German immigrant Adolph Gund founded GUND in 1898, using premier fabrics to manufacture stuffed animals. In 1925, Mr. Gund retired and sold his company to employee Jacob Swedlin, who retained the GUND name and its underlying principles. Swedlin hired his brothers Abraham and John to construct the early framework of the company. Jacob Swedlin’s son-in-law, Herbert Raiffe, joined the company in 1956 and served as President of GUND from 1969 to 1993. Herbert’s wife, Rita, started working at GUND full-time in 1972 in the design department; her creations are among the most recognized GUND plush toys. Herbert and Rita’s son Bruce was promoted to President in 1993 and later became Chairman of the Board. Enesco, an international corporation specializing in gifts and home décor, purchased GUND in 2008. As of 2015, Bruce Raiffe continues to serve as President of the GUND division at Enesco.
GUND pioneered innovations in safety and manufacturing, setting standards in the plush toy industry. GUND also introduced licensed plush toys to the American public through partnerships with Walt Disney Productions and comic strip syndicates. GUND became the first plush manufacturer to launch national advertising campaigns, and they are still known today for the slogan “Gotta Getta GUND!” For more than a hundred years, GUND plush toys have delighted consumers worldwide.
While the company stylizes its brand name as GUND, the Library of Congress authorized subject heading is the lowercased “Gund, Inc.”