As CMO of the retailer Bear On The Chair, Symonne Harrison helps oversee everything from updating social media to reviewing product design to monitoring sales data. She’s just taken over the company’s Instagram account and will participate in a Meet-and-Greet event Dec. 18 at Learning Express at SouthPark Mall, where the Bear On The Chair product is sold.

If that all doesn’t keep her on her toes enough, the company also recently got a call from ABC Productions requesting their product appear in an episode of the hit sitcom Black-ish, starring Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross. The show boasts 8 million viewers every Wednesday night at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.

All of this would keep any seasoned marketer on their toes, but North Royalton resident Symonne Harrison isn’t a veteran marketer and the “C” in her “CMO” title doesn’t stand for “Chief,” it stands for “Child,” as in Child Marketing Officer.

Symonne Harrison is a 10-year-old fourth grader at St. Albert the Great School who enjoys taking dance classes, participating in pageants and serving as the current North Royalton Sweetheart, a title she earned after competing in the Community Festival Pageant this past August. She also happens to be the brains behind a successful business.

Four years ago, the precocious 6-year-old invented Bear On The Chair, after sadly pointing out to her parents that once her beloved Elf On The Shelf – the popular Christmas behavioral toy that monitors a child’s deeds and reports back to the North Pole – went away for the season, who would replace him and how would her behavior be monitored?

“Symonne has always loved behavior charts and being rewarded for good behavior,” says mom Tania Harrison. “Once the Elf went away, she really wanted something year-round that would track her behavior.”

Symonne’s inquiry got her parents thinking. Was there something similar in nature to Elf On The Shelf that they could find online or in a store? What could they use year-round that both they and their daughter would respond to? Together with their daughter, the couple went to work on research for positive reinforcement tools. After an exhaustive search turned up nothing, the family took matters into their own hands and went about creating something themselves – Bear On The Chair, a tool that assists in teaching children right and wrong behavior.

“We went to work on how to develop a product,” Tania explained. “My husband got out a notebook – Symonne envisioned it all – and took down all sorts of notes. Once we realized there was absolutely nothing else out there on the market like it, we went to work on patent researching and seeking out a manufacturer and design artist.”

After deciding on a manufacturer, the Harrisons were contacted by a designer. To their surprise, the design artist was from Disney and had already begun sketching out ideas for the new product.

Things progressed quickly, and true to her entrepreneurial nature, Symonne picked out everything for the Bear, including the texture of the fur and the appearance of the nose and eyes. She also co-authored a story that comes along with Bear On The Chair. And to really make her mark on the product, Symonne’s 6-year-old handwriting was lifted and saved, and Bear On The Chair owners will find her scrawling “BOTC” stitched onto one paw of every Bear On The Chair product.

The Bear retails for $29.99 and is sold online at,, and in Learning Express stores in Strongsville and Westlake. The Bear fits snugly into a branded plastic chair and dons a white tee shirt. Felt patches come with him – a yellow smile face to reward good behavior and a red sad face that parents can attach to the Bear’s shirt to help teach youngsters right from wrong.

“Bear On The Chair is a visual tool for kids and it really does help,” Tania said. “It serves as a behavior buddy for teachers and is huge in the autistic market. Right now, Bear On The Chair can be found in various autism learning centers across 20 different states.”

Child psychology therapists and doctors’ offices including dentists, orthodontists and pediatricians also use Bear On The Chair.

“It’s been an amazing journey these past three years, but our biggest moment was being contacted by ABC,” Tania said. “It was just a regular, normal Wednesday night in November and the phone rang. It was a director from ABC asking if we could expedite overnight four Bears to them for the upcoming filming of the Black-ish Christmas episode.”

ABC also needed the Harrisons’ approval for the script and for their usage of the Bear, which was to be incorporated throughout the Christmas episode to air tomorrow, Dec. 14.  Symonne has participated in a media blitz around town and is extremely excited for the chance for her invention to be featured on a hit TV show.

“Symonne is very hands-on in the business and takes so much pride in what she’s doing,” Tania said of her daughter.

Products purchased on ship directly from North Royalton (Amazon maintains its own inventory), and Symonne will personally package materials and take items to the Post Office.

“She’s very decisive and it’s very fun to watch this all unfolding through her eyes,” Tania said. “Symonne has always had a very entrepreneurial spirit. When she was 3, she created a business called Cakes by Symonne and friends and family would order her cakes. She is very creative and likes to think outside the box.”

Learn more about Bear On The Chair at Follow Bear On The Chair on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

Contributing Writer