( ) is an
that sells customizable teddy bears
and other stuffed animals
. It is the largest
create-your-own animal service, with the other companies in the
business consisting of regional and/or locally-owned operations.
The company's motto is "Where Best Friends Are Made". The company is
headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri.
company was founded by Maxine Clark in 1997, and opened its first
store in the Saint Louis
Galleria. Ten years later, over 400 stores operate
worldwide: in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, South Korea, The
Netherlands, Norway, the
Ireland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States (including Puerto
While the majority of Build-A-Bear stores are in
, as of August, 2008,
the company has opened five stores in Major League Baseball
To celebrate the release of the 2006 film Happy Feet
, plush toys featuring Mumble, the
main character of the film, were created and sold. The toys could
be fitted with a sound box that said four lines from the
For each plush animal from the WWF Collecti-bear Series sold, $1
) goes to the WWF to
protect and conserve wildlife around the world. On March 7
, 2006, Build-A-Bear Workshop announced that
it had so far given $1 million (USD
) to the World Wildlife Fund
(WWF) through the
sale of their stuffed bears and other animals.
On May 10
, 2006, Build-A-Bear Workshop
announced that a line of toys based on its store would be included
in Happy Meals
restaurants. It became the first plush
toy collection included with the Happy Meal to feature removable
mix-and-match clothing. Sixteen bears were created. They were
released during the four weeks between May 12
and June 8
. Each of the bears were released
in one of two outfits, unique to each bear, making 32 toys in all.
McDonald's ran a second Build-A-Bear Workshop Happy Meal in August,
2007 and the third in October 2009.
the company acquired The Bear
Factory in the United Kingdom from Hamleys.
Build-A-Bear Workshop celebrated its 10th anniversary by declaring
2007 "The Year of Friendship". It launched its website Build-A-Bearville
and announced that it had sold over
50 million stuffed animals in the last ten years. As part of its
tenth birthday celebration, the company built 11 playgrounds
throughout the USA and Canada in partnership with KaBlam! and
announced that it had donated over $11 million to various child and
family causes since 1997. A new set of Beary Limited Edition
Collectibears called the "Friends Fur All Seasons" arrived to help
celebrate the event. Each bear included a Collectibear Pin.
For the children's author Dr. Seuss
birthday, Build-A-Bear Workshop released a toy The Cat in the Hat
. For the premiere of
the film Shrek the Third
Build-A-Bear Workshop featured a make-your-own Shrek as well as
Shrek-themed outfits and limited-edition Shrek babies. For the
premiere of the film Surf's Up
Build-A-Bear Workshop featured a Cody
The Game Factory
signed a deal with
Build-A-Bear Workshop to make a Build-A-Bear Workshop video
for the Nintendo DS
for release at Christmas 2007.
Each May, there is a weekend known as "Stuffed For Hugs Weekend."
Guests at Build-a-Bear are given the opportunity to stuff a
pre-selected animal for charity. The entire process is free and
also very popular. Some people even dress up the donated animal
before sending it to charity. There is also a similar weekend that
occurs in late October known as "The Spirit of Giving". In 2008,
guests were able to make a stuffed ghost to donate to charity.
There are also purple hearts that can be substituted for red ones
when stuffing an animal. They cost $1 (US), and go to a different
charity each month.
Other Build-A-Bear Workshop brands
In late 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 and
chat in a safe community. Since October 2007 each product has had a
unique code which can be used on the site to customize the
experience for each user.
As a new promotion for Build-A-Bearville, if any newly launched
animal is purchased and brought to life online, the user receives
extra online rewards such as Bear Bills, extra room and wallpaper
for their Cub Condo house, and an animal adventure with an
Make Your Own Mascot
Own Mascot" stores are trade at Citizens Bank Park
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
Friends 2B Made
2B Made is an interactive store that allows customers to make
dolls and purchase related accessories. Build-a-Bear has announced,
however, that they will be closing all nine of their Friends 2B
Made stores by Fall of 2009.
Build-A-Bear at the Zoo
"Build-A-Bear at the Zoo" can be found at the St. Louis Zoo. 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
Basic Brown Bear Factory lawsuit
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
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
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
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.
put Build-A-Bear Workshop third in its table of the Best Place to
Work for teenagers