…before the repair.
I have a stuffed toy that needs some work. Can you tell me how much will it cost and how long will it take?
Many emails ask for this information. Imagine if you had a car that needed work. If you called a repair shop and asked to have your car fixed, they would immediately ask you what the make of your car was, the model, the year, etc. It’s the same with toys! There have been millions of stuffed toys made by many manufacturers over the years, and the styles have varied greatly. This is why it is so important that you send me a picture of your toy so that I can give you informed information.
What is the procedure to get an estimate?
Depending upon the repairs required, we can give you a “rough” estimate from good, clear, detailed photos. Our preference is digital format, high resolution, so we can enlarge them for close inspection. We must reserve the right to change our quote upon actual inspection of the toy, as it is impossible to determine certain conditions, such as dry rot, or defective joints from a picture. Please include the overall measurements of your toy. There is a minimum charge of $80 for any toy worked on.
After approval, when should I send my toy?
We always try to minimize the actual time your toy is away, and therefore require that you wait for us to schedule your repair. When you make the decision to have your toy worked on, you will be given a date of when to ship your package. This will enable us to be ready to start repairs when your shipment is received. We do not have the space to store toys we are not actively working on, so we must follow these guidelines.
Can I deliver my toy to you to avoid shipping?
My home-based business is not set up to have customers come to my home. If you feel that you cannot ship your toy, you may deliver your toy (with prior approval) to The Toy Shoppe, which is several miles from my workshop. I will go by to pick up your toy when my schedule allows. Note: this is more difficult due to decreased customer traffic at the Toy Shoppe, due to the pandemic. It is much safer, and more direct to ship your toy to me.
How long does a typical repair job take?
After approval of estimate, and receipt of your toy, we will start the repairs. This process is not a defined science, as each repair is different, and all work is hand done. A “typical” repair, consisting of cleaning, replacement of a paw pad or two, and maybe some minor tear repairs normally takes about 2 weeks. Larger, more complex repairs, involving opening a toy to repair or replace a squeaker, or major reconstructive repairs (i.e. a dog chewed toy), can take much longer. If special materials have to be ordered, repairs can take 4 weeks or more.
Can I request that the work on my toy be rushed?
Unfortunately, I used to offer this service but can no longer accept “rush jobs”. Quite frankly, I have often been requested to rush a repair after a dog (or sometime a human) damages a toy. A person can be quite anxious to get the work done in a hurry, so the owner will not be distressed to see their toy in pieces. While I work hard to make everyone happy, the anxiousness turns to anger, and that is not productive. Quality work takes time and good communication.
…about toy repair.
Can you please tell me who made my toy and when? Can you provide me a value for insurance purposes?
There have been many, many manufacturers of stuffed toys in the last 100+ years. It takes a lot of time and research to properly identify a toy. The same is true for an appraisal. Since my specialty is repair and restoration, I have chose to focus on those areas and do not do evaluations of toys for the purpose of determining their origin or value. If you want to find out detailed information on your toy for insurance, search out a appraisal expert at a bear, doll or toy show that comes to your locality.
Can you put new fur into bald areas?
No; this process is called reweaving, and we do not provide this service. It is very time consuming, and most individuals that do this have a 6-12 month waiting list. The service typically runs about $350 per square inch.
Can you remake my toy, or recover what I have?
No, I do not remake or recover toys, due to the time it takes to make a pattern, do a mock up and make corrections. You may want to find a seamstress that will do this for you. Or, you may look on eBay and find a toy like yours, that would be less expensive.
I have a toy that is made of real fur, can you repair it?
No, the process for working on leather and fur is very different from working on toys made of fabric. We suggest that you contact a taxidermist or a bear artist that makes bears of old furs for these repairs.
Do you work on toys that need to have mechanical repairs?
I can repair early growlers, and replace later models. (They are not constructed in a way that they can be repaired.) This is also the case for music boxes, I can replace them, but do not repair them. I can repair squeakers as long as they are not excessively damaged, and even then I can often use parts I have on hand to make the repairs. However, I do not work on pull-string mechanisms or parts that depend on a battery to function.
