About Us

Why and how was Moodybear created?

I don’t know, I honestly don’t. It just kinda happened. Life doesn’t always go the way you want or desire it, and t-shirt making for me was a hobby at the point where I met Glenn (the main designer of all the characters and Justice / PAWS logos).

A bit of history:

WAY back in 2005 I met a guy running a t-shirt stall. I was sick, mentally ill, and totally unaware I was. In 2007 I got involved with the bear scene, as a punter mainly. Things got progressively harder back in the early days, and in 2008, my health took a turn for the worse. I collapsed in work from a pain in my head. Signed off, unable to work, and getting more and more depressed and insular, I reached out to the bear scene or should I say the Bear Scene reached out to me. By this point I was already working and volunteering running a Beareoke night in the local bear bar – The Outpost. I was getting progressively more and more down and depressed. I hated who I was and what I was feeling. I would literally only be able to go to certain places, wasn't able to leave Manchester unless I knew the route, and anxiety became debilitating. Those around me, noticed and to help got me work. The bar, offered me a weekly Beareoke night, and to keep me busy and occupied a friend got me involved in his company “Bear University.” Together we revamped it, relaunched and pushed forward. I started making the shirts, as well, the quality we were being sent was just terrible 10% of the time. Most of these are still in a box somewhere. So the increase in quality, sales went up. I started going to different events, Bristol Bear Fiesta, Belfast Bear Weekend, to try and push it forward a bit more. In Belfast I met Glenn. This was 2010. We talked briefly about designs he has and I said I would LOVE to give them ago. In 2010 I lost my job and career. You can imagine the impact that has. Something you dream of, then in ruins. I was a mess.
9 months of planning, trialling and sorting saw the launch of the first Moodybear site. A dot org site back then. We started with four designs. Rhinestone Bear, SuperBear, Batbear, and the original Moodybear logo. Back then we didn't have a name. I pushed forward, ever trying to keep myself busy as I was unaware just how ill and depressed I was.

 


Moodybear began in 2011 – it birthed after the Bear Bash of that year, where people got their first look at SuperBear and Batbear. I met people, my ex Master, who helped get my head straight. I had the rock of a best mate that stood by me. I had people backing me and supporting me. Things needed to change. I was still running it out of my home – barely leaving the flat at times as my depression often took the better of me. I threw myself into Moodybear. It got its name. The original logo Glenn had called Moodybear, and when seeing it, the best mate, coined the face that that was me.. I was Moodybear. My mood swings, my fight, my constant battle with trying to stay with it. So it kinda stuck..

That moment it transformed, from not just being a hobby, but to something I that would get me out of the darkness. I was still working the Beareoke. My support network grew. Still actively involved in the bear scene in Manchester, I begun to get known. Through social media, the name started building. My name. I'm tall, and not an easy chap to miss, so people pegged me as part of this scene. It was a scene that helped get me out of the dark pit.

In 2012 with the help of an old friend, I revamped the Moodybear look. By that point we were pushing 150 designs. The Chunky logo came into effect, a bigger bolder Moodybear, to push me forward. To get me out, and make me get better. My ex Master once told me, (sat on the toilet as you do) that if I want this to succeed, expect to have no life, or social scene for three years. One of the best bits of advice I ever had. That in the back of my head, I no longer worried about not getting to be social.. I worked harder and harder to make Moodybear happen. SCRUFF gave me a chance and supported me by giving me the Official UK license for my design of their merchandise. RoB Manchester got me printing their apparel. People were backing and supporting me. 2012 saw the closure of the outpost and what we thought would be the end of Beareoke. My only major source of income. Once again the community came to my aid, I had given them a night of fun and laughs, the final night in the outpost, saw people from ALL over the country appear who had enjoyed the event. My god did I cry.. The community stepped in again, we found another venue.. The REM bar, and to this day we are there every Sunday.

In 2013, a whole new site launched in the January. I moved to the studio. It was a bold move, and a BIG risk. But something I had to do. It was getting too big to run from home. People rallied round to help me move.. Moodybear wasn't just about me any more. It had become something more. Every event I had helpers and volunteers, people pushing themselves to help me succeed. I was humbled and amazed.. (and pretty teary). We even did our first Pride stall. This was a MASSIVE gamble. Once again the community backed me. The support from all walks of life, of this small business doing fun stuff really caught a lot of attention.
That year in the November, I had a huge theft of stock. It broke me. I was in pieces as I had no idea how I could recover. The support I got from the community overwhelmed me. It struck me how far I had come. But I still wasn't out the dark times yet. Numerous depressive relapses, but I still fought, and with help of friends and family around. I helped other bear companies get a boost when I could, offering support, advice. Just as was given to me. I saw it as right to give back.

2015 – I booked and took my first holiday in over 10 years. Not only was this a long haul, but it was a test and proof that my anxiety was losing its battle. I thought I wouldn’t be able to have stalls, then as ever, the community to the rescue. Two friends, Brian and Darren had the idea of doing a limited edition pride stock of my logo. Had I really become this brand?

