Inspiring stories: Rachel from Bear Good

June 2, 2015

If you read my first inspiring stories interview then you’ll know what these interviews are all about.  Today it’s time to meet another incredibly inspiring lady who is also a mum.  Everybody has setbacks in life – some have bigger setbacks some have smaller – but we all have them.  It’s not these setbacks that define us but how we deal with them.  So I hope to share stories that will inspire us all and help us to realise that no matter what, we can achieve those dreams and goals.  In today’s story, despite numerous delays, setbacks and medical problems, a gorgeous handmade teddy bear brand was created and launched.

Rachel BEasley Bear Good

Meet Rachel Beasely who is the founder and designer behind Bear Good – a range of traditional teddy bears made in England that are given a contemporary twist.  But Bear Good isn’t just about the bears, it’s also about doing good.  Read on to find out more about these bears and about Rachel’s story of sheer determination.

Tell us a few words about you?
I’m a mum of two – a 3 year old girl and an 11 month old boy – who are both the apples of my eyes!  I’m originally from Yorkshire but have been in London for almost 15 years.  I used to be in advertising and marketing but then took the leap in to entrepreneurship and tried a few different things.  In 2012 I had the idea for Bear Good and the rest is history as they say.  A pet hate of mine is noisy eaters – I can’t sit next to them as it drives me nuts!  Only adults though, I don’t mind kids eating noisily which is a bit strange!

What has been your biggest struggle so far?
Getting my business launched!  You have a plan in your head but then things happen that you have no control over.  I planned to launch in February 2014 but the products were late so I had to delay.  I was also pregnant with my second child and due to deliver very soon.  Unfortunately my obstetrician didn’t listen to me about my past medical history and gave me some incorrect advice which resulted in a traumatic birth leaving me with severe back problems.  On good days I experienced pain but on bad days I couldn’t even get out of bed.  I learned to cope with this as there was no choice.

Things got progressively worse with with my back throughout the Summer of 2014 but I wanted to focus on the positives in my life like becoming a mum for the second time and enjoying my son.  I knew I couldn’t give the business all the time it deserved but I tried to look at what I could do.  I decided I could slowly build the website myself just to keep things moving and planned a soft launch just before Christmas 2014.  However on December 1st my back finally gave way.  One minute I was stood up and the next I was on the floor.

The next few weeks are a bit of a haze!  On December 19th, the day before my birthday, I was wheeled in to hospital for an injection in my back.  A few hours later I was wheeled out the same way as the injection hadn’t worked.  I had another in early January which enabled me to shuffle along.  But then I had an operation on my back on 16th January and the change was amazing – the following morning I was sat up in a chair having a cup of tea after having been for a short walk!

Where and how did you find the determination to carry on with your plans?
Aside from my family, my business was something I could focus on that wasn’t related to my back.  And because I had committed to a charity already I didn’t want to let them down.  Financially I’d invested a lot too so giving up just wasn’t an option.

inspiring women interviews

A lot of people in your situation would have given up on their dreams.  Did you ever feel like giving up?  And how did you pull yourself out of those dark moments?
Oh yes! I felt like giving up plenty of times!  Especially when the pain was unbearable.  But I had the love and support of a great family who helped me get through this.  My mum practically moved in with us to help keep the house ticking so that my partner didn’t have to worry about the washing and ironing.  My partner was my rock.  At my lowest points he picked me up and helped me see a future past the pain, past being in bed and running around with the kids again. I had six weeks post-op where I couldn’t pick my baby up and when I did it was wonderful, as was getting my daughter on my knee for a cuddle.  I also kept imagining my company being successful and achieving the goals I’d set myself.  So I can’t believe it but I launched the website a couple of weeks after the op.   Looking back, launching the site then was probably pretty stupid, but I think I just needed to close a chapter and open a new one.

