Posts Tagged ‘2013’


December 31, 2012

The new year is always a time for looking forward. A time for introspection. What will the new year bring? What did we learn in the year just ended? What do we hope for ourselves and the world we live in? How do we meld our work with our personal values, keep life in perspective and build a legacy for the future?

In 2012 Build-A-Bear Workshop celebrated our 15th birthday–well over 100 million stuffed animals sold and $4 billion in revenues since our first store opened in St. Louis, MO in the Fall of 1997. Hard to believe when you think the idea was born on a shopping trip in a local toy store when a 10 year old girl–said, “we can make these!” Boy was Katie right. 400+ stores worldwide have proven that a hug is understood in any language and to me that is the most important lesson.

What would the world be like if teddy bears were in charge? Would our congress and our senators (imagine teddy bears of all sizes, shapes and colors) be struggling to reach a compromise for the sake of the country? I think not–they would listen to each other and agree to a mutual understanding and then hug. That is what we need right now. Howard Schultz CEO of Starbucks asks us all to “Come Together” and has even created a conversation on Twitter at #cometogether. I AGREE!! What kind of company would Starbucks or Build-A-Bear Workshop be if its leaders and store teams could not agree on the products or the service they offered? Would we even be a brand that people loved if our associates didn’t support the companies’ goals and “come together” to reach our objectives? No way. That is what makes great companies and enduring brands — leaders have a vision that the teams can support and in fact make even larger by working together, by as Howard says, coming together. At Build-A-Bear Workshop we call it our magic formula : 1+1=10! It is about colla-BEAR-ation, teamwork at it’s highest, for the benefit of all stakeholders.

This year at Build-A-Bear Workshop we launched our newly imagined store design. While Build-A-Bear introduces new products every few weeks, we hadn’t really changed our store design markedly in 15 years. It was time! 10 year old kids today have all kinds of technology that they engage with that wasn’t even available 5 years ago, let alone 15 years ago. How could we use their love of technology and game play and combine it with their love of stuffed animals and the heart that makes our furry friends so extra special? Two years in the making, our newest store design is an example of the highest level of colla-BEAR-ation. From our team of Cub Advisors (our kid experts), their Moms, our store and IT design teams inside and outside the company we created a store with more stuff, more fluff and much more heart. These 6 initial stores have lived up to every expectation and exceeded many. We are already working on our expansion plans in 2013 with our landlords, who as our partners, have also been part of the colla-BEAR-ation team.

I am looking forward to 2013. Build-A-Bear Workshop has exceeded my wildest expectations. It is capable of many more years even better than the last 15. Like every year it will have its changes and challenges–that is part of growth and building a brand for generations to hug. At Build-A-Bear Workshop we like to say it takes a village to raise a bear and we are very thankful to have such a big village–our Guests and our Associates always willing to “Come Together” for a common purpose–to bring smiles to kids 3-103 everyday.

A BEARY happy and healthy new year to all.