Meet the Mood Bears.

Meet the Mood Bears.

Where did Mood Bears begin?

The idea for Mood Bears came in the middle of the night, in the depths of one person´s depression, as creative expression of feelings.

Jo Proud was going through a very difficult period of her life. Her personal world was crashing in around her ears. She had become fearful of going out into the town she had grown up in, meeting the people who she had known all her life. The functions of her day-today life were being affected by her mental state and she knew she needed to make changes.

Jo was successful in her career, a qualified and experienced Medical Sonographer, a highly rewarding profession; giving both good news and bad news to worried patients, and catching problems early enough to maybe prevent them becoming serious. She had done this job for more than 10 years and had studied hard to achieve her qualifications.

 But although she was successful in her private life, Jo found that her private life was falling apart. Her normal ability to function in day-to-day life was being affected and it was time to seek some kind of help.

The first Mood Bear

One night, as Jo was thinking about her life and what path she should take, she took up a pencil and paper and started drawing. Amongst many things she drew, almost unconsciously, Jo drew a bear.  This bear had a kind face and when she realised what she had drawn, she amplified the drawing and added detail. The finished result put a small smile on Jo´s face and made her feel a tiny bit better and calmer.

This bear, drawn almost by accident, became Happy Bear. Jo decided to get her drawing made professionally, by a UK company called Plushie. She chose a sunshine yellow fur, because yellow was her favourite colour and considered to represent happiness. She added smiley faces to be embroidered on the bear´s paws.

When this first Happy Bear arrived, and Jo saw her creation for the first time, she broke out in a big smile for the first time in months, and an idea was born.  If such a simple thing as a bear could put a smile on her face at the worst time in her life, then maybe it could help others too. Jo´s imagination began to work overtime, and her creative brain began to imagine a whole range of bears which could maybe help others, children and adults alike.

Sponsorship of Mood Bears

Jo set about designing, producing and manufacturing a range of 5 bears.  Happy Bear, Love Bear, Sad Bear, Nervous Bear, and Silly Bear. She chose the colours of each Bear by studying the psychology around colour meanings, and she added different paw shapes for each Bear to signify the emotion they represented. She put her heart and soul into her designs, wanting to help others, but at the same time, slowly healing herself. 

This was in late 2019, not the perfect time to start a new project, with the world suffering the beginning of a global pandemic and nations starting to go into full lockdown. Despite all this, Jo not only managed to find a manufacturer for her new dream, but also, she secured backing from her local football team, former FA cup and the Premier league cup winners. Leicester City Football Club.

 With the backing of her major sponsor, Jo set about distributing her Mood Bears, as she decided to call them, to hospitals up and down the country. To bring joy, consolation, support and company to patients young and old.  Her campaign grew in fame and she received daily requests from nurses, doctors, care workers and hospice staff to provide more and more Mood Bears for vulnerable and suffering people. Each Mood Bear was a personal present to the patient, and they were free to take their Bear home when they were discharged.

Feedback from the hospitals, hospices and care homes was amazing, with staff reporting a real lift in patients’ mood after receiving a Mood Bear. Most medical professionals agree that a smile and a positive attitude go a long way to achieve positive health outcomes, and that is exactly what the Mood Bears have been bringing to their grateful recipients.

Mood Bears for everyone

In 2021 Jo teamed up with a lady named Dani, who shared her dreams of bringing Mood Bears to a wider public and making them a recognised brand in the therapeutic toys market. Dani became Mood Bears Manager, dealing with everything from marketing and selling, to emails, phone calls etc., and Jo´s trusted colleague. Together they set up an office and a warehouse to deal with the growing demand for these innovative toys.

So, Mood Bears was launched, on sale to the general public, with a brand-new website and internet advertising. Jo designed three new Bears to join the original five Hope Bear, Calm Bear and Angry Bear. She and Dani also approached major retailers and managed to get Mood Bears stocked in more than 60 stores in the UK and in Ireland, making Mood Bears one of the fastest growing new, UK based toy products to be released in the last 12 months. Internet sales show Mood bears being shipped to countries such as the USA and Australia.

 Despite such rapid success, Mood Bears is still very much a small family business. Jo now works almost exclusively with her Mood Bears and their spin off products. So far over 12,000 Mood Bears have been ordered, all organised, marketed, distributed and shipped by Dani and herself.

And the ideas are still flowing; Two books have already been written and published, each featuring one of the Bears, and other accessories have been added to the range such as hoodies and bags, as well as a range of Mini Bears, perfect to carry with you when you need that extra support when you are out and about.  And of course, as you would expect with a lady like Jo Proud, ideas are always flowing and more Bears are in the pipeline.

©Bev Betts July 2022


Plushie Ltd - Custom Plush Toy Prototypes & Plush Toy Manufacturing UK - Home