Where It All Began - The Dream of Two Mothers
It all began with two mothers sharing a common strong belief that children shouldn’t be hurried out of their childhood. Ewa Jarenskog, a clay sculptor and, Teruko Wahlström, an entrepreneur, both wanted to create a comforting friend that would last a childhood of play. A friend with a soft cuddly form, friendly body proportions as well as a warm inviting gaze. The first friends they created were given to disabled children.
Ewa and Teruko began their journey from their basements and eventually started renting a small abandoned train station which functioned as their warehouse. Rubens Barn was born in 1998, named after Ewa’s late father whom always dreamed of a large family (more about that here).
Ewa and Teruko established a partnership with a family-owned producer whom would eventually be exclusively creating Rubens Barn. They would frequently travel to China to train and work alongside their partner on new designs and ranges while making constant improvements to the quality and design of each doll.
The two mothers faced many long hours of fun and challenging moments creating what would later be known as a Unique and Developing Friend. A particular challenge that Teruko frequently reflects back on is spending weeks on end in the old train station unstitching wrong labels off their 5000 dolls with needle and hand! Teruko also remembers running out of names to call their growing Rubens Barn family when all their own children and team members children’s names were already used.
10 years later, a third mother, Maria, joined the company to fill in on the many required tasks to support the increasing customer requests that the dolls were gradually creating. Many years saw the team slowly growing, word spreading and the motivation for designing more dolls increasing through each unique testimony of cuddle comfort and happiness.
Read more about the journey HERE!
(Part 1/5 of The Story of a Unique, Developing Friend-series)