Anybody who has lost a loved one knows how comforting it is to have something of theirs close by.
That’s why Mary MacInnes of Scotland has made it her mission to soothe heartbroken individuals by transforming their treasured items into special keepsakes.
The 21-year-old is studying fashion technology at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and planned to work in the bridal industry. But then she shared photos of a “memory bear” she made for her friend online. People loved it so much that they began requesting more!
Before long, Mary had so many customers that she was able to create a full-blown business, for which she received a Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2016.
These days, Mary has a long waiting list of orders to fulfill in her studios in Kilmarnock and Galashiels, Scotland. Each bear takes about five to six hours to make and can be constructed from fabrics like robes and nightgowns and incorporate people’s jewelry or ashes. They even have jointed legs so their owners can pose them however they want!
Costs vary depending on the order, but the starting point is £50 (about $65).
As one might imagine, Mary’s work often has an emotional toll:
Recently I had a 37-year-old man pleading with me to make his two daughters, aged 10 and 12, bears before Christmas. He insisted on paying in full and gave me £10 extra, asking me to post them to his girls. It turned out he has terminal cancer and won’t see Christmas. I cried the whole time I cut out, sewed, and stuffed those two little bears.”
No matter how sad the stories get, she knows her work is incredibly important.
“It really is a privilege to be asked to create something from people’s personal possessions,” she said. “Garments arrive as sad reminders of the past, then it’s almost as if new life is breathed into them. They become something that’s much more acceptable to cuddle and talk to, and the feedback is they definitely can help the grieving process.”
What an amazing way to comfort people. Keep up the beautiful work, Mary!
Share this story with anyone who might want to commission a bear of their own to help them process their grief.
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