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About Kösen

For several years, the design team at Kösen had been studying real life animals intensively in order to design their plush animals as life-like as possible. An important part is watching the animals at the zoo or even at national parks, like: black bears in Canada, lions in Kenya, orangutans on Sumatra, rhinoceroses in Namibia…. and many others. This intensive experience and learning in the wild is the basis for grasping the nature of animals and to express it in Kösen’s life-like plush animals. Over the past years, the abilities of the cutters, seamstresses and trimesters have improved enormously. New technologies were tested, proven ones have been perfected. The craftsmanship of creating the animals keeps getting more and more refined. Therefore, Kösen has the wish and the urge to demonstrate their proficiency not only in series production but also in exclusive and limited editions. In this way the beauty of the animals become quite an experience both for collectors and animal lover.

The artists at Kösen have been making luxurious and treasured collections for over 100 years.

The designers at Kösen study and draw the animals in their natural habitats or zoos. Then they produce clay models which are revised over and over until their vision for the animal is realized. Because the designers have an eye for special details, the faces are particularly lifelike.

Just one animal can require up to seventy individual pieces of the finest hand-picked fabrics and then finished with its own detailed characteristics. As all the animals are handmade, sizes and weights are approximate measurements. Additionally, stock images are used in most cases, which may not reflect the precise coloring or facial expression of the animal you receive. Many items are made-to-order, and so we request that you ask any questions prior to ordering. Please note: our animals are meant to be for collectors or display pieces unless otherwise noted. 

About Kösen: Over a hundred years ago, Käthe Kruse began producing her world-famous dolls in Bad-Kosen, Germany. About 100 employees were busy, producing her world-famous dolls. In 1949, she left Bad Kösen to set up a new company in Donauwörth together with her children.

After a period of fiduciary administration by the state, the company was expropriated in 1953 and nationalized as People’s Enterprises Doll-Making Workshops which continued producing traditional dolls.

The first plush animals were shown together with dolls at the Leipzig Trade Fair in 1959. These plush toys met with such high demand so that production was expanded, and doll production ceased in 1964. In 1969, the company was renamed as VEB Kösener Spielzeug. Up to 80% of the plush animal production was exported. The number of employees, mainly women, grew to 195.

For ten years, the company was subject to Burg Giebichenstein – College of Art and Design in Halle. These close ties resulted in many creative products, and some of its fine designers have worked for Kösen. The turning point in 1989 led to Kösen’s markets disappearing virtually overnight. Like many other companies, VEB Kösener Spielzeug was left with no hope for survival.

Awaiting privatization under the Treuhand Agency, Steiff showed an interest in Kösen which led to a two-year cooperation and a transfer of know-how. When Steiff decided not to buy Kösen, the local family business Schache stepped in to prevent the demise of the company, rich in tradition.

Dr. Schache was mayor of Bad Kösen at that time. Kösen changed direction and concentrated on producing high quality, lifelike plush animals. Graduate designers developed their own distinctive style in order to develop new plush animals. Today, the Kösen collection of lifelike plush animals is regarded as one of the best in the world.

Kösen’s animals are very lifelike, thanks to their multifaceted design process. It is of key importance for a good design that the designers observe the animals in their natural habitat or in the zoo. Based on the drawings they have made, they then make clay models of the animals. Patterns are produced in line with these models which are then revised over and over again until such time as the soft toy envisioned by them has been realized.

The quality of the materials used calls for careful and therefore costly production. This means for example, that longer-pile fur fabric is cut out by hand.

A particular distinction of the soft toys is that they are made up of a large number of individual pieces- more often than not, over seventy are involved.

As the pieces are frequently very small, stitching has to be done very carefully. The sewn pieces are then reversed and the safety eyes inserted.

To ensure that the animals are soft and cuddly and that they also maintain their shape over a long period, it is important that they are filled with the right stuffing. Many more procedures have to be carried out before the toy is ready i.e. sewing, shaping, combing, embroidering and painting.

Quality is controlled closely at each step in the production process.