|Type||Public (NYSE: BBW)|
|Headquarters||St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.|
|Key people||Maxine Clark (founder)
Victoria Justice (spokesperson)
|Revenue||USD474.4 million (2007)|
Build-A-Bear Workshop (NYSE: BBW) is an American retailer headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri that sells teddy bears and other stuffed animals. Customers go through an interactive process in which the stuffed animal of their choice is assembled and customized during their visit to the store, and is the largest chain that operates in this style. The company has been acclaimed for the quality of its working environment, especially as a workplace for teenagers.
The company’s motto is “Where Best Friends Are Made”.
Build-A-Bear Workshop was founded by Maxine Clark in 1997, with its first store in the Saint Louis Galleria. By 2007, the store had sold over 50 million bears and had over 400 stores in operation worldwide in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, the Republic of Ireland, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States, including Puerto Rico. While the majority of Build-A-Bear stores are in shopping malls, by 2008 the company had opened five stores in Major League Baseball stadiums.
In 2006, the company acquired The Bear Factory from Hamleys and began operating in its flagship store in London.
Build-A-Bear has also engaged in various charities, including the WWF Collecti-bear series which has given over $1 million (USD) to the World Wildlife Fund. As part of its tenth birthday celebration, the company built 11 playgrounds throughout the USA and Canada in partnership with KaBOOM! and announced that it had donated over $11 million to various child and family causes since 1997. The store also hosts an event called “Stuffed For Hugs Weekend” in May, in which guests at Build-a-Bear are given the opportunity to stuff a pre-selected animal for charity. There is a similar weekend that occurs in late October known as “The Spirit of Giving” in which guests can make stuffed ghosts. A Build-A-Bear Workshop video game was developed by The Game Factory and released for the Nintendo DS platform for Christmas 2007.
Build-A-Bear has also created several tie-in stuffed animals for various promotional events, including a toy The Cat in the Hat, a toy Shrek, a toy Cody Maverick penguin from Surf’s Up, a toy Mumble from Happy Feet, a toy E.B. from Hop, both Alvin and Brittany from the Alvin and the Chipmunks (movie) series, a Jonas dog and a Wizards of Waverly Place bear. Build-A-Bear workshop has also released several lines of miniature toys included in Happy Meals at McDonald’s restaurants, running first in May 2006 followed by a second promotion in August 2007 and a third in October 2009. These were only available in McDonald’s in America.
In 2010, in honor of the Sanrio company’s 50th anniversary, Build-A-Bear released limited edition Sanrio characters, including Hello Kitty, Chococat, My Melody, and Keroppi. This even included the release of mini keychains of the four characters along with Deery Lou. In 2010, Build-A-Bear also started selling Zhu Zhu Pets, a line of electronic hamsters by Cepia LLC.
Starting in 2011, Build-A-Bear added Victoria Justice as their new spokesperson. In the mid-year, she began appearing in all Build-A-Bear Workshop commercials.
 Other brands
In late October 2007, Build-A-Bear Workshop opened their new online virtual world, Build-A-Bearville, developed in association with Frima Studio. It allows users to play games, explore an expanding world, and chat in a safe community. While codes are included with products bought at a Build-A-Bear Workshop and can be used to redeem in-game gifts, anyone, including non-owners of the brand’s toys, can create an account and play the full extent of the Build-a-Bearville game.
 Make Your Own Mascot
“Make Your Own Mascot” stores are trade at Progressive Field (Cleveland), Great American Ball Park (Cincinnati), AT&T Park (San Francisco), Nationals Park (Washington), and Busch Stadium (St. Louis) featuring the home team’s respective mascots, as well ones for Boston Red Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace store and Mr. Met, the mascot of the New York Mets, at their Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan, New York City. A location at Citizens Bank Park (Philadelphia) closed at the end of the 2010 season.
 Friends 2B Made
Friends 2B Made was an interactive store that allowed customers to make dolls and purchase related accessories launched by Build-A-Bear in 2005. The store was open briefly in nine locations before closing in 2009.
