Information about brands
Here you find information about some brands / manufacturers. Of course there are many more brands, however this is just a little selection worth mentioning in my personal opinion.

Dakin / Applause

"Everybody loves to get applause"

Applause was a company that produced stuffed toys, like licensed toys from Warner Bros, Disney and Jim Henson's Muppets. Its principal subsidiaries included Dakin and International Tropic-Cal. The Applause brand survives as part of Russ Berrie.

In the late 1995 Dakin, a well-known brand name for stuffed animals, merged with Applause, uniting two top gift industry leaders. This acquisition strengthened Applause's generic stuffed animal business to balance out its already strong entertainment license portfolio.

The brands offer high quality materials, a lot of attention to details and superior safety standards. Dakin continues to give every one of its plush animals a personality all of its own.


Aurora

There are two versions - Aurora and Classic Aurora.

Aurora is a leading supplier of affordable, high quality gift products. The company is selling its products via a wide variety of retailers including major zoos, department stores, gift chains, etc.

Aurora Classics are hand-painted with the finest German non-toxic paint, and use lock-washer eyes and noses. They are made from the newest fabrics available and individually hand groomed and inspected. This lovely collection of "European styled" toys is warmly described as a labor of love by its makers.

[Website]


Aux Nations / La Pelucherie

La Pelucherie is a sub company of Aux Nations. These brands offer some of the most realistic and beautiful plushies I've ever seen. The prices of their plushies are pretty expensive (can go up to several hundred $), however they are very worth it. Even more unfortunately - it is very hard to find anything about this brand. The only plush animals I ever found in a store were at the Obletter toy store in Munich (or on ebay).

"Its distinctive design and craftsmanship evidence the quality of an Italian product fully conforming with EU standards. Eyes and nose are secured from within. Flammeresistant fabrics are used. Siliconized, dust-free filling. Products suitable for children of all ages."


Disney (Stores and Park)

Disneyland and Disney Stores have their own brands, of course only featuring Disney characters. Unfortunately there is no Disney Store left here in Germany.

Those plush toys are exclusively produced for the parks and stores, they are not available somewhere else. Sometimes they have really nice and unique plushies (especially the older Lion King series), however a lot of the newer products are pretty average.

[Website]


Dowman Soft Touch

"A truly unique range of soft toys"

All Dowman Soft Touch toys are handmade with the highest quality materials, their range is one of the most extensive collections of wildlife soft toys in the world. You will mainly find this brand in England. These plush animals look very similar to Leosco.


Douglas Cuddle Toys

From classic to trendy to baby, Douglas spins a web of products. Their classic animals have unique gestures and expressions that clearly distinguish them as Douglas. They are also known for offering the unusual breeds and hard-to-find species, but also common / popular species like cats, dogs, horses, etc.

[Website]


Folkmanis

"Handle with fun!" - World's most famous puppets

Folkmanis® Puppets offer excellent workmanship, materials and an extraordinarily big range. The creation of the puppets follows principles such as:
  • Closeness to nature, with many details
  • Good shape and looks even when not played
  • All puppets suitable for children and 'beginners'
  • Wherever possible, surprising and quirky effects depending on the animal species or character.
Unfortunately a lot of really nice species were retired (e.g. the snow leopard). The new puppet series they produce seem to be somewhat smaller than the old versions. Even though the new ones are really pretty, they're quite hard to play, especially for adults. It seems like they're more concentrating on kids sizes.

[Website]


Hansa

Hansa is offering a really unique collection of hand crafted, highly realistic, very cuddly plush toys representing animals from around the world (including rare and hard to find species).

The brand is quite expensive, but it's very worth it in my opinion. The designs are very realistic, pretty details like airbrushing, etc. For example the large snow leopard I have even has paw pads made of leather. Hansa products seem to be more expensive in Germany than for example in the USA.

[Website]


K&M International / Wild Republic

Wild Republic offers an expansive collection of nature-related toys since 1979. Founded as K&M International, the brand Wild Republic has grown into an internationally recognized company distributing unique products world-wide.

