The Vermont Teddy Bear Co., Inc.: Challenges Facing a New CEO
October 21, 2005
Vermont Teddy Bear Company was founded in 1981 by John Sorinto selling hand sewn bears out of a pushcart in the streets of Burlington, Vermont. Since this time, the company's focus has been to design, manufacture, and direct market the best teddy bears made in America using quality American materials and labor.
Until 1994, Vermont Teddy Bear experienced a great deal of success and profitability.
Problems arose in 1995. Since 1995, the company has had two CEOs. It changed its name to The Great American Teddy Bear Company and then changed it back to The Vermont Teddy Bear Company when customers got confused. The Vermont Teddy Bear Company had been known for its Bear-Gram delivery service. In 1996, the company decided to shift emphasis away from Bear-Grams to other distribution channels. By 1998, the company decided to renew its emphasis on Bear-Grams. Vermont Teddy had always been proud of the fact that its teddy bears were made in America with American materials and craftsmanship. In 1998, the company changed this philosophy by exploring the offshore sourcing of materials, outfits, and manufacturing in an effort to lower costs.
In October 1997, Elisabeth Robert assumed the title of President and Chief Executive Officer and began to cut costs and position the company for future growth. According to Robert, their competitors were the people who sold chocolates, flowers, and greeting cards. They target the last minute shopper who wants almost instant delivery. Gift purchases accounted for more the 90% of the Company's sales.
The external factors to consider include:
1. Larger manufacturing facility
2. Bear Grams
3. Retail stores
4. Distribution Methods
5. Disney /Patents, Trademarks, and licenses
6. Competitors (chocolates, flowers, and greeting cards)
7. Production and Service
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