“Charlotte Liebling was volunteering in a charity shop, when she realised that many soft toys end up in landfill or as chew toys for dogs. Treasured teddies that are a bit grubby or have an eye or two missing? They don’t even make it to the sales floor.
“I had always cherished my own soft toys, and to learn that others like them – with their own history and stories – were going straight in the bin was shocking,” Liebling says.
So, she set up Loved Before: a social enterprise adoption agency for unwanted soft toys of any kind. Donations are washed, restored if necessary, and photographed before a profile is added to the website in the hope of finding them a new home.
Listings at the time of going to press include a handknitted scarecrow with a slightly wonky nose called Skipper, and a bow tie-wearing teddy bear named Odie, who looks as good as new. Most are priced in the £8–£14 range.
“There is very little we won’t accept,” notes Liebling. “We don’t take plastic toys or any with mechanical or electronic inner parts, but otherwise they can have missing limbs and missing eyes, and be worn from hugs.”
Each toy goes through a “spa process,” as Liebling describes it, but she doesn’t try to make them ‘as new’. “We are about embracing imperfection. And in a way, they are even more valuable when you can see the love they have experienced.”
Toys from popular brands sell quickly, but equally, “if a toy arrives with a good story, it will be gone in seconds,” reports Liebling. “Some look a bit quirky, and people might wonder: ‘who might want a toy like that?’ But someone will relate to them.”
The company uses recyclable or biodegradable packaging and has donated 50 per cent of its profits to charity since it was established in 2019.
Liebling is currently caring for more than 10,000 soft toys and shares their “journeys” on social media. She suggests that new adoptees donate a toy at the same time, to try to ensure that fewer toys end up in landfill….”
View the whole story here: https://www.positive.news/lifestyle/we-embrace-imperfection-the-adoption-agency-for-preloved-playthings/