I have a toy that has specific clothes, can you remake them?
There are some toys that their clothes are actually part of their body, and some toys wear clothes. I can clean and repair original clothes, but I do not remake the clothes. If the clothes of a toy are the actual body, I can sometimes repair them.
I only want a partial repair, will you only perform select repairs of my choosing?
In order to maintain my credibility, I cannot perform partial repairs. When working on a toy, it is important that I do the restoration work that I feel is necessary to preserve a toy in the best condition possible. If I were to only do part of the work – even at the customer’s request – it could be detrimental to the overall longevity of the piece. In addition, while you may prefer your toy looking a certain way (ie. missing an eye, a hole not patched, etc.), someone else looking at your toy may just feel that the restorer was unable to complete the job, which would not have been accurate. In most cases I require that a toy be cleaned as part of the restoration work. If cost is a concern, I am very willing to work with you.
I would like the original stuffing to be reused in my plush toy, will you save it to put back in after cleaning?
Old soft stuffing retains dust mites and dead skin cells, so I dispose of the old stuffing and use new hypo allergenic fiber as a replacement. For sanitary reasons, I cannot make an exception to this. If a toy is stuffed with excelsior I replaced deteriorated excelsior with new German excelsior.
Can you sell me the items I need to repair my toy?
My business is set up as a “service” business. Therefore, I incorporate the cost of supplies into my repair charges, and cannot sell items.
My Steiff toy is missing its button. Can you replace it?
Steiff ear buttons, and tags, are trademarks of that company. They do not sell them, or provide any means to replace them.
My child has a pajama toy (a stuffed animal with a plush head, hands and feet, but a cloth body, usually a fabric with a child's pajama print) and they have had it since birth. The fabric is wearing out, can you replace it?
No, I do not work on these toys. You may consider taking the toy to a seamstress and have her made your toy a new body and attaching the existing head and limbs. I also do not work on “loveys”, which are toys made of blanket material and only the head and sometimes arms are stuffed. This fabric does not repair well. I typically do not work on toys that are not typically considered “plush”. Smooth fabrics that are typically used for clothing (velvet is one of these) does not clean or repair well. I also cannot repair toys that are knitted or crocheted.
How do you...?
Most customers understand that this is my business, and that I have developed my techniques through years of hard work. But, occasionally, someone still asks me to tell them how to do a particular repair. I have found that every toy is different, and there are no “cut and dry” instructions for repairs. A broken joint on an 90 year old Steiff bear is a completely different repair than a jointed Boyd’s bear with broken leg. As for my cleaning, I worked hard to develop a solution that does an awesome job, and I’m very sorry, but I don’t share my “trade secret”. I hope you understand.
…about my business.
How do I contact Mar-Ke?
The best way to contact us is through email by clicking the “Email Us” button to the right. We check email throughout the day, and during normal business hours we will respond very quickly. We require that all communication with clients is documented, therefore we cannot provide a phone number without first attempting to answer your questions through email.
What are your normal hours of operation?
Mar-Ke Mohair is a home based business, and even though we check our email every day, I normally answer emails Monday through Friday, 9am-6pm. This allows me to have time with my family.
I don't really like email, can we correspond by phone?
Email allows me to have a written record of our correspondence and that is the way I communicate. If you want to speak on the phone just to feel more comfortable about sending your toy, I will transcribe our call and you will need to confirm (via email) what we discussed on the phone. This is for your protection and mine, so that we both have quick access to what we have talked about in regards to repairs and restoration.
What are my payment options?
There are several ways to make payment. Cashier’s (bank) checks, PayPal, Venmo (contact me for user ID), Zelle (contact me for user information) Money Orders, and even personal checks can be used. We require a 50% deposit before starting the repairs. If you use a personal check, please allow up to 10 days for processing. The final balance and return shipping are due as soon as the work is completed. Please keep in mind that your prompt payment is my paycheck. If you need to make payment arrangements, please just let me know before I start to work.