AS you can imagine, we have been sent a LOT of of soft toys over the years. I once tried to add up the value of all the soft toys in the daughter’s then-five-yr-old bedroom. It frankly made my eyes water. We’ve been sent toys by the biggest high street giants, and tiny little handmade gems by Etsy sellers. We’ve got a 5′ rabbit (named FluffyWully. Don’t ask.), and an entire house full of small Maileg mice, and every shape and size of beautiful, soft, sweetly and perfectly designed soft toy in between. I would say we’re connoisseurs; except her favourite & beloved Cheeky Monkey who gets a squishing each and every night?
He was free with a pack of crisps…
So it takes something just a little bit special to make us sit up and take notice of a new soft toy these days.
They’re something Very Special Indeed.
I love every single thing about this little company who deserve to be an ENORMOUS company.
I love that on the home page you can see the artist’s impression sketches which are where the toys have begun their stories. I love that each toy looks and feels like it’s already lived an exciting life of adventure – straight out of the box (I’m not going to tell you about the packaging – no spoilers. But it’s gorgeous and will make you “ooh!” before you’ve even got to your toy) it has the feel of a much-loved old friend, who’s just come home.
This is Ragtales’ Darcy Bear (Mr Darcy to me, but christened ‘Buttons’ by She Who Knows Best.
Close your eyes and imagine the softest thing you can think of. Kitten fur? Getting close. Now make it just a little softer and squooshier. Add in some perfectly weighted ends to give him substance when you hold him. Joint the limbs so that he can sit or stand properly, and add smooth soft velvety pads for holding. And finally top him off with a kind and gentle face, with strangely amused and twinkly eyes.
Now you’re getting close to Darcy Bear.
Ragtales was created in 2011 by two friends who wanted to introduce a collection of soft toys and ragbooks that are evocative of the rich visual heritage of British literature.
Every one of their characters starts life as a sketch,inspired by quirky, whimsical stories from their own childhood. The sketches are then brought to life and handmade into samples, carefully sourcing the right fabrics to transform each character from sketch to toy.
All the members of the Ragtales family have a story to tell, and their portraits appear on the packaging, whether they are presented in a beautiful high quality box, an embroidered bag, or with a simple hangtag.
These toys just flow with love and charm. Holding one in your hand simply makes the world feel a little happier, a little smaller, a little safer.
Darcy Bear stands 38cm tall, and can be yours for just a button under £30. He’s a beautiful gift for any new baby, and older children can’t fail to fall in love with him. He also comes with an array of clothes – we have the duffle coat as the daughter has a bit of a Paddington thing going on – and even the coat has been thought about and is as soft and huggable as Darcy/Buttons himself. Darcy’s also a modern man – there’s also a really pretty dress & cardigan combo which will make him into Dora bear in the flash of an eye. And she’s unbelievably sweet too!