Zhanna says the idea of making bear the symbol of the project came up when one of the women brought a knit bear to one of the gatherings. The women work in two groups: one of them knits the toys, and another one makes the fittings and details. Toys are hand-made from tip to toe. The Berd Bears toy is the most popular item among many other toys manufactured by these women.
The Berd Bears project was kick started with support from Jinishian Memorial Foundation; soon, the financing from the foundation came to a close, and the project became self-supporting.
Anahit says with support and guidance by honorary consul of Finland and Norway to Armenia Timothy Straight, and upon the initiative of Sister Hannah, the knitted creations by the women of Berd went on global sale through the project's website, social media, and partners networks (www.berdbears.com
). The sales skyrocketed when the project hit the ground of the Kickstarter online platform reaching out to the markets in the Northern America, Europe, Asia, as well as Australia.
"We have needle-knitted bears of all sizes; we have crochet miniatures, finger puppets, and key chains. A group of teenage girls is bead-weaving. We have exported some ten thousand crochet pieces, and 200 bears mostly to US, the Netherlands, Germany, Finland, Norway, France, and Great Britain," says Anahit.
The Berd Bears have passed a safety certification in Sri Lanka and have been recognized environmentally safe for adults and kids.