Mary Lou Moeller, 73, Florissant (RIGHT)
Hannah Burchett, 77, Florissant
Family • Both are widowed with grown children and grandchildren.
What they make • Mary Lou is the owner of Mary Lou's Unique Creations. Hannah is her assistant and best friend. They make furry and fabric teddy bears. To buy online, visit heirloombears4u.webs.com. You can email Mary Lou at Mlmoeller38@gmail.com.
• Tell us about your business. Mary Lou: I started my business about 15 years ago, and Hannah joined me five years ago. We make teddy bears from fabric and from genuine mink coats.
• What type of educational experience do you have in teddy bear designs? I studied under Nancy Drosher, a volunteer at the Teddy Bear Museum in Naples, Fla.
• Why teddy bears? I've always loved teddy bears. I guess I haven't grown up yet. I got so involved in the designs and patterns when I was in Naples.
• What do you use for the stuffing? It's a polyester fiberfill.
• Tell us the process of making a teddy bear from a mink coat. I get the mink coats from my customers' grandmothers. First, I turn the mink coat inside out and remove all the seams. Then, I mark the teddy bear pattern on the backing of the coat and cut the pattern. I don't cut the fur. Next, I sew the bear together by hand. Finally, I turn the bear right side out and stuff the arms, legs and head and add the eyes.
• Talk to us about the teddy bear clothing you make. For example, I can make a replica of a bridal dress or a groom's tuxedo. I can turn your clothing into a one-of-a kind memory for any occasion such as a New Baby teddy bear or a Birthday teddy bear. Don't discard your old clothing. I reuse old clothing to make jackets, vests, pants and tops for the bears. I've even made teddy bears from herringbone coats.
• What else do you make? We make purses, baby blankets and scrap bags for scrapbookers.
• What are your prices? My furry bears range from $65 to $100, and the fabric bears range from $20 to $35.
• What are you working on now? We just finished making crib-size handquilted quilts.