Archive for April, 2009

1+1=10

April 20, 2009

This past week was PAWSOME to be honest. One of the best parts of being me is all the people I have connected with over the years and what those experiences have added to me as a person and of course allowed us to create in Build-a-Bear Workshop and buildabearville.com

A few months ago BABV won a Wired Kids award that kids actually voted on. They said we were fun AND safe and that is a great compliment. In the process got to meet some great partners who feel the same way we do about internet safety especially as it relates to children and their well being. Saturday, the founder of Wired Kids.org, Parry Aftab, came to visit us and what a great meeting it was. Just as I was starting Build-A-Bear Workshop, she was a cyber expert attorney leaving her legal practice to go and focus on internet safety for children. Little did we both know the critical part we could both play because we know how important kids are to the future of the world and what a responsibility we have to keep them safe and help them be better citizens in the process.

At BABW we believe that 1+1=10 and that every business partnership can be plussed thru better collaboration and I feel sure that a relationship with Parry and her firm WiredSafety can help us be the best we can be and lead with a site that is even more fun everyday for kids.

At the meeting we talked about bullying and how mean some kids can be especially when they can hide behind their online person and no one really knows who they are. My mom taught me along time ago that what you do “when no one is looking” or now in the virtual world when “no one knows who you really are” is just as important as when people know who you are. I take my brand— the real Maxine Clark or my avatars, MaxineBearyLucky or Maxine Clark CEB VERY SERIOUSLY! I want people to see me as a good person doing good things because that is who I am and what I stand for. No matter how young or old we are who we are is our integrity and what we stand for as human beings. In a way, we are each a brand and it is up to us to make the brand strong.

We have many wonderful children and their parents on BABV and 99% always act in a safe and friendly way but there are a few bad eggs who think it is cool or funny to bully. IT IS NOT! When someone bullies or takes things from others without permission in buildabearville it is NOT acceptable. When found, they are banned permanently. When people threaten to report others who will not trade, it is the people that threaten that are WRONG, not the people who don’t want to trade. Not trading is their right in BABV especially when they have spent their hard earned money. We always suggest that people not respond or retaliate—not worth it and it can turn nice people into bullies out of frustration—not what we want at all. Just click and ignore and never see that character again. Then report the person to a responsible adult for bullying. Also report them to BABV. It is the only way for people to stop this bad behavior. My parents always told me that the good guys would always win and in the long run, it is absolutely true. I know that now as an adult but it took me awhile to figure it out too.

We have so many new and fun things planned starting this week with Earth Day and is followed up on April 24th Arbor Day, with a much requested new feature–gardening. Beginning 4/24 you can grow flowers and healthy food in buildabearville.

May is going to be incredible with three new animals, a special Mother’s Day gift with purchase promotion that says we appreciate our Moms. We will also launch the recording of our “Let’s Talk About Love” strong by Grammy award winner Natalie Cole sung with passion and a Mom’s point of view. Natalie joins David Archeluta and Meaghan Martin who have been making this song famous! PLUS the new BABV game cards will be available in store and of course, still online. I will let you know more about May as we get closer –it will be full of WOW!!

Hugs,

Maxine

Friends make holidays BEARY special!

April 13, 2009

Holidays always make me think about my friends and family especially those from my childhood or earlier career days who have become a part of my fondest memories. The best part about TRUE friends is that even though you may not see or talk to them often, when you do meet up, it is like old times.

 

Facebook has helped many people reconnect and that is true for me too. I have many of my high school friends that I have been reacquainted with as well as new friends and it is a convenient place to stay in touch. On buildabearville.com we wanted it to be a place where old and new friends could connect. The fun thing about online friends is you can seem to have a lot more than you would ever have in real life. One such friend is Michelle—known in BABV as IzzyFluffed. This past week she came with her daughter Kayla (LilFluff) to meet me and get a tour of our World BearQuarters. It seems that Kayla really wanted to meet us and what a treat it was for me. We talked for an hour or so and shared many stories about friends we had made in BABV like MomMusicLover and KimberlyMay17. Without Buildabearville.com I would not know these ladies and nor would I have their input to help make our company better. That is a great friendship—one with give and take! I hope to meet as many of our buildabearville.com Guests in real life as I can.

Tomorrow Hannah from Georgia is stopping by to say hello on her Spring break. I can’t wait to meet her. To me, meeting people in real life is the ultimate fun thing to do.

 

I talk about friends a lot because to me they are so valuable. I am a lucky person—I have lots of friends. One such very special friend and long time acquaintance is Mike Duke. Mike and I have known each other for about 25 years as we used to work together. Recently he was named the CEO of Wal-mart and now runs the largest company in the entire world. To me he is a rock star–a very down to earth one at that! He is the same nice man that he has always been even though he is one of the most important business leaders in the world.

 

Last week he invited me to attend one of the famous Wal-mart Saturday meetings and asked me on stage to be “interviewed.” Mike and I both love our jobs and bringing great stuff to our stores so he asked me about merchandising and ideas and it was so much fun. I am always glad to share my know-how with others and so is Mike. Here is a picture of us:

 

Maxine and Mike at Wal-mart

Maxine and Mike at Wal-mart

 

 

 

 

After the meeting my other friend that live in Arkansas, Peaches, had some of her friends that love BABW over for a teddy bear tea and we had a blast. I wish I could do this more often. Itw as relaxing and FUN to meet so many Moms and their children who love BABW so much.

 

Maxine and Friends in Arkansas

Maxine and Friends in Arkansas

 

 

On buildabearville.com (and many other virtual worlds) you can click on someone you meet and ask them to be your friend—as easy as that. In the real world making a true friends is way harder but well worth it. In the virtual world being a friend is also MUCH MORE than a click. The object is not to rack up so many names of people you really don’t know but instead to find some friends who share your values of fair play, honesty and integrity. They aren’t bullies or mean to anyone but kind and helpful and always smiling. They aren’t greedy trying to get something you have worked hard to buy or collect with a promise of something they have when they really don’t. I say pick your friends in the virtual world the same way you would in the real world –because they are a good person and a good bear.

 

Recently in order to make room for more fun stuff on BABV and also to load all the neat things we have even faster we say than many of our citizens have thousands of “friends.” Not real friends but the kind you click on and never see each other again. In fact, of the people that have 200 or more friends, few even had contact with or traded with 50 of those friends. So, we asked people to minimize their list—not minimize their friends. As you know I speak to many of the citizens on a daily basis through email and here is what one said: “I have this friend in BABV who is trying to get me to trade something and I don’t want her to.” THAT IS NOT A FRIEND BY ANYONE”S DEFINITION..online or in the real world. In this world of virtual everything some lines gets blurred but the friendship one must not! The internet is a great place to reconnect with old friends and stay in touch with all friends but nothing beats the connectedness of REAL face to face friends. People you can look in they eye and know they are being truthful or that they really are who they say they are.

 

I love the ease of the internet—it has made connecting with our Guests so much easier but nothing is as fun as meeting them in person and seeing the sparkle in their eye. Lucky me—Hannah is coming to meet me tomorrow!

 

Hugs to all.

 

Maxine


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