My name is Renee' Tompkins and I am the owner of Renee's and Bear Necessities. Over the years my family and I have poured our hearts into our work and we are still striving to bring you only the best. For those of you who do not know me, I would like to take a few minutes and tell you about myself.
The whole story begins around 30 years ago with me dressing teddy bears in the spare room of my house. I would take each of my finished bears to local craft shows and sell them to crowds of people. Eventually I met my loving husband Eddie at a craft show, and together we created The Baby Cuddlekin. These Cuddlekins were teddy bears with beautiful hand-painted porcelain faces and named “Cuddlekins" after our last name “Tompkins". Together we made and sold over 47,000 of these adorable collectable bears. There were many different styles and some of our most popular were the Victorian bears with lace and flowers, and our Native American Indian bears with their braids and beads.
For many years we created and manufactured the Baby Cuddlekins and eventually opened a retail store in the heart of Historic Downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Over the course of the next decade, we sold to local tourists, at craft shows from Washington state to Tennessee, and to a variety of other stores across the United States, including the Wayne Newton Theatre, several casinos in Las Vegas, 35 Hallmark stores, and countless other retailers.
Our beautiful hand painted faces were poured, flamed, and painted by certified porcelain artist Kay Ford and her family. After several years of business and friendship with the Ford family, we lost Kay's father to cancer. Shortly after, Kay also passed away due to complications related to diabetes. It was impossible for us to continue making Cuddlekins without the faces they so delicately created. Many other companies mass produce porcelain heads, and we did try a few of them, but none could compare to the beautiful handcrafted and lovingly created faces we had always used.
So like any successful business, we adapted. We began to introduce jewelry, women's clothing, shoes, purses, and other accessories into our product line until we had phased out the Cuddlekins and Victorian items all together.
We later opened Putting on the Glitz and Renee’s in 2006 and 2015 respectively. Our supply of women's accessories increased considerably, giving our customers much more product to choose from. We began designing the majority of our jewelry and accessories in our upstairs factory and quickly found that our customers were falling in love with the unique handmade pieces we designed.
We now handle a customer base of over 400 different stores for our wholesale business, as well as taking our products to market and a large number of assorted trade shows across the United States.
Words can’t describe how exciting this journey has been for me and it wouldn’t be possible without help from some very special people along the way. From my loving and caring family and friends, to my outstanding and diligent employees, I have truly been blessed with an amazing support system.
Our customers know us as "The Glitzy Girls" and my sales girls strive to make shopping at my stores a fun experience for everyone. I hope that Renee's and Bear Necessities continue to grow so that I can continue to bring new, fun, and unique items to my customers. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to tell you a little about my journey and I hope to meet each of you at one of our many trade shows or right here in one of our stores in the future.