Steiff is a German-based plush toy company. It was founded in 1880 by Margarete Steiff, a seamstress. The toys began as elephants, and were originally a design Steiff found in a magazine and sold as pincushions to her customers. However, children began playing with them, and in the years following she went on to design many other animal-themed toys for children, such as dogs, cats and pigs. She designed and made most of the prototypes herself.