What is the POLKA DOT CLUB?
The PDC is a collection of handmade heirloom teddy bears and toys made in the USA and founded by second generation teddy bear maker Jennifer Murphy. Each piece is made with patience and care, and MADE WITH LOVE FROM THE CLUB. Membership is open to all.
How do I sign up for the Club and what does membership include?
If you’d like to join the PDC please sign up for our MAILING LIST. We’ll send out occasional emails with news about new items, where the PDC might show up next, downloads and activities for kids, sales and other surprises.
Membership is free and open to all who relish the simplicity of childhood, find pleasure in handmade playthings, love natural fibers, treasure objects made with care, and/or love PolkaDots. WELCOME
What makes these bears so special?
A teddy bear is a special thing. It looms large in our collective idea of what a toy should be but unfortunately there are very few contemporary teddy bears which live up to their predecessors.
PDC Bear’s are made with a 100% natural fur: Mohair woven onto a Cotton backing. This fur is made on one of only a handful of looms left in the world and is imported from Germany at about $100 per yard. Mohair ages very differently than the contemporary alternative, synthetic plush- it ages with dignity showing it’s years but gracefully and begs to be passed on from one generation to the next. Learn more about mohair bears here and the materials and care for PDC Bears here.
Each Bear is hand made in Minneapolis MN from start to finish with patience and care. Jennifer adds all the finishing touches to each piece making it one-of-a-kind and as special as the child who will call it theirs.
Who is the artist Jennifer Murphy?
Read all about Jennifer and why she started the PDC here.
Who is the first generation teddy bear maker who gave Jennifer her start?
Patricia Murphy has been making exquisite mohair teddy bears for collectors around the world since the early 1980’s. She was a pioneer in the artist teddy bear movement, compelled to recreate the quality and materiality of love-worn antique bears made at the turn of the 20th century, Patricia was the first to make contemporary teddy bears that looked “well loved”. She continues to make one-of-a-kind pieces today, and mother and daughter are forever learning more about their craft through each others practice.
What are the differences between the PDC Bears and the pieces Jennifer's made under her own name?
I learned to sew from my mother when I was 11 and I wanted to make bears and stuff animals because I wanted to play with them and as time went on I was very interested in the very act of making things- How each time it engaged my hands and my mind in a way that I loved.
I began making one-of-a-kind and later small limited edition pieces- most were stuffed with excelsior, had glass eyes, jointed limbs, and were made from mohair and 100% wool felt. I had a few people helping me to sew over the years but all details and finishing have always been done exclusively by me. This way of working meant I’ve always had control over all the aesthetic choices and quality of everything that came out of my studio, and frankly I can’t imagine working any other way…
The Polka Dot Club came into being because after making hundreds of bears and animals over the years- all modeled after old toys. I couldn’t think of anything better than reviving the techniques and materiality of vintage toy making but with an eye for design today. Obviously the PDC currently has far less designs than the bears I’ve made under my name (currently 5 in numerous colorways), but each piece is made with the same quality mohair and 100% wool, cotton or linen fabric.
These bears all have beautiful (hand aged) safety eyes and are stuffed with 100% cotton stuffing for children and discerning adults. I’ve used this stuffing for years in all my smaller bears, but stuffing the PDC designs with it means they are softer to the touch than those stuffed with Excelsior but hold their shape far better than the usual stuffed toys you see in stores today. I’ve spent lots of time working on safety concerns and have had all pieces tested by a lab for age appropriate safety. This part was all new, and while very time consuming on my end, it gave me so much peace of mind.
I have a few incredibly skilled people helping to cut, sew and stuff the bears and rattles, but again- all the designing, details, and finishing are done with my two hands. It’s not fast, but it means that each piece is made with care by me. Because each piece takes hours to complete I love to think every bear is imbued with all that love and care by the time it’s sent out into the world… I believe you can feel that when they’re in your hands or your little ones arms.
Who makes these bears?
Jennifer Murphy and a small group of highly skilled crafts people in Minneapolis make each POLKA DOT CLUB bear by hand, from start to finish. Jennifer designs, gathers all the materials, and then hands each bear off to be cut out, sewn, and stuffed. Once those detailed tasks are done each piece goes back into Jennifer’s hands. She adds all the finishing details herself- embroidering the nose, trimming the fur, hand sews the ears in place, and choosing colors and clothes to make each piece unique and very hand made- right here in the USA.
What methods of payment do you accept?
Currently we accept Paypal and all major credit cards.test
I don’t have a paypal account- can I still place an order?
Yes! You don’t have to have an account with paypal in order to send funds. Just go through the checkout as prompted and fill in your CC info.
I want to pay using my checking account; can I just send you a check?
Well Maybe. It’s easy to link your checking account to Paypal and send payments using that as the source. That said, we’re always happy to work with PDC Members, just email us and we’ll do our best to help you promptly.
What is your return policy?
We want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase, if for any reason you’re not, you may return items in their original condition within 15 days from your purchase date. Please contact us right away so we can discuss your order and return. We’ll be happy to either correct your order or give you a full refund minus all shipping costs. If we don’t hear from you, we’ll assume the newest additional to your collection is fitting in perfectly.
How do you ship items within the US?
Domestic orders are shipped via the USPS Priority Mail with tracking, but without insurance. If you’d prefer another method or to add insurance, please make a note at checkout and email us to make other arrangements. up to $40: $6, $40 to $100: $8, $100 to $250: $10, $250 to $400: $14, over $400: FREE
Orders of only PDC CLOTHING are shipped Standard Domestic and do NOT include insurance or tracking.
We’ve had very reliable service with the USPS, that said; once an item has shipped we are not responsibility for any uninsured lost, damaged, or stolen packages.
How does international shipping work?
We offer both Economy and Express shipping from the US Postal Service.
If you require a tracking number the only guarantee is Express Mail, which should arrive within 3-10 days. This service includes insurance for up to $200.
Economy International Shipping available though delivery times vary greatly. Insurance is not available with this service.
International orders over $1000 ship free via Express without insurance. Orders over $500 ship free Economy without insurance.
Please Note: For all orders shipping outside of the US the ship-to recipient will be responsible for any taxes or customs duties incurred. Unfortunately, we are unable to estimate the total amount of taxes or duties that may be due at time of delivery.
For questions regarding customs fees we suggest contacting your local government.
We’ve had very reliable service with the USPS, that said; once an item has shipped we are not responsibility for any uninsured lost, damaged, or stolen packages. Please email us if you’d like to add insurance to your package.
How soon do items ship out?
We do our very best to pack everything up and get it off to you as soon as we possibly can. Generally items ship within a few days and international packages ship within a week. If there is a delay, we’ll email you to let you know. If you have a timeline that you need your order by, don’t hesitate to let us know- we’re happy to help.