threadies.com/