How to 'Build A Bear' And Help a Cause
About 16 years ago, a woman by the name of Maxine Clark was out shopping for stuffed animals with a ten-year-old girl when the little girl announced that it would be easier to make her own stuffed animals. Thus, Build-A-Bear was born. By 1997, Clark had founded the popular retail store and a decade later, had sold over 50 million bears and launched over 400 stores worldwide.
Build-A-Bear Helps with Charities and Organizations
Build-A-Bear has always been deeply involved in charities and community organizations, having donated over 30 million dollars to date. “Stuffed With Hugs” is Build-A-Bear's charitable program and is partnered with children's hospitals, adoption agencies, firefighters and police officers, UNICEF, Ronald McDonald House and many other organizations. Over 325,000 bears have been made and donated to children in these organizations in need of a friend.
Build-A-Bear Workshop's “Huggable Heroes” program was launched in 2004 and is used to recognize and honor children and young adults who have helped make a difference in their communities. Throughout the year, people can nominate a candidate for this award who is helping out in their school, neighborhood, or community and winners will be featured in the Build-A-Bear Workshop Huggable Heroes calendar. They will also receive an educational scholarship as well as a donation to their cause.
Creating Your New Friend
Children and adults of all ages have found so much joy in creating their very own stuffed animal friend. Upon walking into a Build-A-Bear, guests are greeted by super friendly employees and assisted throughout the eight stations as they create their new best friend.
- Choose Me: Guests start out by selecting which stuffed animal they would like to have. They can choose between a bear, cat, dog, rabbit, or many others! (More animals are available to purchase online and may not be available at the store.)
- Hear Me: This station allows guests to select a “sound button” for their friend which will be placed inside the paw. The sounds range from animal noises, songs, or guests can even record their own message!
- Stuff Me: Kids always enjoy this station which includes a giant machine with spinning fluff for stuffing their friend. A Build-A-Bear employee asks the guest to pick a soft heart for their bear and then the guest must get the heart ready. They rub the heart on their head so their new friend will be smart, kiss the heart so their friend will be lovable, rub the heart on their funny bone for a good sense of humor, etc. The guest then makes a wish and puts the heart in the bear. Then they step on a pedal to start the machine and fill their friend with stuffing. There will be hug tests to make sure their new friend is perfectly stuffed.
- Stitch Me: After inserting a bar code that will help your friend be returned to you should it get lost, an employee helps to stitch up your newly stuffed friend.
- Fluff Me: The Fluff Me station allows guests to brush and fluff up their new friend.
- Dress Me: So many clothes!!!! Guests pick out the perfect outfit(s) for their new friend in this station and there are many to choose from. Shirts, shorts, dresses, skirts, underwear, shoes, bows, bathrobes, pajamas, costumes, even licensed sports uniforms from NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, etc.
(Extra outfits/accessories are available to order online and not all are available in the stores.)
- Name Me: Guests can create a personalized birth certificate at the Name Me Computer and their friend will be registered in the Find-A-Bear ID Tracking System that will be linked to the bar code in their friend.
- Take Me Home: Here guests receive their “Cub Condo” (cardboard carrying case) for their friend and take them home!
For those who don't live close to a Build-A-Bear Workshop, stuffed animals, outfits, toys, etc. can be ordered online as well.
Costumes that may not be available in stores
Virtual World Experience
After guests have finished creating their newest friend, they can log in at Bearville.com and bring them to life using the code found on their birth certificate!
Bearville.com is a fun and safe online world for children to explore and membership is always free! There is a great blog to read, videos to watch and fun games to play.
Build-A-Bear Workshop is always expanding and keeping up with demand. Their bear selection and clothing options change with the seasons. They have even released video games and Build-A-Bear kits. So whether you're 3 or 103, you are always guaranteed a great time when you visit your nearest Build-A-Bear Workshop and it's never too late to make a new friend. :-)