Some moons (several months) ago now I came across this leather bear cub made by Superior Labor and, well. Here I am now.
It’s a fairly substantially-sized, all-leather teddy bear, made by Superior Labor in Japan. Needless to say, the craftsmanship is exceptional: the stitching is tight and strong, and the leather is of beautiful quality. I cannot imagine the number of skilled hours required to put this bear together, but I am simply delighted.
The limbs are removable (and thus also possibly replaceable), but very securely on—to take them off would require quite some effort, and likely an adult. The arms also don’t swing upward from the side like a normal arm (chicken flapping) or an arm on a regular teddy bear, but sort of swivel up.
Of course the absolutely best part of this bear without a doubt is the heavy duty zipper on the back that opens up a compartment out of the belly.
What little girl or boy would not want a surprisingly roomy space to hide all sorts of treasures: stones from the park, a cloth napkin, snacks, little friends, tools, a small notebook or pencil. This is the sort of thing I would have loved when I was a kid, to have this bear with a secret pocket.
We had ordered the bear for Naomi months ago, as it takes Superior Labor some time to make each of their items, particularly something like this. I had already been internally debating for a while about whether or not get Naomi some sort of special doll or creature that would be hers—I don’t know if I’m naturally an “American Girl” sort of doll person, and when I cam across this, I knew it was right.
It arrived earlier this past week, and alas, I had had to withhold it for some time after opening it up to glory in its new leather smell, until I could take photos. Naomi had somehow developed this strong suspicion that this bear, sitting on our computer table, waiting for its photo shoot over a few rainy and grey days, was for her.
In hindsight, I could’ve hidden it away in some closet, but I suppose learning a little delayed gratification isn’t so bad. I mean, it was also terrible: she had this intuition that is was hers, but it wasn’t really strong enough to demand the bear—she would just bring me over to the table and point at it and say please and look at me in that pathetic way forlorn one year olds do.
It’s safe to say Naomi is in love. She’s sort of an overall affectionate sort of baby (maybe most babies are, before they learn the fact of other people’s feelings in life), and she has been kissing and hugging and putting it to bed and dragging it around—although she did laugh very gleefully when she tried to put the bear down in a seated position and it toppled over.
Because of the cost, this bear is only available through pre-order for now. Generally wait times from Superior Labor are 3-4 months, although there are times when it’s faster or slower depending on their studio schedule. This bear is such a lovely heirloom piece, as a beautiful Christmas gift or celebration gift for a special birthday or occasion.
This is the perfect teddy bear, and I’m so glad this is something Naomi will grow up with, and maybe even pass along. This leather cub will only grow more and more beautiful and worn in the more it’s loved and kissed. Leather is so strong, and yet the more it’s used the softer it gets. Eventually, if needed, limbs can get replaced, leather can get patched, but I love that as she grows up, the bear will slowly change with her along the way.