Meet the ladies making Tambo bears
Tambo Teddies made from Australian wool
FOR 25 years Tambo Teddies have been an icon of the Queensland outback, putting the small town on the map.
Made from Australian sheepskin, they are described by owner Alison Shaw as quality fit for royalty.
She purchased the business four years ago with Tammy Johnson and Kiralee Sanderson.
Alison said they have six employees and each bear takes just over an hour and a half to make.
“Each bear has about 19 pieces which we cut out of the sheepskin,” she said.
“Once the teddy has been made we give them to our customer care ladies who trim the eyes and give it a bow.
“They give the bear a name and they’re in the mail within two days.
“They’re like little outback ambassadors.”
Alison said they love being able to support farmers by using Australian wool.
“We love the fibre and it has so many attributes and benefits,” she said.
“We like to talk about those because it’s supporting the wool industry.”
The bears have gone global – the business has received orders from the US, Canada and the UK.
They have been gifted to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children Prince George and Princess Charlotte, Crown Princess Mary’s son Prince Christian and most recently the Duke and Duchess of Sussex for their first child expected in April.
“I got a call at about 11am on the Wednesday before and it was the premier’s office asking if I could talk to her,” Alison said.
“She (Annastacia Palaszczuk) got on the phone and asked me if we could make one for them because there’s nothing more Queensland than a Tambo
❝We love the fibre and it has so many attributes and benefits. — Alison Shaw
“I got straight off the phone and went to the shop and said to the girls we’ve got a special order and it was made and sent out that day.”
Alison said they had been very busy since word got out about the cuddly gift for the future baby Sussex.
“We’ve had so many orders coming in, but we are still up to date with all of them,” she said.
“When we get a big influx of orders we just work harder, we get so excited.
“We think of all our customers as royalty.”
In recent years the team has introduced a few things to the business to add value.
“When we took over we thought about ways we could make the business better and we liked the idea of introducing something a bit cheaper people could buy,” Alison said.
“This year we introduced
OUTBACK AMBASSADORS: Tammy Johnson and Alison Shaw purchased Tambo Teddies four years ago when the previous owner retired. PHOTO: CONTRIBUTEDPeter Possum to the collection and we’ve also got the Tambo Teddies Adventures books.“There’s four books about mustering, shearers, ringers camping and a rodeo.“They’re showing kids some of the things that happen in the outback using the teddies at the characters.”