2016 - Saw us sponsor the pup float in Mardi Gras Austrailia all the pups wearing our gear. The year was going great until in the October I had my cash takings from BearScots stolen. It was a big blow. These had been taken from my personal belongings. It played on my head and I got into a spiral. It was also the end of a relationship that I didn’t see coming. When you think you are at the point of no return, you get hit by yet more suprises. Over a 100 people organised a mini fundraiser amoungst themselve to reclaim the cash that had been lost. This was then presented to me, as a TOTAL suprise. I had absolutley no clue. I’m not good with suprises, the play on my mental state.. And I gushed.. As well as a lot of expletives. I really hope I didn’t come across as ungrateful, I just don’t handle that large form of help well.

2017 - Saw another big blow. We had to move. We had to find a new space to run from. This was no mean feat. As we were given 4 weeks to vacate. Again, friendships played a part, and a good friend send me a link and video to a space in Stockport. Ground floor, huge access.. More rent than I’ve paid before - but it was a risk I had to take. I needed somewhere. In February the move happened. Over the space of a day, EVERYTHING went from one place to another. Around 30 guys helped. It was incredible. I asked if people had a few hours to spare could they help and my word the community stepped in again. It was a LONG day. With lots of trips back and forth and lots of stress. But there was also Pizza at the end! The move cost - so I increased my Djing timetable to make sure I covered myself. This effected not only the business but my mental health. It was a necessity. What I wasn’t fully aware of at the time was in the July of that year my head snapped. I broke, more so than before. I was in pieces. I went back to the doctors and had to prove I was well enough not to be sectioned. I was back on medication - I got referred for councilling again. This effected things more than I thought and we noticed sales falling. On the plus side, of 2017 we launched GEM FLEX which saw our limited editon pride tees have the biggest sales ever - and we took our first double stall at pride. It was MASSIVE RISK. But it paid off. We kept it going.

2018 - Another year, a year since the move - a year since I cracked. Trying to do everything is was proving hard. Again, friends and community stepped in. Helping me pick up the slack so we could get administration, and manufacturing all done. We hit Pride with optomism and excitement and were looking forward to a year or great things. At 6am on the Tuesday after Pride I got a phone call - my studio had been broken into. And all the tech equipment stolen. That was it. I was done. I posted about it to make sure people knew their orders would be late. I came off social media for a day. Again, and again the community step up. I have zero idea why they do this, but they are they, my foundation, my help. Andy, a friend set up a go fund me. He set the target to cover what I had lost. It. Went. Viral. Within four days the third target had been smashed, and donations had some in from ALL over the world. A huge chunk from the USA. I was gobsmacked. I wanted to give back, I rebuilt, rebought and pushed. Though what I didn’t realise at the time the emotional toil of the break in had. I gave up. I know, people find that hard to believe. Depsite everything being raised, and people supporting, my head kept telling me it just wasn’t worth it, and I gave in. I was around in body, but my spirit was broken, completely. The medication was increased - as I slipped further. I needed something to shaked me back. Something for others. Something to say thank you to that support. Do my first international event.

2019 - As a thank you to all the US donators - I used what was left of the donations and all my savings to get the US Launch off the ground. It took months of planning and postage. We launched at CLAW. Why CLAW? This event is important for many reasons. It’s where two men I love dearly met, it’s were a lot of support and community came from when I attended the year previously. It’s where I met my pack in the flesh, it where friendships we born, and not just for me. With the help of Sir, (The Daddies - to most people!) we launched at CLAW in April of 2019. It was worth it. They loved it, they loved Moodybear. (This is still amazing)

 


Depression and mental illness never fully goes away. Especially when you have other chronic conditions that often hinder your abilities. But despite the pain and the fight, I move forward. My fight isn’t anything new, I’m very open about mental health. But people often don’t understand or realise how bad it gets. Few see me in the moments of unbridled panic - or the anger and furstration. The thoughts in your head never shut up. The pain never stops. However, I am determined now, more so than ever, not only to get better, but also to work for the community that had pushed me. Working with them, finding out what they want, they need, they like.

I've had a lot of “business” issues where I've had to learn the hard way not everyone has the same views and standpoints as I do regarding the Bear Scene. We've expanded into underwear and jocks, and all manner of accessories. All this is a response to what people want and asked for. We've over 600 designs and styles, and MORE to come. New designers, new looks, new styles. All this is brithed and nutured from within the community. 
I use “we” a lot when talking about Moodybear. Moodybear is not just something for me any more. It’s a symbol for those Moodybear’s out there, that there is hope. You can beat the battles, you can fight the fights. And when you are struggling, all you gotta do it glance behind and you’ll see the army you have amassed of people there ready to support you.

So why did I start Moodybear? I didn't.. Moodybear started me on the path to getting better, a path to finding friends and family. To find that Community exists and I’m gonna fight for it. Wanna join me for the ride?

 

 

 

 

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