Saturday, December 14, 2013

321 Days 'til Halloween...

Scare o' the Day!

Interview with Infect Tedz








Could a zombie teddy bear from the UK become the next great horror icon?

Dave and Sammi, the two-person team behind the web-based toy brand, Infect Tedz, certainly hopes so!

This past week, I had the opportunity to interview the couple from Manchester, UK, regarding the outbreak of their zombie teddy bears.

"I don’t know if you remember,” Dave said, "but I tweeted last week about our house looking like the set of an 80's B movie? I wasn’t joking! The living room is full of teddies, upstairs is littered with teddy corpses and the bedroom is overflowing with zombified teddies. Yeah, you could say we’re pretty devoted to this now.”

“Plus,” Dave noted, "there is something satisfying about turning something loveable and cute into something blood-thirsty and evil… strangely, [though] they are still kinda adorable."

Infect Tedz started life as a gift for a friend.

According to Dave, "The reason we chose bears and teddies is because, sadly, there weren’t many things in our house that we could zombify. Initially, we wanted to make a zombie creation for our friend and teddies seemed perfect. It wasn’t until about a week later that we realised that people might actually want to buy these one day. 

"The idea sat in our heads for a month or so, until we actually began with the creation of the clay bear skull. Making the bear skull was really important to us because it was from this that we planned to take all the casts for our zombie bear heads.”

Dave and Sammi do all of the work on the Infect Tedz creations themselves.

Dave explained, "I’ve always been quite handy at creating things and that mainly comes from my Dad, who owns his own business... which is actually a toy store, (although he wouldn’t like me to call it that) he’d insist it is actually a hobby store! It is through spending time with my Dad in and around the shop that I learned everything I know. I was shown how to make a mold, then cast from the mold, and also, I have a good understanding of most types of paints and what effect they can create.

"We buy most of our bears as pre-loved teddies from thrift stores (charity shops). However, we do sometimes buy the bears new so we can have the right bear that matches the idea in our head. All the gory bits on our tedz (such as claws, guts, bones etc) begin life as a piece of clay. We then take a mold of that clay in silicone and it is from these molds that we cast the parts. We have taken to calling these parts ‘prosthetics.’ Each ‘prosthetic’ is made from a quality plastic known as resin.

"In the future, we want to start using latex to line the interior of any wounds to create a more gory effect, but at the moment we are still experimenting with this idea on our test subjects.

"On average it takes 2 days to make an Infect Ted, that is including the majority of the painting, gluing and casting. Although we always seem to find ourselves going back to a finished bear to do touch ups."

Dave and Sammi would seem to make the perfect Infect Tedz team. Sammi didn’t grow up in a toy and hobby store-type environment, but Dave shared, “Sammi is very creative and she picked up the skills needed [to make the Tedz], easily. But more importantly, she’s a wizard with technology. It is a great partnership because, although I know how to make the bears, it is Sammi that comes up with the best ideas! When it comes to thinking outside the box and coming up with the answers, she’s the one I look to."

The couple have taken on the task of creating the bears and establishing the Infect Tedz store and brand as a labor of love. "Ever since we had the initial idea of Infect Tedz, and especially since moving forward with the brand, we’ve always wanted it to be our full time commitment. Sadly, together we don’t have enough savings to create Infect Tedz without having to work at the same time.” Dave and Sammi remain hopeful, though, "that within 12 months, Infect Tedz will be our full time passion. We can’t wait!"

Dave and Sammi plan to launch the Infect Tedz web-store on January 1st, 2014. The store will be located on their own website and is currently under construction. They won’t be using third-party hosting, but say, “We will have the occasional eBay auction just for fun!"

Dave reports, "The price for our bears will be based on the size of the bear, materials used, time spent and any extra elements (such as props- hatchet/crowbar, etc). We hope to sell the majority of bears for around £40 because we don’t want them to become too expensive. Although a few of the bears are going to be closer to £60, we don’t want that to become the norm because after all we want people to be able to afford them!”

Dave and Sammi are also "toying with the idea of having custom orders made available, but it is hard to give a specific price at the moment because individuals will require unique prosthetics, gore, a specific bear and any custom props. Roughly we think custom orders will be between £80-£100 but this is an early estimate."

Infect Tedz will be available to ship internationally! Current exchange rates apply, but this means that those of us here in the US will be able to order them! If you’re a teddy bear collector, introducing a handmade Infect Ted into your home might lead to an outbreak, but would that really be that bad of a thing?

As for the horror icon status of Crowbear, he is just one of many Infect Tedz shambling out of Dave and Sammi’s home in Manchester. Personally, I’m hoping Hatchet becomes the star!


Check out Infect Tedz on Facebook to pick out your favorite zombified teddy bear! I'll keep you posted as to when their web-store goes live so you'll be able to order an Infect Ted of your very own!!

(Special thanks to Dave and Sammi for their time and great correspondence and to Betsy for editing my very first interview!!)




Happy Halloween!!

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