About myself and Keith
berne switzerland fair
Who does what at the Belfry
With our surname of Batt and Keith's sense of humour, or not,
 he decided to call the house The Belfry.
 It seems that as in many partnerships,
 where mawspaws is concerned that Keith has the role of book keeper, web site designer ( he is self taught, so please excuse any mistakes) and tea maker,
 although during the summer this has to fit in with his hobby of Hot Air Ballooning,
 so when the weather is good things get very hectic.
 
Why MAWSPAWS?
 
Very simple really, my husband Keith always calls me by the nickname of "Maw"
 so after a few seconds the connection between Maws and Paws became evident and so MAWSPAWS was created.
 I wish it was more convoluted than that but the simple way is often the best.
 

What a shock

"Hey Maw, come and have a look at this email from Hong Kong"
that was the sound of Keith calling me from our living room
whilst I was cutting out a pattern in our kitchen.
 Incidentally that is how mawspaws became
our trading name, Keith find it easier just to shout "Maw"
rather than my full name of Maureen.
As you can tell our house doubles up as a workplace for us to run mawspaws.com.
The email was from Lydia in Hong Kong asking for 4 dressed bears to be adopted, Dyllis, Lady Jane, Audrey and Claudia, nothing to unusual there because we regularly send bears and pandas all around the world, the surprise was in the fact that Lydia had requested permission to use the bears for one of her projects.
What happened after the initial email was a very pleasant
 and unexpected surprise to me.
We were sent some samples of 2 sizes of cushion covers,
 tee shirts and mouse mats from Hong Kong, with my bears being the feature of them.
Another surprise was to come just before Kensington fair,
we had an email asking if we could meet Lydia at Kensington and further to that she asked if she could visit us at The Belfry, that is the name of our house because our surname is Batt,
and batts are renowned for living in The Belfry.
Well what a weekend that turned out to be, having a very successful day at the Teddies 2004, so well organised by Hugglets.
Well we all know what comes after Sunday,
then came Monday and I cannot express just how apprehensive I was.
What had I let myself in for, a complete stranger coming to my home to be shown how to make a bear,
something I have taken years to learn and she will expect to make a bear in 8 hours.
It was really helpful to meet Lydia at Kensington
as that broke the ice and she understood English fairly well
and she was such a pleasant lady.
As we picked her up from our railway station my emotions were really taking over,
excitement, nervousness, sheer fright at having to instruct someone how to make a bear.
Well after the first hour of instruction
I had calmed down and the only problems were
going to be making the bear in the time we had,
and more importantly what shall we serve for dinner,
Keith really likes his food.
When asked what Lydia would like, "anything English",
came the reply, mine and Keith's minds went into overdrive,
Keith did try and make a funny comment of " Tesco's do a nice sweet and sour" I did not appreciate his sense of humour at that time.
We eventually came up with something English. Lydia was quiet amused at the thought Keith was preparing dinner whilst we carried on making her bear.
After a very long day we had the bear made, only because
 the 2 of us were making the bear at the same time,
then it was into the garden for pictures,
we learnt that a garden was a special thing for our visitor from Hong Kong because all they live in is high rise flats.
The time then came to return Lydia to our railway station
and have a drink to celebrate such a wonderful weekend.

  

Maureen and Lydia

The lessons learnt after such an experience,
never knowing where an email will lead you to,
instructing another person how to make bears is very demanding and tiring, but extremely rewarding.
I hope you enjoyed my reflections of a bank holiday
and look forward to some more emails coming into my web site, and wondering where they will lead.

 
lady jane 
some photos of the cushion covers
 
How did MAWSPAWS start?
 
Very much by accident really, my hobby used to be knitting
 but a few years ago whilst I was off work due to illness,
 Keith brought me a Bear making kit to keep me occupied.
 Since then my spare time has been taken up with making Teddy Bears and generally turning into an arctophile.
 I worked for Marks and Spencer for over 35 years ( I was very young when I started! ) but retired to go full time into bear making and Mawspaws.
 
How has MAWSPAWS progressed ?
 
When I first made the decision to actually sell the bears
 I had made it was through friends and both Keith's work place and mine.
 Keith used to work for the head office of a multi-national company, this led to many of the bears travelling around the world to find new homes.
 The local shopping centre was then chosen as a way of selling the bears, hiring a barrow and with my mother there to lend both a helping and reassuring hand.
 This was obviously a major move for me, although I have spent all my working days in retail this was something else.
 The questions that run through your mind are sometimes frightening, will anyone actually come up and talk to me, will they like the bears, if so will it be enough to make them actually buy my bears?
 Therefore it was with great trepidation we set up the barrow for the first time, a couple of hours passed without so much as a good morning, then my first customer,
 a local bear lover who has since become a friend.

 
As those of you who regularly do shows know,
 
you get some good days and some not so good,
 in fact some down right useless.
 This starts to put different questions in your head,
 are my bears any good, are they over priced, what is wrong,
 those of us that sell bears must have been through this.
 The facts were that most of the time we had a barrow we were  successful and the contact with people who were themselves interested in bears was very satisfying and also encouraging.
 The lucky break
 A friend who worked for a design agency was approached
 to produce a bear for a promotion.
 She contacted me for some assistance and that eventually led to my bears being sold through The English Teddy Bear Company.
 When we consider all the chances of this happening ,
  this can definitely be classed as our lucky break.
 
Thanks Helen
 
Bears fairs 
  
We have had the pleasure of exhibiting at fairs in Berne, Switzerland, Kensington, Alexandra Palace, Hove and many others and it is a real pleasure to meet so many people at the shows.
 
What rewards have you had from MAWSPAWS?
 
Ever since I managed to create my first bear from the kit Keith
 brought me and literally brought it to life, I have had so many rewards.
  The self satisfaction of  bringing joy to other interested in my bears.
 The people I have had the pleasure of meeting and communicating wish who have such a genuine love of bears and sharing this with others.
 The great sense of personal warmth and I realise how lucky I am to be involved in this pastime.
 
What next for MAWSPAWS?  LOL,
  
( laughs out loud )
 
Who knows, my bears being sold in Harrods or Hamleys,
 an all expenses paid trip for myself and Keith around the world to promote MAWSPAWS The Film, The Book, The Cookery Show, The CD ROM, even The Postage Stamp, Any offers will be considered.
 That's in my dreams but, so was making, designing and selling bears, having my own web site etc. only a few years ago. so who really knows. Realistically, looking for other outlets
 and ways to promote my bears with the continued love of teddy bears and friendship of others involved with teddy bears.
 Selfishly to still enjoy making bears and avoid the book keeping side of the business.
 I sincerely hope that the British Bears on the Net will grow
 and provide as much pleasure to others as it has already has given to me.

 
Finally I must thank everyone who has adopted a mawspaws creation and shown so much trust in both myself and Keith.
 Thank you
Photographs taken by and copyright © Keith Batt 2004-2018
 Web site designed and updated by Keith Batt

 
 please email