In 1898, Adolph Gund, an immigrant from Germany, founded GUND. Located in New York City, the company specialized in artificial flowers, beads, and gifts, but soon concentrated on supplying a growing market of soft fabric toys including teddy bears. Even in the early years, Gund established a tradition of innovative design—he was responsible for several patented mechanisms that brought life to his creations. In 1907, Gund hired 12-year-old Jacob Swedlin, a Russian immigrant, to work the mail room. Gund trained Swedlin to become a cutter and pattern maker and taught him about the business. When Gund retired, he sold the company to Swedlin. His daughter, Rita Swedlin Raiffe, GUND Director of Design, revolutionized the industry championing huggable designs, reducing stuffing, and introducing softer textiles and gentle patterns. The company remained a Swedlin family business for several decades until it was purchased in 2008 by Enesco. In 2018, Spin Master acquired GUND.