Vermont Teddy Bear Co, Inc. began in the streets of Burlington, Vermont in 1981. Its founder, John Sortino began this business by selling hand-sewn teddy bears out of a pushcart. His venture marked the foundation of a business which is basically involved in the conceptualization, manufacture, and marketing of teddy bears.
The company is known for its products which are manufactured by Americans using local inputs. Vermont Teddy Bear Co., Inc., however, has begun utilizing imported materials to lower the costs of production and boost profitability.
The major business line of the company is the marketing of bears through a program called Bear-Grams which delivers the company’s products to customers who can order online or through the phone. Bear-Gram was originally advertised through radio stations and orders were taken for special occasions like birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and others. The company has later diversified in the retail of its products. The expansion also meant opening up retail outlets in lucrative areas in the United States. This expansion aimed to promote Vermont Teddy Bear as a national brand.
Vermont Teddy Bear Co., Inc.’s performance peaked during 1994 but slipped off due to managerial problems and constraints (The Vermont Teddy Bear Co., Inc 1994).
External factor analysis is lifted from the opportunities and threats faced by Vermont Teddy Bear Co., Inc. Opportunities include market developments, competitors’ vulnerabilities, lifestyle or industry trends, technology development and innovation and a lot more which poses an opportunity which can enable the company to grab a larger portion in the market, maximize shareholders’ value, or boost profitability. On the other hand, threats can be political events, drop-in market demand, and other obstacles faced by a business entity.
Opportunities abound for Vermont Teddy Bear Co., Inc. The boom in the collectible market posts a bright prospect for the company this means a larger customer base which can be serviced by Vermont. The collectible industry is estimated to be a $9.2 billion industry with the plush collectibles segment cornering a $441 million share (Calta, 1995). In the past five years, there has been a growing preference for the upscale bear, the limited editions, and the artist-designed bears (Leccese, 1998). Companies in the teddy bear industry can take advantage of this trend by expanding their product lines in response to this growth. Vermont Teddy Bear Co., Inc. as one of the most prominent players in the teddy bear industry is in a very advantageous position to grab this opportunity. Manufacture of bears to suit the changing needs of customers can be pursued.
Market diversification strategies can also be undertaken by the company both in the United States and worldwide. According to Vermont’s CEO Elisabeth Robert, the company will take advantage of the rising demand for teddy bears by marketing the teddy bears not just a local but a national product. Diversification to foreign markets like Great Britain, Canada, and Japan also proves to be profitable. This expansion will require additional capital resources and financing.