Build-A-Dino allows customers to create a stuffed dinosaur and purchase related accessories. The first location was located inside the T-Rex Cafe in Kansas City, in partnership with Landry’s Restaurants. The first stand-alone store was a temporary holiday location at Chesterfield Mall in Chesterfield, Missouri, which closed after the 2006 holidays to relocate to the St. Louis Science Center. There is also a Build-A-Dino inside a second T-Rex Cafe at Downtown Disney Walt Disney World, and located within the New York City and Myrtle Beach Build-A-Bear Workshop flagship stores.
 Build-A-Bear at the Zoo
“Build-A-Bear at the Zoo” can be found at the Saint Louis Zoological Park. This store features several types of zoo animals, many of which are endangered and some which are part of the WWF Collectibear series. For each collectibear purchased one dollar is donated to the WWF.
 Basic Brown Bear Factory lawsuit
In 1999, Eric and Merrilee Woods, the owners of Basic Brown Bear Factory of San Francisco, sued Build-A-Bear for misappropriating trade secrets, copyright infringement, unfair competition, and breach of confidence. It was settled out of court.
According to legal filings, Maxine Clark approached Basic Brown Bear Factory in 1996 to negotiate a buyout offer. Eric and Merrilee Woods were interested in selling the business to Clark to expand it nationally, with the agreement that the Woods would remain as officers. The Woods assert that Clark was exposed to the inner workings of the business and signed a confidentiality agreement. She then made an offer that the Woods rejected, resulting in Clark quickly departing to organize Build-A-Bear Workshop with their trade secrets.
Maxine Clark has stated “We have never claimed that we were the first to have make-your-own stuffed animal businesses in the United States”. Regardless, Maxine Clark appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in February 2004, claiming to have invented the Build-A-Bear Workshop with the help of a ten year-old- girl named Katie who thought that Beanie Babies were so hard to find but “were so easy that they could make them.” This Oprah appearance was rebroadcast in September 2004 and June 2005.
Though Build-A-Bear Workshop has since applied for or acquired many patents, copyrights, and trademarks related to the business of “create-your-own-animal”, controversy, contention, and litigation over the intellectual property abound.
Build-A-Bear Workshop (video game)
|Publisher(s)||The Game Factory|
|Release date(s)||November 5, 2007|
|Rating(s)||ESRB: E (Everyone)|
|Media/distribution||Nintendo DS Game Card|
Build-A-Bear Workshop is a simulation type Nintendo DS game based on the workshop with the same name. It was developed by French company Neko Entertainment and published by The Game Factory on November 5, 2007. A follow up to Build-a-Bear Workshop, Build-A-Bear Workshop: A Friend Fur All Seasons was released for the Wii in 2008, also Build-A-Bear Workshop: Welcome to Hugsville for the Nintendo DS and Build-A-Bear Workshop: Friendship Valley for the Wii in 2010.
Build-A-Bear Workshop players take advantage of the touch screen (the D-Pad and Microphone aren’t used often) to do activities and play with their bear. The player can choose one of six bears from Build-A-Bear Workshop and customize it with clothes, accessories and shoes.
When players start a new game, they go through the Build-A-Bear Workshop process, first is to choose a bear, then add a sound, stuff it perfectly, stitch it, fluff it, add starter clothing and give it a name. After the process is done, the player is then taken to the Cub Condo home. There are six rooms in the Cub Condo- a bedroom, a dressing room, a kitchen, the garden, the store and the attic. There are many different activities and mini games in each room which is the main objective of the game. The player earns ‘buttons’ when playing some certain minigames to purchase clothes and accessories for his/her bear. Throughout the year, there will be special clothes on holidays (such as Christmas and Halloween) which the bear could wear.
In the bedroom, the player can brush their bear’s hair and clean their bear’s teeth, then tidy up their room. In the dressing room the player can change the bears clothes into ones that they have purchased they can also take photos in the Photo Studio. In the kitchen the player can cook a variety of cakes for the bear to eat and set up their table. In the garden the player can teach their bear to perform some dance moves and play a ball shooting game on the swing. In the store the player can purchase clothing, accessories and shoes using ‘buttons’ and in the attic there are four mini games (Cooking, musical chairs, catching honey and dancing) which the player can earn buttons depending on their score.
The player can access mulitplayer mode via the attic. Each player is required to have a Build-A-Bear Workshop game card. In mulitplayer mode, the player can challenge friends on minigames and trade photos taken from the dressing room.
Build-A-Bear Workshop was crowned with the 2008 NAPPA Honors.