The Vermont Teddy Bear Company Story:
In 1981, John Sortino was playing with his son Graham and his collection of teddy bears, each one of those was wearing a tag identifying it, as a foreign made. Surprised to see it, Sortino was inspired to bring the American tradition to its roots by handcrafting bears right there. His first bears, Bearcho, Buffy, Bearazar, and Fuzzy Wuzzy, were made in his wife's sewing room and sold mostly to friends. By 1983, Sortino began to sell his bears at an open-air market at Burlington, Vermont. It took four days to sell his first bear. One day, a customer gave him a terrific idea. A tourist visiting Burlington, wanted a bear, but she wanted it to be mailed to her home. That gave Sortino the idea to package a teddy bear and add delivery service and other extras to go along with. The Bear-Gram concept was born. Shortly before Valentine's Day in 1990, the company took its Bear-Gram concept and unusual marketing strategy to New York City. Advertisements featuring a well-known local radio personalities endorsing Bear-Gram gifts were placed on well-known New York City radio station. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Calls for Bear-Grams flooded the company's three telephone lines and within the first two days, the company reached its sales goal for the entire year. Sales and success followed the company as it grew from its lowly beginnings to become a major competitor in the direct response gift delivery business.
The Vermont Teddy Bear Company is the leading maker of hand-made, American teddy bears. By offering its customers a creative alternative to flowers through its Bear-Gram gift delivery service, the Vermont Teddy Bear company is gaining an ever-growing share of the $15 billion gift delivery industry. Well positioned with a firm balance sheet to pursue an aggressive growth industry, the company has been growing at an impressive rate. Roughly, 55% of the received by the company orders were made by means of internet website www.VermontTeddyBear.com. Each of the teddy bears sent by the company is personalized with a card and a candy treats. The Vermont Teddy Bear Company helps people connect in fun, personal and meaningful way.
Opportunities in Foreign Markets: SWOT Analysis
Until now, the company has only been selling to American customers. However, the management is exploring some opportunities in other parts of the world because Vermont Teddy Bear Company is a company with a great potential, which is yet not realised. The company is already one of the most popular gift delivery service companies in United States but to go abroad Vermont Teddy Bear needs to increase its strengths and decrease its weaknesses. To do that, Vermont Teddy Bear Company needs to focus on the findings of external and internal review of the company, which draws attention to the critical organizational strengths and weaknesses, as well as its opportunities and threats with the help of SWOT Analysis. In my point of view, the company has three important strengths such as its well known in United States name, good reputation, qualitative products, variety of products and "Made in America" trademark. Those strengths make a good impression for the company and open a way to explore foreign markets. At the same time, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company has some weaknesses, which slow down the company's willingness to sell its products abroad. One of the greatest weaknesses of the company is its seasonal sales. The company's Bear Gram segment sales are heavily seasonal and dependable on holidays. Holidays such as Valentine's Day, Christmas, and Mother's Day are the largest sales seasons. Such a seasonal sales causes employees, company business politics and sales to alter from season to season. Another visual weakness of the company is, that it more than 50% of its products are outsourced to overseas manufacturers, mainly in Asia, what no longer differentiates Vermont...