Vermont Teddy Bear Company Makes a “Fifty Shades of Grey” Teddy Bear

Vermont Teddy Bear Company Makes a “Fifty Shades of Grey” Teddy Bear

John Goodman

By Isabelle Dietz

This Valentine’s Day the Vermont Teddy Bear Company came out with a limited edition “Fifty Shades of Grey” Bear. The teddy comes with grey fur, “smoldering eyes,” and dressed in a suit with a “satin tie.” It holds a mask in its right hand and mini-handcuffs in its left.

“If you want to dominate this Valentine’s Day, skip the roses and send the limited-edition Fifty Shades of Grey Bear,” reads the online product description. “Inspired by the best-selling book, the adult gift is specifically designed for fans obsessed with Grey, biting their lips with anticipation over the movie.” The bear is “guaranteed for life,” stands at 15 inches and costs $89.99. It is exclusively licensed by the Vermont Teddy Bear Company.

February 14th, Valentine’s Day, was also the day that “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the movie, came out. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the movie had the biggest international opening of all times for an R-rated film. The books in the trilogy have sold over 100 million copies worldwide.

This huge popularity has inspired a lot of spin-off products, and the Vermont Teddy Bear Company is not the only one that is cashing in on the Fifty Shades frenzy. Time Magazine put the teddy bear on a list of “7 Totally Unexpected ‘Fifty Shades of Grey”’Products” that also included a Fifty Shades of Chicken cookbook, laundry detergent and wine. Walmart is currently out of stock with its “Fifty Shades of Grey: Gourmet Gift Basket” that included bubble bath, chocolate, tea, rope, handcuffs and more for $69.99. Squiggly Boo is selling infant clothes with a design that reads, “9 months ago mommy read 50 shades of grey.”

However, despite the popularity of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” books and movie, it has its critics. The “Fifty Shades of Grey” teddy bear has experienced backlash on Twitter.
“50 shades of grey marketing has officially gone too far with Vermont teddy bear’s ’50 shades of grey bear,’ “ tweeted Elise Hu (@elisewho). “The Limited Edition 50 Shades of Grey Teddy Bear cannot be limited enough,” Splendid Hobo (@Hobo_Splendido) wrote. “I just saw that the 50 Shades Of Grey teddy bear I’ve seen in ads is ‘guaranteed for life.’ … Against what? Ew. Okay, gross, bye.” Tweeted Linda Holmes (@nprmonkeysee).

“We’re not looking to make a political statement,” Vermont Teddy Bear Company CEO Bill Shouldice said. He is not upset by criticism over Twitter because the company wants feedback from its customers. “It’s not for everybody,” explained Shouldice. “It’s geared towards an audience of people who find it interesting.”

Shouldice explained that the Vermont Teddy Bear Company annually produces an adult gift bear for Valentine’s Day. Two years ago there was the bacon bear, which is dressed as bacon and holds a sign that says “I <3 you more than bacon.” The bacon bear also received some backlash from people who disapproved of how bacon is made. Last year, the adult gift bear was the “Zombie Love Bear” which has torn clothes, red eyes and is holding a brain and a heart. The company is still selling the zombie bears, which were very popular.

There are many other bears marketed towards adults listed on the Vermont Teddy Bear Company site. There is a teddy for sale ($119.99) that “arrives holding sexy lingerie” – a “hot pink lacey chemise.” Other romantic teddy bears have more of a cutesy theme, such as the Romeo bear and a bear on a crutch (“I’ve fallen for you bear”). These teddy bears are marketed towards adults.

“We are lucky in that we sell a premium product made in Vermont, for ages 1 to 100,” Shouldice said.

The company has made sure to market the “Fifty Shades of Grey” limited edition bear as one for adults, and clearly states that it is an “adult gift” bear in the
product’s description.

“Contains small parts,” asserts the safety warning for the bear. “Not suitable for children.”  The “Fifty Shades of Grey” bear is doing amazingly well. It is the most popular bear on record, and 150 bears have already been sold after Valentine’s Day. Although the bear is a limited edition, Shouldice explained that it will probably continue to be sold as long as the movies are coming out.