In the forest of collectibles, The Boyds Collection bears are watching. It sells resin, porcelain, and plush renditions of bears and other animals, including its Bearstones figurines and its J.B. Bean & Associates line of fully-jointed bears and other animals. It also sells other collectibles and home décor items, such as stationery and picture frames. Boyds has boasted licensed products via deals with NASCAR and Coca-Cola. Products are designed to appeal to older women (although it has added items for men). Its products are sold primarily in US gift shops and department stores, as well as through catalogs and trade shows. In 2008 Boyds granted Enesco a license to design, make, and market some of its products.
Boyds inked a deal with QVC in 2009 and now also peddles its products through the company, as well. Its other partnerships include Danbury Mint for fine collectibles, Custom Direct for checks and mailing labels, Andrews McMeel for books, and the likes of Wal-Mart, Hobby Lobby, and Hancock Fabrics for Boyds-inspired fabric by the yard. In recent years, the company has transitioned its sales strategy from an in-house operation to a national direct sales force. It also sells its products through home parties in certain US states, as a direct seller, like Avon.
Life at Boyds has not always been all warm and fuzzy. Boyds filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2005 and emerged in mid-2006. Three years after joining the company and at the time Boyds emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Jan Murley stepped down as CEO and was succeeded by Robert Coccoluto. (Coccoluto served as the firm's president and CFO from 1998 to 2000 and left to found his own garden decorations company.) The company's bankruptcy woes stemmed, it was speculated, from lagging sales spurred by the economic slowdown after 9/11.
Boyds opened its flagship retail store -- Boyds Bear Country, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania -- and its Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, store in the early 2000s. The Pennsylvania store, which is slated to undergo a renovation in early 2008, serves as a tourist attraction (means of increasing brand awareness) and as a retail channel.
Private equity firm KKR & Co. owns nearly 40% of Boyds.