FLATOUTbears is about us – Sarah and Prue, two sisters from Sydney, Australia. We started our business in 2001 because we had grown up with our sheepskin bears and decided to create a brand of our very own. So that means you would call us a family owned and run business. We are very proud of that!
How did we start? Well, retail is in our blood, starting as babies in our Dad’s antique shop, then in our Mum’s homewares shop in Sydney. We feel we learnt about running a small business through just being there, through osmosis, so it seemed only natural that one day we would start our own small business together.
We first started selling our FLATOUTbears over the internet (when the internet was all new and exciting – hard to believe!!) and this then developed into supplying local stores in Sydney to stores all over Australia and now all over the world. Our little bears travel to the USA, UK, China, Japan, Denmark, Sweden, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, New Zealand just to name a few. So not only are our FLATOUTbears loved in Australia they are also being loved and cuddled all over the world.
Owning and running FLATOUTbears is my little bit of sanity in my otherwise chaotic family life. I love it. I love coming to work, dealing with lovely people and sending our gorgeous bears out all over the world. We have a great little all-gal dynamic team and we all work hard together, have a laugh and achieve lots. To think our bears are sold all over Australia as well as Tokyo, HK, Paris, London, New York….WOW!!!
Starting FLATOUTbears was a great way to ease myself back into Western society after a 2 year stint working in Asia. Initially I thought I would have lots of flexible time but then the FLATOUTbears hit the stores and all of a sudden we had a full time and busy business to run. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s hard work but it’s ours and I love that about having this business. One of the best things, is that I still LOVE the FLATOUTbears. I help pack them up and as I do, I look at their little faces and wonder where they will end up. I am also lucky that our business fits in with my lifestyle and growing family.
We couldn’t manage without our fabulous team of fabulous local women. Mary has been with us since 2009 and keeps us in order and on top of everything. We would be lost without her! Jo and Marissa pack up the bears and get them ready to send out. They take great care in combing their fur, checking their little faces and making sure they ready for their new homes. We also are lucky enough to have a bit of fun (and cake) at work too!
We are lucky – we have been working with a family business in China for over 15 years. The factory, in a remote area of China (a couple of planes, long car rides etc) is a treat to visit. We love China and its people.
The highly skilled workers select the best skins for us (we are fussy), tan the raw material, hand cut our FLATOUTbears, sew them together and finally check and pack them. We visit often and it’s always an adventure and such fun…and the best food too! We like to think we are part of the family! We rely on them and they rely on us.