Children love to cuddle and play with stuffed animals, but finding ones made in the USA is challenging because the major toy companies import so many of their products. However, through our research, we found some smaller brands that make soft toys here. They are listed below, along with info on material sourcing and tips on labeling. In addition, we will point out well-known companies that make plush toys overseas. Let’s begin.
Full List of Stuffed Animal Brands Made in the USA
Vermont Teddy Bear was started in 1981 selling teddy bears from a cart, and now they have a wide variety of stuffed animals and a huge reach. These teddy bears aren’t all made here nowadays, though – only the Classic Vermont Teddy Bears are assembled here, and they use some internationally sourced materials.
Magic Cabin’s toys are inspired by nature, so it is not surprising they have lots of stuffed animals to choose from. Many of them come with a tag describing the critter’s lifestyle and habitat. These adorable plush toys are safe and machine-washable.
This company makes some of its giant stuffed animals domestically with USA-sourced materials. One thing that makes these plush toys special is you can personalize them with embroidery, T-shirts, and even voice recordings.
This brand is best known for its kids’ pajamas, but Esme also makes some toys, including plush toys. Esme has cute stuffed elephants, dinosaurs, unicorns, swans, llamas, and more.
Trouble the Dog is the main character in a well-known series of children’s books. When you visit their website, you can order not only books but a Trouble the Dog plush toy.
The Sock Monkey has been a classic toy for generations. You can get one made in the USA from the Nelson Knitting Company, which was established in 1932 and added the now-iconic red lips to the Sock Monkey.
YouTube Video: How to Find Stuffed Animals and Other Toys Made in the USA
How to Find Stuffed Animals Made in the USA
With so many plush toys being manufactured abroad these days, finding ones made domestically can seem like an impossible dream. However, they do exist! Listed below are some ways to locate them.
What Does “Made in the USA” Mean?
Let’s start with the phrase “Made in the USA.” The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says it should only be used for products “all or virtually all” manufactured in the United States. In other words, the entire production process must happen in the USA, and all the raw materials should be domestically sourced.
For more information, see our “made in the USA” labeling guide.
The first step to finding American-made soft toys is to determine where their materials come from. Plush, cotton, wool, and plastic pellets are the most common materials for making domestically-produced stuffed animals.
Plush, which originated in the United States in 1903, is still the most popular material for stuffed animals. Plush, which resembles fur, has a cotton fiber base with a pile made from cotton, wool, viscose, or silk.
But is plush still produced in the USA? Sometimes it is, especially if it is made with 100% cotton. The United States is the third-largest cotton producer in the world behind China and India, whereas wool, viscose, and silk are far less likely to be sourced from here.
Sometimes cotton is used for the stuffing inside plush toys. Other common stuffing materials include wool and plastic pellets.
If you are looking at a plush toy stuffed with plastic pellets, often called “beans” (this is where “Beanie Babies” got their name), keep in mind that most plastic is sourced from China. However, the U.S. does produce some plastic. As always, check the label to be sure.
Unfortunately, the U.S. doesn’t even crack the Top Ten of nations that manufacture wool. China is the world’s leader, making almost 20% of all wool. Australia and New Zealand are second and third, respectively.
Consumers who want American-made goods have some legal protections to guide them.
For example, Title 19, Chapter 4, Section 1304 of the U.S. Code requires products not made in the USA to be labeled as “imported” and that the country of origin appears on the product or its packaging.
This law means if you are shopping in-store, all you have to do is look at the label. However, if you want a made-in-the-USA stuffed animal, you will probably need to search online. This complicates things because the U.S. doesn’t require companies to indicate the country of origin for their products online.
Also, remember when we talked about the FTC requirements for labeling goods as “made in the USA”? The government doesn’t require brands to go through a pre-approval process to use that phrase on a label. Therefore, even if you see “made in the USA” on a label, you might not get a 100% American-made product.
Additionally, some companies use misleading language such as “assembled in the USA,” which could mean an item was made here from imported material. In some cases, a portion of the production process may have occurred outside the United States. Another red flag to watch out for is the phrase “made in America,” which could indicate the product was manufactured in Canada or Mexico.
Speaking of flags, brands sometimes use the Stars and Stripes or other patriotic images on labels. However, this could be another attempt to trick shoppers into believing their products were made domestically when they were not. This is possible because the U.S. government doesn’t regulate the use of the American flag.
Here are some additional ways to help you find American-made stuffed animals:
Research the Company
Brands have no legal obligation to state where their products were manufactured on websites or promotional materials. Therefore, if you don’t see a country of origin listed there, it’s best to assume it wasn’t made here.
However, companies are aware that some shoppers are looking specifically for made-in-the-USA products, so it is to their advantage to promote that their goods were manufactured domestically. This means they will likely have this information highly visible on their websites.
Check Their Social Media
If a brand’s products are genuinely made in the USA, they will emphasize that in their marketing. This means you can look at their social media to find out where their goods come from and how they are manufactured.
Call the Company
Have you taken all these steps and are still unsure where a product comes from? Give them a call. Hopefully, a representative will be able to tell you.
Stuffed Animals Not Made In the USA
Here are some popular toy companies that don’t make their stuffed animals in the USA. We’ll keep updating this list as we find more information.
- Aurora – based in the UK
- Gund – made in China
- Douglas – made in Asian countries
- Hasbro – made in China and other countries, although they are working to reduce their reliance on Chinese manufacturing
- Squishmallows – made in China
- Jellycat – designed in the UK, made in China
- Webkinz – company based in Canada