Josie Smith is the longest serving employee at Tambo Teddies, she even outlasted the original owners. Moving to Tambo in 1988 when the family purchased their property, Shady Downs, 61 km east of Tambo on the road to Alpha, Josie started with the business in 1993 sewing bears at home.
When Josie began, the sewers undertook the whole process, they cut-out the skins and then sewed and stuffed the bears, things then changed, and a new process, where the sewers received the skins already cut out and just had to sew, was implemented. The very first Tambo Teddies had a cute little stitched on mouth, however Josie missed the memo about ‘little mouth’ and her originals had rather large grins spread across their faces.
Josie has sewn most things at Teddies; the bears, the coats, shirts and pants for the Mr and Mrs Stockmen and amazing ‘one-off’ bear outfits. As a very creative person, Josie found she disliked making the Stockman clothing as it was just too repetitive. These days Josie is responsible for making the most amazing ‘on-off’ outfits, turning our bears into some very special characters.
Not able to nominate her favourite bear Josie lists some of her recent creations as memorable teddies, a leprechaun, Dorothy, Santa Claus, Cam Smiths and Paddington Bear. We think her Paddingtons are amongst the best! There have been so many different teddy creations that Josie finds it challenging to remember them but fortunately there have been many photos taken over the years that capture her creations.
A talented seamstress, Josie loves to create quilts, cushion covers, bags, wedding dresses and all sorts of clothing. She always has a crafty, inventive solution and use for everyday items such as buttons and other bits and pieces. There is one Tambo Teddy residing at Shady Downs and Josie has been a great supporter of the business spreading the love by giving many bears to family and friends.
As the longest serving employee, Josie has helped contribute to Teddies’ success. Reflecting on her contribution Josie commented, ‘I have loved being part of the Tambo Teddies journey, and I really enjoy the challenges of making new and different teddy outfits.’