The story of Margarete Steiff is filled with fairytale quality. Margarete contracted polio when she was just 18 months old, which meant that she would spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair. However, this spirited and courageous young lady took her life into her own hands - not allowing a disability to divert her. She learnt sewing and tailoring and soon became a very skilled seamstress. She started up her own small business, initially making ladies' and children's clothes. Little did she know, when she was working on a little fabric elephant to be used as a pincushion, that she was laying the foundation stone for the international company of the future - Margarete Steiff GmbH.
Richard Steiff, nephew to Margarete, joined his aunt's company in 1897. He was to become, after his aunt, the second most influential figure in the Toy Industry and the most important figure in the history of the Teddy bear. In 1902 Richard Steiff designed the very first jointed Teddy bear, a bear gifted with movement and a bear that would take the world by storm. Thus, the company name became synonymous with high-quality soft toy animals the world over.
Founded in 1880, Margarete Steiff GmbH has pursued excellence with determination, fuelled by their guiding principle "Only the best is good enough for our children".
From humble beginnings the enterprise blossomed into the world's most famous soft toy company.
Today the company embraces its history, and in doing so embraces innovation, imagination and perfection. Proud of our heritage yet forward-looking and venturesome, Steiff never stops chasing dreams.
The company's extraordinary and unequalled ability in bringing comfort and companionship to millions provides the perfect reason to celebrate a million occasions.