FAO Schwarz, America’s oldest and most prestigious toy retailer, has launched its first European flagship at Selfridges Oxford Street – a 22,000ft2 experience destination including a 16m2 space dedicated to heritage toy brand Steiff, the world’s oldest soft toy manufacturer and inventor of the teddy bear. The space offers the full range of Steiff toys – from snuggly Soft Cuddly Friends to life-size studio animals.
A special highlight is Steiff’s interactive National Geographic experience. Photographer Joel Sartore’s ‘Photo Ark’ documentsspecies living in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries across the globe. Steiff x National Geographic plush toys portray at-risk animals from the project, from gorillas to chinchillas, encouraging children to understand the beauty, uniqueness and fragility of these creatures. Dedicated in-store screens enable children to learn about the animals’ habitats via a moveable touchscreen globe, listen to the animals’ noises, and adopt a toy, complete with a personalised adoption certificate – a concept exclusive to FAO Schwarz at Selfridges. Each purchase of a Steiff x National Geographictoy helps further the work of the National Geographic Society, funding scientists, explorers, and educators around the world.
Founded in 1880 with the motto ‘for children only the best is good enough’, Steiff’s longstanding relationship with FAO Schwarz dates back to the late nineteenth century. Selfridges began stocking Steiff toys when it opened in 1909. The flagship now brings together three icons of children’s retail in one location.
Steiff soft toys from £14.90, National Geographic collection from £39.90