British teddy bear makers

Tell us a bit about Bear Good.  What inspired you to make teddy bears?
It wasn’t so much about the bears to start with but more the idea of interweaving doing good with a business.  We were told that having children would be difficult for us.  Following a lot of mountains climbed and hurdles overcome we welcomed our daughter in to the world in 2011.  I felt very, very lucky to have been given this gift and I wanted to protect her, nurture her and ultimately give her everything I possibly could.  Filled with all the new mum wonderment (and exhaustion!) I started thinking about all the children out there who haven’t got a safe environment to live in, a nurturing loving family, good healthcare and access to quality education.  I knew I wanted a shift in direction post-birth, so combining my business and branding background with the urge to do some good at the same time led me to come up with Bear Good.  The company has been built on a real commitment to giving, so much so that we give 10% of our sales to the charity and the non-profit we support.  This means donating is intrinsically built in to our business model as the charity gets their share come what may, rather than being profit share based.

teddy bears made in England

As creatives we are always looking for new ideas and ways to make them a reality.  Tell us how you look for inspiration and how you turn that in to a teddy bear?
The teddy bear is the flagship product and my inspiration came from imagery of children carrying a teddy bear.  It said to me that there is a whole lot of love from a child to their bear and that’s the kind of love that we want to pass on to the children we are trying to help.  I also recognised that to be a bit different we had to look again at design and I opted to go classic where high quality is part and parcel, design is simple and there is somewhat of a legacy created.  After all, we are aiming at the gifting market where someone is looking at buying a gift that is incredibly special and meaningful for a special occasion like a birth.

A teddy bear is for life.  I wanted to make sure I made bears that would last a lifetime, that a child could have adventures with and it would still be in one piece in years and years to come.  Yet I didn’t want them to be old fashioned.  So whilst the designs are classic, the fabrics are contemporary like moleskins and corduroy.  We wanted to support British manufacturing as much as we could so the fabric has been sourced from a mill in Todmorden, Lancashire.  The bear’s t-shirts are all inspired by the American raglan motif t-shirts from the 70’s.  Perfect for everyday wear and gifts alike.  I love them and would wear them if I could!

I’m really excited to say that every child that has come in to contact with them wants to take them home – the bears have a real personality to them are just waiting for good homes to go to!

What’s the best part of running a small business?
As most mums would agree, life with children is busy and non-stop. So the flexibility I have makes life much easier as a family.  I also like the fact I can make my own decisions and put my ideas in to action.

The world of soft toys is so incredible these days.  There is so much choice out there for any budget and taste.  Apart from your own, which soft toy creators do you admire?
I adore traditional teddy bears, I love Lucky Boy Sunday softies as the designs are wonderful and I also like Sew Heart Felt puppets.  Of course Jellycat has to be in there too – my son and daughter both have different characters whom they love.

What is your best piece of advice for anyone who has suffered big setbacks in life?
Don’t beat yourself up if you have to change your plans.  If you need time to heal, take it as it will pay back ten-fold in the long run.

inspiring stories of overcoming struggles

Would you change your past if you could?
I would have listened to my gut instinct in the hospital as I honestly believe I wouldn’t have been through this if I had.  The times when I haven’t listened to my gut instinct are the times when things have gone wrong.

What’s next for you both professionally and personally?
Professionally I am aiming to build the Bear Good business quickly to make up for lost time.  Personally I am making my back as strong as it can be in the hope that I never have to go under the knife again.  On a lighter note I am already planning Christmas 2015 in my head as I missed that, my birthday and the new year last year so I want to make this one really special for my partner and my children.

Thank you Rachel for sharing your inspiring story with us.  What I loved most about getting to know Rachel was that giving up was never an option for her.  In our chats and messages to each other I got a real sense of sheer determination from Rachel.  Nothing would stop her achieving her goals and making her dreams a reality.  As Rachel explains, apart from family, it was visualising those very goals and ambitions that kept her going through her darkest days.  Giving up may seem like the only way in short term and who would blame you if you did under such circumstances but if you slowly chip away at your goals, they can and will become a reality no matter what life throws at you along the way.  Do take a look at Rachel’s gorgeous one of a kind teddy bears that would make a lovely gift for a new baby or an older child especially to mark a special occasion.

P.S. If you have a story of overcoming a set-back (of any kind) and would like to share it, please get in touch – I’d love to hear from you (only requirements are that you are a parent with a blog or business but if not a parent you have a baby/kids related business).  You can get in touch privately through the contact page or send me a private facebook message and we can chat more to see if it’s something you would like to share.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

  • Mirka Moore @Kahanka @Fitness4Mamas

    Such an inspiring story. I have to say that I am not sure if I would not give up after all the health problems, this is just incredible! Well done to Rachel for not giving up and starting such a great business!

    • ebabee likes

      I thought the same – I don’t know if I would have found the will to carry on. But as you say Rachel’s strength and determination are a real inspiration.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

Theme by Blogmilk   Coded by Brandi Bernoskie