Barbara Spiga of BOBBYBAER is truly an International woman.
Born in Germany, she married an Italian, and for 32 years, she's been living in France. As the mother of three children, she always stayed at home and cared for her family and did office work for her husband's business.
Although she loved teddies as a child, she never imagined she would get drawn into bear making.
During her childhood, her mother Bobby, was a dress maker; not a professional one, but she made all of Barbara's dresses and mended clothing for the neighborhood families and created clothing for friends and family.
"Unfortunately, she didn't pass on her skills to me," Barbara noted.
Barbara recalled that it was so easy to put all the sewing on her mother's desk and it would get done without any effort on Barbara's part. Later, when she had children of her own, her husband would ask her if she didn't feel "nuts" because she wasn't able to sew a little dress for her own daughter.
"As often my mouth is faster than my brain, I replied to him, 'Of course I know and I'm able. What a pity that I don't have fabric, supplies or a sewing machine!'" Barbara felt pretty sly with having found such a good excuse to tell her husband.
The same evening, her husband came home and yelled, "Surprise!" Lo and behold, behind the door was a brand new sewing machine and a box with plenty of fabric, yarn, buttons and all kinds of supplies.
"I had never touched my mother's machine and had no clue how to do anything, not to mention how to explain to my husband that I had only pretended to know."
So she gave him a big smile, an uncertain "Wow!" and announced that she would start the next day.
"Fortunately my subconscious must have stored some basic information during the years I'd seen my mom working." The rest resumed in "learning by doing." With every mistake, she learned a bit more.
After sewing, she wanted to learn to knit. Her mother sent her a parcel of yarn, a pair of very large needles and thankfully, an instruction manual.
In the evenings, Barbara sat down and tried to get the yarn on the needles by following the instructions.
"My family looked for the emergency phone numbers, telling me that the only thing I'd be able to accomplish was to get hurt."
Remembering that her parents always told her that "I cannot do" often means, "I don't want to do," she continued to learn by doing until she was successful at knitting.
The years passed by and Barbara continued to sew, writing and illustrating fairy tales for her kids, making puppets, dolls and numerous other crafts. She loved to create things.
Then one day in 1999, when she was having a self-proclaimed "bad hair day," a greeting card with a teddy bear on it arrived with the following words: Teddy Bears dry tears and give comfort and tenderness to everyone who needs them.