Archive for December, 2011


December 26, 2011

Although the holidays are a very busy time of year for everyone, I want to take a few moments to say THANK YOU for being part of our Build-A-Bear Workshop extended family and best wishes to each of you for a happy holiday and New Year.

When I started Build-A-Bear Workshop in 1997, now almost 15 years ago, I wanted to make the experience of creating a stuffed animal the most personal, interactive and memorable experience it could be by offering the highest quality products at the best possible value. I also wanted to find great people with great heart to work in our stores who loved children and who could bring out the imagination of each Guest, through the fun of making a stuffed animal. Just a week before Christmas we commemorated the selling of our 100 millionth stuffed animal. We are proud and honored that so many of our furry friends are being hugged as we speak all around the world!

Based on my passion for this idea, combined with the spirit, dedication, and integrity of the many thousands of associates in our company and our stores around the world, Build-A-Bear Workshop continues to this day to be a place that makes people smile. We know we have a great responsibility to each of you to provide this experience with products that are safe and fun. If any of our products don’t meet our standards we will act quickly and accordingly. You have my personal commitment to deliver on this promise.

As many of you know, Build-A-Bear Workshop is commemorating its 15th Birthday in 2012! We will have the ongoing store events, unique products and special programs you have come to expect from us and we are also planning some added excitement during our year-long celebration. Be on the lookout for more information to come as we share many happy occasions and memories with you in the coming year.

I am so lucky to have your special friendship throughout the year and I look forward to hearing from you often with your suggestions and ideas about how to make Build-A-Bear Workshop even better. You can always write to me at or post a comment or question on this blog. I will do my best to respond quickly 
Thank you all for taking the time to stay connected all year long.

Hugs to all, Happy Holidays and a beary Happy New Year,

Maxine Clark,
Founder and Chief Executive Bear


December 1, 2011

The invention of a lifetime!

My travels take me across the world to many great cities and when I visit our stores, to many great malls. To many people shopping is mundane and a nuisance. To me it is and always has been fun and enlightening. I have found some great ideas for our business looking at other businesses. From airlines to hotels and restaurants to museums and retailers–all of this is a great laboratory for us to see what the public likes and what we can adapt to our own bearstyle. I am especially a sucker for great packaging. Today was no exception.

My day was spent in Chicago–just an hour’s plane ride from St. Louis. The day was beautiful for travel and not too windy or cold. My ultimate reason for being in Chicago was a meeting with one of our landlords but on the way we got to stop at a mall in DT Chicago and then catch a quick bite of lunch before the meeting.

Between the mall and our meeting we spotted a Chick-Fil-A restaurant– the first and only one in DT Chicago. I am a pretty regular person and if the truth be known, Chick-Fil-A may be my all time favorite restaurant. I love the cow mascot almost s much as I love Bearemy. But most of all I love the great company that Chick-Fil-A creates. Their staff is happy and their food is very good for the price and they have many healthy choices for me to choose to go with my waffles fries 🙂

It was at the condiment center that I saw the most incredible idea–this new ketchup container. For years I have torn open the old ketchup pouch–maybe used 2-3 for one small order of fries. But not anymore–at least not at Chick-Fil-A. Enter the new Dip and Squeeze Heinz ketchup container. It’s even shaped like a ketchup bottle. You can open at the top to squeeze on your fries or sandwich or peel back to dip your fries into the container. In the same size container, you get 3x the ketchup, no messy fingers and you only use one. No mess and less packaging waste. BEAR-ILLIANT IDEA!! It was one of those moments that makes you say, “what a great idea” or ” why didn’t I think of that?” What this said to me above and beyond just the nice experience of clean fingers and less waste was someone was out there thinking and doing. Someone was as irritated as the rest of us but did something about it. Someone took an idea to reality.

This is the best of a creative mind at work–someone sees an everyday activity –eating at fast food restaurants and saw an opportunity to turn a nuisance into a pleasure. Not through high tech but through simple packaging. I am sure that engineering and design entered into it and someone at Heinz had to have the sense to see the business opportunity and back the product and Chick-Fil-A bought it. This is what makes ideas and what makes profits–a need or a void is filled by someone taking action–doing something rather than just lamenting about it.

I don’t know the inventor but I took an extra ketchup just to remind me to keep looking and listening. Ray Kroc didn’t invent hamburgers and Howard Schultz didn’t invent coffee—they just invented how to make both better and sell more! Everyday an idea is staring us in the face if we just live our lives with open eyes and SEE the opportunity and as we like to say at Build-A-bear: GO FUR IT!!

Thanks Heinz and Chick-Fil-A–you made my day!

Hugs and happy holidays,