How Willow Bears Compare to Charlie Bears
As Willow Bears have become more well known, people are asking how they compare to Charlie Bears, the better known brand of collectible bears in the world. We would like to try and answer that for you.
Charlie Bears and Willow Bears are very different. They come from different places, are made differently and have different characters.
While some people will collect both Charlie Bears and Willow Bears, most will collect one or the other as they are that different.
Country of origin.
Charlie Bears are currently made in Sri Lanka and Thailand based on tags on the bears and details available online from the TVSN website where Charlie Bears are sold.
Willow Bears are entirely made in the United Kingdom.
The labour cost of each bear is significantly different because of where the bears are made. In Sri Lanka, for example, in 2013, a fifth year skilled garment worker earned A$105.00 a month - as shown at salary.lk. In the UK, a skilled bear maker earns A$35.00 an hour.
Labour cost is a considerable factor in the cost of any product.
Production run size.
A Charlie Bear "plush" bear (as opposed to the limited edition Isabelle and similar ranges) will have a production run of several thousand. They are produced in the factor en-masse. Each bear is not uniquely numbered.
Willow Bear production numbers vary from as few as six of a design through to 250 of a design. There is no factory. Given the small volume, the bears are made in a workshop, based in the UK.
With Charlie Bears there is a named artist for each bear. With Willow Bears, some artists make the bears they design, offering complete artist control. Others design the prototype and oversee production by bear makers in the UK.
How they are sold.
Charlie Bears are sold on TV shows in several countries around the world as well as garden centres, bear shops and other retail outlets.
Willow Bears are sold in locally owned independent retail businesses as well as online through https://www.willowbears.com.au/. This limited access fits with the lower production numbers and the scarcity of the characters.
The ultimate comparison is up to the collector. We are proud of the UK heritage and manufacture of the entire Willow Bears range.