For those of you who have found me through my food posts and Good Morning Texas, my actual history is as a toy designer for twenty-five years. You can find more detail about this on my personal website, www.phebephillips.com. I want to take this time to remember a customer, Robin Williams, and share a story, because if I don’t do it now, it will never be told, and dissolve away with time.
From day one, 1984, to the last day, August 11, 2010, my line was always sold at all Neiman Marcus stores under the brand name, Phebe Phillips. In the 90s, Robin’s wife, Marsha, would come into the San Francisco NM for my rabbits during the Easter season. They were always sent to Dallas for me to personalize and autograph, then returned to San Francisco to be delivered to their home. I remember signing toys for all three children, now grown adults.
One year, as a birthday gift to Zachary, he was given a bear from the collection series in this photo. The bear’s name was Bear Spearean “The Bear Under the Tree on a Midsummer Night”. He came with a leather satchel containing a book of the play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare, covered in vintage, tea-stained bark paper, and a copy of sheet music from Mendelssohn’s Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A fitting gift for an actor to give his son! However, someone had stolen both the play, and the sheet music from the satchel as Bear Spearean sat on display at NM-SF. I got the call on a Friday afternoon, and immediately overnighted a new autographed and personalized Bear Spearean with the full set of book and music, so that he arrived in perfect time for Zachary’s birthday party Saturday afternoon.
I could not find a photo of Bear Spearean quickly enough for this post. The bear in the photo is Bear Barrett Browning, “Keeper of the Thoughts in Your Heart”. He came with a journal, and twig pencil to write the thoughts in your heart.
In full disclosure, like so many well-known personalities that purchased my designs, I never met Robin or his family. My interaction with most celebrities came through in-store personal shoppers, or the celebrity’s personal assistant.
While Phebe’s line, at this time, is no longer available in retail stores, she does produce Piper the Puppy for the American Red Cross. Piper rides to disaster scenes in the ARC emergency vehicles of individual chapters. Piper’s presence is made possible by corporate, and family-foundation sponsors of the American Red Cross. To learn more about Piper click here. A new plush line is currently living in Phebe’s sketch book. It is tentatively scheduled for production in 2015.