Christy Firmage, of Christy's Bears knows a thing or two about traveling.
Born in Jacksonville, FL, her father was a military officer who took his family to the places he was stationed. Christy traveled the world most of her life, calling many places "home."
She graduated from High School in Frankfurt, Germany, attended a girl's business school in Washington, DC. She married a military officer and traveled more; giving birth to a daughter in California and a son five years later, in Okinawa, Japan.
But no matter where she traveled, Christy was an active person in her communities; from school room-mother, to Junior League and the American Red Cross. She was so involved that she received the National Award as Volunteer of the Year and founded a respite center for abused children and a program for abusive mothers.
She remembers over all the years, through all the travel and community activism, she also found time to indulge her creativity with projects such as oil painting and sewing clothes. Crafting and hobbies were special times she could spend at home.
When she moved to San Diego, a friend called and said "I am coming for the weekend and we are going on a bear hunt!"
Surprised, she replied, "Excuse me?" and with that event was how Christy's Bears began.
Her friend was attending a teddy bear and doll show. "It was instant love," Christy remembered, "I was like a child in a magic land!"
They both took classes on pattern making and creating teddy bears. By then, she was hooked.
"I joined the San Diego Teddy Bear Artist Guild and we had such great fun getting together once a week. I continued to experiment with designs, staying up until all hours of the morning."
Christy started sewing and selling her bears through the club table at shows throughout California. Then she traveled around the United States participating in shows.
It wasn't long before she started getting invites to shows in Singapore, Tokyo, Korea, Paris and the Hugglets London shows.
"I loved traveling to shows. It was so rewarding to meet the collectors that were so loyal. I met a woman that traveled across the U.S. to attend a show just so that she could meet me. It was so lovely."
Christy's participation won her many accolades. She was nominated for various awards and has been featured on several teddy bear magazines in the US and international publications.