Thanks for bearing with me this month–I haven’t had much time to write. I hope everyone understands. I will try to do better.
These are crazy times but it is times like this that make me sit back and realize that there has to be meaning in all of this.
I think I’ve got it–what really matters are our friends and the relationships we create over time. Friends are the people that add spice to your life–make you glad to get up everyday. They make you smile and sometimes they can make you cry.
I have always had a lot of friends like my friend Alan–we have been friends since we were about 4 years old and we are still great friends today. I saw Alan last week for my birthday and while we don’t see each other often, it was like we see each other everyday.
And my friend Connie–we met in the 5th grade–that was over 50 years ago and we are still friends through thick and thin. Of course there is my friend Katie and her brother Jack who were the inspiration for Build-A-Bear Workshop. But then there are new friends like the ones I have met through Build-A-Bear Workshop.
There are the people I work with like Tina, Marilyn and hundreds of others and all the Guests that have made me smile by their love of stuffed animals and BABW. Everyday I get hundreds of emails from these friends giving me great suggestions about how to make BABW and BABV even better. I get suggestions about store locations, products to make and things to add to BABV.
One of my special friends is Kayla who lives in Canada. Kayla first wrote to me a few years ago and suggested that we open a store in her home town. We listened very closely but decided that a town a few hours away would be better for us. That was ok with Kayla and Carla, Max, Jake, Liberty and Katira her furry friends. We communicate a lot even though we are both busy. She with school and being a teenager and me with work. though we have never met in person, we have a special friendship. I hope we meet soon. On the other side of Canada is my friend Chelsey. I have met Chelsey because she was at one of our store openings. She and her family have become special friends!
Then of course there are the friends that contributed to my 60th Birthday Challenge—WOW!! We went way over my goal and now have raised over $67,000 for teachers and their classrooms. That is a lot of $$$ for sure. Many of the teachers are also citizens of BABV—like KimberlyMay17. She is a teacher in Texas and now her class has some new learning materials thanks to our new friendship.
When I started BABW I even gave it the tag line “Where Best Friends Are Made” because I wanted it to be a place where best friends came to make a new furry best friend and through our good deeds, people would see that being a good friend to each other, their school, their community is a worthwhile endeavor. When you create your own company or your own blog or your own online Facebook page you are communicating who you are, what matters to you and what you stand for to the world. Of course BABW did become a place where many friends have come together and did make many furry friends—in fact over 70 million furry friends have been made since 1997—that is a lot of stuffed animals!). Then we created BABV and people have brought their furry friends to life online and made many new friends.
Out of BABW came BABV where now I have over 8 million new friends. Many of those friends are very creative and have created fan pages on Facebook or even fan blogs. While these are not affiliated with BABV in any way, they do exist around our themes and so I know that while many are kids, they want to do the right thing. These kids are very Internet saavy and have created some great blogs or boards as they refer to them. I try to read as many of them as I can and most are terrific.
Unfortunately, some kids get carried away and they forget that while it may seem virtual in many respects, it is also real and when you say mean things or get very bossy, you hurt people’s feelings and most of all you are not acting in the spirit of BABV. I can hear you now saying, “I will never meet these people so who cares.” While your board is your board as my blog is my blog, I would hope that the spirit of BABW would inspire you to be even friendlier, even nicer and do more to make people feel welcome just like we do at BABW. I try to set a good example by being responsive and respectful to all of our Guests and the people that write to me because I know I appreciate it when people do the same for me.
Your Board or your Blog says something about you—who you are and what you value. It is your brand—maybe for some of you the first business you have created. I am learning the hard way from reading some of these that we haven’t been so successful in inspiring kids to be kind—some are down right mean. Guys,BABW and BABV is about fun not spite or mean statements to your Board/Blog Guests. Is that what you want to be known for? I hope not! In fact, I am sure not. You are all very sweet to me but I see some stuff I don’t like when I read your sites. Please, if you are really my friend, think about what you are saying and how you are acting and reconsider. Make a resolution to not allow mean stuff on your board or blog. Apologize to people whose feelings you have hurt and vow to have the friendliest and best board/blog in the world just like I vowed to have the best make your own stuffed animal store in the world. It matters! I will notice and so will your other Guests and who knows when you might meet your Guests in real life.
My mom used to tell me that you should “never burn bridges” or “what goes around comes around.” She was RIGHT (all Moms are by the way!) There are so many people I have been re-united with that say to me, “You were always so nice to me. Thank you.” I have received so many honors in my life. I think being nice is the highest honor I have ever received!
Love.hugs.peace to all,
Maxine and my new lamb, Ms Chop