The pandemic has indeed left people struggling to cope with the “new normal.” One can only imagine how taxing the global crisis is for young kids. Parents were left with the responsibility to make their children understand the effects of the pandemic on health and why protocols must be followed. To help kids cope with the changing times, Olivia Carlson, founder of QT Bear, came up with a cuddly solution.
At the onset of the pandemic, Olivia witnessed how stressful and uncomfortable the situation was for kids. To help thousands across the country, she created QuaranTine Bears or QT Bears in hopes of being sources of comfort and joy and to simultaneously educate children about the importance of wearing face masks. Olivia initially made six bears, with her mother, aunt, and grandmother on the production line, doing the cutting, sewing, and other aspects. The company began with a genuine purpose, and it boomed into a national brand.
Olivia did not expect the impact QT Bears has made with children across the country. Their line of fuzzy bears wearing face masks has spread positivity among kids and encouraged them to wear matching face masks with their new fuzzy friends. Additionally, the bears come with handwritten notes sharing tips on how to stay healthy in a language that would get kids engaged.
“During such a negative and depressing time in our world, it is important to continue to lift others up, and that’s exactly what my QT Bears do. Whether it’s a parent buying a QT Bear for their child, or someone sending a QT Bear as a random act of kindness to their friend, QT Bears can brighten anyone’s day. Not only do they make people smile, but they also provide a fun and cute way to remind people to continue to wear their masks,” said Olivia.
QT Bears also started an Instagram photo challenge where thousands of children have shared their photos with the bears and their masks, responding to the question “Where is QT Today?” Olivia shared that the photo challenge is a way to keep children and parents entertained while in quarantine. “I have received pictures of children doing homework with their bears, riding their bikes with their bears, climbing trees, doing splits, dancing, playing video games, and so much more,” shared Olivia.
QT Bears have greatly contributed to children in these trying times. The founder shared that seeing how the bears have served as friends for kids nationwide motivates her to keep continuing with the production throughout the pandemic. Families have seen how the bears made their children make sense of the situation. Additionally, the brand has received recognition from the Boston Celtics and Massachusetts State Lottery in their campaign called Heroes Among Us.
Asked what inspired her idea to create QT Bears, Olivia shared that teddy bears comforted her and her father when he was sick with pancreatic cancer. Together, they got build-a-bears containing each other’s “hearts.” “His is buried with him, and I keep mine to comfort me, knowing he put the heart inside of my bear. I was inspired to use teddy bears as comfort for others during this hard time of a global pandemic,” said Olivia.