About Us

Almost 40 years ago, North American Bear Company began as a creative business enterprise of a new mother, Barbara Isenberg, starting a family in New York City in the mid-1970’s. Her desire to find a teddy bear with the nostalgic charm of an antique toy and a contemporary sense of whimsy for her own small son prompted the start of a toy company creating unique, high quality plush bears that would appeal to both children and adults alike.  

In 1978, after perfecting a variety of sample bears, assembling a sales force and locating a small NY factory to produce bears, Barbara teamed up with her brother, Paul Levy, a Chicago-based lawyer and real estate developer, to form North American Bear Company, Inc.  Barbara continues as the company’s Creative Director, running the New York Studio where she and the closely-knit design and production team develop each season’s rich and varied collections.  Paul Levy serves as CEO in the company’s corporate headquarters in Chicago, managing the administrative, financial and warehousing aspects of the business from the culturally diverse Bridgeport Arts Center. 


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