Archive for November, 2011

I AM BEARY THANKFUL TODAY AND ALWAYS

November 24, 2011

Zendaya is a great addition to the BABW Float in 2011. A big fan!

It’s that time of year again- when the air turns cold and people from all over the world come together to celebrate the Holidays. Although the season comes much earlier in retailing, I have always felt that Thanksgiving truly kicks off the festivities. And what better way to start a month of celebrations than with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade?
This is the 10th year that a Build-A-Bear Workshop Float has appeared in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I can’t believe it! It seems like just yesterday we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Teddy Bear with the first Build-A-Bear Workshop float in 2002. In years since, the float has evolved with our company but continues to spread smiles down Broadway in true Build-A-Bear Workshop style.

This year, our huggable mascots Bearemy and Pawlette Coufur, arrived in Herald Square with their international furry friends to celebrate the wonder of the holiday season along with Disney star Zendaya. The International Teddy Bear Float celebrates everyone’s favorite childhood friend, the Teddy Bear. The Build-A-Bear Workshop float commemorates the lovable Teddy Bear because a bear hug is understood in any language!

Our partnership with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is just one example of how Build-A-Bear Workshop makes 1 + 1 = 10. This philosophy has been a part of Build-A-Bear Workshop since the very beginning, as we always seek to identify companies that share our passions and can provide added value to our Guests.
Like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Build-A-Bear Workshop has formed similar partnerships with the NBA, the NFL, Disney and Warner Brothers and more. Most recently, we joined with Fox to bring Make-Your-Own Alvin and Brittany from the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked! to Build-A-Bear Workshop! These adventurous friends will be a hit and prove that we can achieve more when working together.

I would like to end, as is tradition with Thanksgiving, by sharing what I am thankful for. The list is long, but today I am reminded most of all of the people in my life who have helped to make Build-A-Bear Workshop such a success. I would not be where I am today without the inspiration of teachers and mentors, the support of family and friends, and the dedication of Build-A-Bear Workshop associates and Guests. So, as we each celebrate the holidays in our own special way around the world, I would like to take a moment to thank YOU for making my holiday special. I wish you the beary best for a happy holiday season, and may it be shared with the best of friends!

Hugs to all,
Maxine

DREAM THE DREAM SUPREME

November 22, 2011

One of our best moments at Build-A-Bear Workshop was the creation of Holly and Hal Moose. My two favorite antlered siblings, Holly and Hal Moose, are back just in time for the holidays! You may remember when “Holly and Hal Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure” first aired on television nationwide two years ago. For Build-A-Bear Workshop®, this was the first time that our stuffed animals were brought to life in an animated feature film. This season, we welcome Holly and Hal back to TV, airing on the Hub TV Channel Tuesday, November 22 at 1pm EST and Sunday, November 27 at 9am EST.

“Holly and Hal Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure” is one of my favorite holiday stories because it tells the tale of an unlikely sibling pair who work together to save Christmas. Their journey is an inspirational reminder to always follow your dreams-no matter how big they may seem.

Holly Moose the level-headed inventor, always helping her younger brother on his latest adventure.

Much like Holly and Hal, I too dared to dream big and the result was Build-A-Bear Workshop. When I was growing up, my family told me I could be whatever I wanted to be- no matter what! That mentality stuck and I have always been a dreamer. Originally, that dream was to be a lawyer. I only took my first job in retailing to save up the money to go to law school. Of course, while at the May Department Stores Company I found my true calling. Several years later, when I left Corporate America, I still didn’t know what company I would create but I never stopped dreaming the dream supreme.

I am reminded of a quote I once saw though I could not find the name of the writer–it guides me today:
“If you can live your imagination, your life will be a dream come true.” My life is a dream come true!

Each of us are born with certain gifts that help us turn talents into passions and develop our own worth ethic. It starts by believing you can truly achieve whatever you set your mind to. Many people get so caught up in what they can’t do that they don’t know about how much they can accomplish. Focus on the positives. You alone are responsible for creating your own success, so don’t let outside forces limit your possibilities. I never put restrictions on my vision, nor did I let the way others made or sold stuffed animals stand in my way. Instead, I allowed myself to dream of this unique business going from one store at the Saint store at the Saint Louis Galleria to something that could be as huge as I thought it could be. My dream eventually came true, and yours can to – believe in yourself.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for all those people that inspired me to be all that I can be. As the holidays draw near, let Holly and Hal be your inspiration that anything you dream is possible. Be sure to catch “Holly and Hal Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure” on the Hub TV Channel to relive their exciting journey filled with friends and fun. You can also buy the DVD online at buildabear.com or at a local store that sells DVDs! I know I will be watching as this dynamic duo once again let their imaginations run wild to create the perfect Christmas adventure.

Heartfelt Holiday Hugs,
Maxine

P.S. A special thanks to Mrs. Adams, my inspiring high school journalism teacher who taught me the power of imagination and believing in yourself. Your determination and creativity is a very special part of Holly Moose!

THE BIG IDEA: THE BIG RETURN

November 8, 2011

November 7, 2011

Over the years, I have often written about young people who inspire me – especially those who are recognized as Build-A-Bear Workshop Huggable Heroes. Last week, I had the privilege of working alongside Talia Leman, one of our 2007 Huggable Heroes, and meeting hundreds of motivated, inspiring kids from across the St. Louis region who have that Huggable Hero sparkle in their eyes.

Thanks to a BIG idea from Talia, on November 3, Build-A-Bear Workshop hosted nearly 200 students and teachers from 34 area schools for The BIG Return Summit to discuss important community issues and brainstorm solutions. Each school walked away with a tangible project that will help tackle these issues head-on. And because the projects are led by young people, as Talia says, there will be a BIG Return. Talia was recognized as a Huggable Hero for starting RandomKid, an organization that empowers kids to solve real problems by joining other youth who have the drive to change the world. Through her work, Talia found that youth can turn charitable donations into a 200 – 1,000 percent return for a cause because of their determination and drive. She says that because young people don’t know what isn’t possible, they can think and act more creatively.

The BIG Return leverages the power of youth to make big changes in the world, and those big changes are happening right here in St. Louis. Talia has brought together St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and other community leaders to challenge the community to support these efforts – and guess what? Change is happening.

It’s this type of “sky is the limit” thinking for social change that motivates me and inspires me to run Build-A-Bear Workshop in the manner we do. It’s always been part of our mantra to give back to the communities where we live, work and play and we love helping energize young people to do the same, and to become venture capitalist for social good.

Last Thursday was an important day for Build-A-Bear Workshop, Talia, the participating kids and the St. Louis community. My hope is that this idea of The BIG Return turns into an even BIGGER project – not just for St. Louis – but for the entire nation. Build-A-Bear Workshop hosted the first-ever BIG Return Summit in St. Louis – where will it go next? Chicago? Dallas? Los Angeles? What other cities will step up to the plate and rise to the challenge? I know the energy is there because I saw it from the youth, and it’s contagious.

And who knows? Maybe one of those kids sitting in that very room with us last Thursday will be in the next class of Huggable Heroes. Stay tuned as Huggable Hero nominations for 2012 begin in January.

Kids have the answers to the world’s problems, if we listen! I look forward to hearing about the projects these kids undertake and the differences they make in our community and the world! I know our St. Louis youth will become role models for other youth across America as they carry out the mission of The BIG Return.

Hugs,
Maxine Clark
Chief Executive Bear


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