Illustration of a green witch in a blue hat and robe, with orange text on a black background.
©RUSS BERRIE AND COMPANY INC OAKLAND, NJ MADE IN USA/EUA
Company founder Russ Berrie started his business with $500, he rented a garage in Palisades Park, New Jersey, and launched his own firm named after himself. Berrie intended to design, market, and distribute “impulse” gift items. From the start, Russ Berrie & Company produced a string of hit products that quickly found their way onto countertops, desks and dashboards across the country. Among the company’s earliest creations: Fuzzy Wuzzies (tiny fur ball-like critters bearing messages like “You’re My Best Friend” or “Wild Thing”), troll dolls (squat gnomes with plumes of brightly colored hair) and the Bupkis Family (a motley collection of endearingly ugly rubber figurines). The owner believed in the power of “transformational giving,” partnering with energetic, visionary leaders to change the world for the better. He took an entrepreneurial approach to philanthropy, using his keen interpersonal skills to identify people and causes in which to invest and working closely with partners to hone strategies and set expectations. “There is nothing more important in life than helping a fellow human being.” — Russell Berrie (1933-2002)
About Russ Berrie. (n.d.) Russell Berrie Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.russellberriefoundation.org/our-founder
Russ Berrie And Company, Inc. (2020) Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved from https://www.encyclopedia.com/social-sciences-and-law/economics-business-...