K&M International specializes in nature/wildlife related plush and non-plush toys and provides a wide range of interactive and innovative toys. Wild Republic products are found pretty much everywhere (for example zoo shops).

[Website]


Kösen

A well-known brand for beautiful and highly realistic - but very expensive - plush animals: Kösen. The company was founded in 1950 in Bad Kösen, Germany. Their plush animals are designed and hand made by local artists and designers who place an emphasis on life-like appearance, quality workmanship and long lasting durable play value.

[Website]


Kuschelwuschel / Bob der Bär

Kuschelwuschel is the local brand of the shopping center Karstadt (Germany). The prices for their plushies are pretty low, the quality varies from nice to average/simple. There have been more "no name" brands available at Karstadt, for example E & J Classic available years ago.

Another local brand would be "Bob der Bär" which is the brand of another shopping center: Galeria Kaufhof (Germany).

Usually all Karstadt or Galeria Kaufhof stores have the same sortiment of products at a time (so it does not make sense to check out several stores). New plush animals are added to their range of product every few months. Some of them are available for a very long time, some only for a short while.

[Website Kuschelwuschel]
[Website Galeria Kaufhof]


Leosco & Co.
CIOM Toys / S.O.S. / Uni-Toys / Irgel Zimmermann

Leosco is a popular producer of very nice plush animals. Several other brands are selling plush animals produced by Leosco under their own brand name (the tag sometimes says Leosco). That's why those plushies are all looking like made from the same company (because they are).
  • S.O.S. - "Save Our Space"
  • UNI-Toys
  • CIOM Toys
  • Irgel Zimmermann
I am a big fan of Leosco plush animals. Their designs are very nice, they also offer unusual / rare species, the fur is really soft. You can often find those plushies in gas station shops (Germany), Christmas market booths (Germany) and a growing number of toy stores.


Mattel

Mattel isn't just a brand for plushies, it's a very popular brand for all kind of toys, same as brands like Hasbro, Schmidt or Simba Toys for example. Mattel also produces plush toys for Disney, e.g. also quite many for The Lion King.

[Website]


NICI

NICI is produced in Germany and is a bit different from regular plushies. NICI offers various collections, featuring one or several animal characters (for example: Jack and Jill, the huskies). The animals have a very recognizable character design and are made of very short, soft fabrics.

NICI does not only offer plushies of all sizes, but all kind of cute merchandise for each collection, such as mugs, towels, blankets, pillows, key chains, office items, plates, etc. They are very popular as gifts.

[Website]


Plüti

Plüti - another plush toy brand made in Germany. Their collection include a large variety of species. The plush animal prices are average up to high, however the quality of the fur used seems to justify it.

I am not sure if that's still correct, but I heard that Plüti also offers custom made plush animal commissions.

[Website]


Sigikid

sigikid has a clear mission: They want to make the world a bit more cuddly. They very much focus on children and their education, but also providing products for people of every age. The sigikid collection features nice, high quality fur plush animals, but also unique fictional and often a little weird characters, often related to stories. sigikid is also one of the more expensive brands.

[Website]


Steiff

The famous brand from Germany with the well-known ear button/tag: Steiff.
Steiff animals all come with a name.

Attracting customers of all ages, Steiff is one of the oldest and most-known brands. Steiff does not only offer regular, nice plush animals, but is also very popular for its collectors editions (including life size studio animals and the famous old teddy bears). The brand is rather expensive. Even regular plushies (no special collectors items) aren't cheap (about 100 EUR for a medium sized animal).

[Website]


WWF / Anna Club Plush

The WWF collection is produced by Anna Club Plush, standing for beautiful and realistic animal designs. Anna Club Plush succeeded in meeting the tough demands of WWF and has been licensed to manufacture and distribute these WWF plush animals ever since.

WWF offers a large collection, often featuring endangered species: Realistic looking plushies of all kinds, beanies, stuffed toys with voice or just super soft, huge over-sized animals. Every plush toy sold contributes to the well being of our planet, by helping WWF in its vital work to protect the environment and all living things. The prices of the plush animals are relatively high, it's definitely not one of the cheap brands.

[Website]


Some other brands are: