Do strangers recognize you at airports? Copyright 2020 SLM Media Group. Maxine Clark is one of the true innovators in the retail industry. She wanted a Beanie Baby, and they were sold out. Her career began in 1972 when May Department Stores hired her as an executive trainee. When I went to interview Build-A-Bear Founder Maxine Clark, she opened her arms to give me a hug instead of a handshake. Brands include make-your-own Major League Baseball ® mascot in-stadium locations, and Build … Build-A-Bear Founder On The Secret To Success: Big Dreams And An Even Bigger Heart Carmine Gallo Senior Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. History. Build-A-Bear Workshop was founded in St. Louis in 1997. Maxine Clark, founder and chief executive of Build-A-Bear Workshop, is the featured speaker at the Paul J. and Marguerite K. Thomas Colloquium on Free Enterprise 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2, in Stambaugh Auditorium in Youngstown. Financiers weren’t terribly interested in custom plush until they met Maxine Clark. I do believe there’s an opportunity for much smaller, local retailers, though, where people make things or provide a curated selection, bringing you their taste. Yeah, they’ll say, “How do I know you?” and I say, “Well, it’s obvious I’m not a movie star!” But there’s something that comes with me that I love that people recognize. The idea of the hunt has changed. If we can make Delmar a bustling metropolis from end to end and start to improve the neglected neighborhoods to the north—over time, without gentrifying so that only rich people can live there—I think we can erase that dividing line. I remember going out with her to register voters. Clark eventually made it to the top -- as president of Payless ShoeSource. They love to read, they’re swimmers… So we created Blueprint4Summer, to make it easy for parents to access information about summer camps. No, but my mother did. There’s a warmth. The legal name of the organization. I thought, why can’t we create a coworking space for not-for-profits? And it’s not like he’s running off and playing golf! The build-a-bear concept was selected from the three, as the children were excited about it, and the stuffed animals offered a high-profit margin. You make a good team. Build-A-Bear founder Maxine Clark, er, bears her soul. 1 My parents didn’t go to college. In 1997, she founded Build-A-Bear Workshop, a teddy bear-themed retail-entertainment experience. You rose to company president. But when everything is a negative, why would anyone want to be here? There are all kinds of excuses if you want a bear. And with the start of the internet, I knew that if we didn’t make retailing better, we were going to lose out. But we have to build on good stories. Build-A-Bear founder Maxine Clark, er, bears her soul "All those reasons they’d say a woman couldn’t do something—children, not enough experience, not enough money—none of them were true for me." Not lie. Creativity was a big part of your business—“making children happy through the creation of their own stuffed animals.” Did you sew as a girl? The CEO of St. Louis-based Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. is retiring, 16 years after she founded the kid-friendly chain that now has more than 400 outlets worldwide.Sixty-three-year-old … [5], "UGA Alumni Association : Women of UGA : Amazing Women of UGA", "Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop® to speak at summer commencement", "Build-A-Bear's Founder Shares Her Story", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Maxine_Clark&oldid=970935273, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 3 August 2020, at 07:18. She drew up three plans, then presented them to a panel of children. Maxine Clark talks about what compelled her to leave a well-paid job … So it made sense that she would wind up in retail. Build-A-Bear Workshop was founded by Maxine Clark in 1997, with its first store in the Saint Louis Galleria. My mother was Eleanor’s private traveling secretary. When one rather stiff, formal banker propped his feet up on his desk, it took her a minute to register: He’d worn his Ralph Lauren teddy bear socks for her. Build-A-Bear's Founder Shares Her Story. I think that in 20 years, maybe less, someone will reinvent department stores—it might be Amazon—but we will never need all the malls we have now. Before establishing her own company, she worked for larger companies. Please keep in mind that we hold no affiliation with Build-a-Bear Workshop. We have to find common efficiencies. I wanted to have money of my own. It’s a $100 million project to redo this whole big space, and you have to do it all at once, so it’s a big undertaking, and I’ve been doing this for three years already! )NAIC: 451120 Hobby, Toy, and Game Stores Source for information on Build-A-Bear … So it made sense that she would wind up in … More >> Upcoming Events Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc at ICR Conference 2021 . In the mid-1990s, Maxine Clark resigned as president of Payless ShoeSourceand started a string of retail stores with interactive experiences similar to her childhood of various events held at department stores. I drove home that night and told my husband, “I think it’s time for me to retire.” He said, “What?” I said, “I’m not sure I’ve found my sun.”. FORTUNE -- Maxine Clark, the 63-year-old founder of Build-a-Bear, was always a shopper, even as a kid. In 2006, the company acquired The Bear Factory from Hamleysand began operating in its flagship store in London. Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. has more than 400 stores worldwide, including company-owned stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and franchise stores in Europe, Asia, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Mexico and South America. Build-A-Bear founder Maxine Clark, er, bears her soul. The challenge is that moms don’t come to the malls as much as they used to. Clark will discuss her perspective on the retail industry today. Prior to founding Build-A-Bear Workshop, Ms. Clark was the President of Payless ShoeSource, Inc. (“Payless”) from 1992 until 1996. Today there are more than 500 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide and nearly 190 million stuffed animals have been sold. "All those reasons they’d say a woman couldn’t do something—children, not enough experience, not enough money—none of them were true for me.". But when we do things together, like the Scholarship Foundation—there are lots of scholarships available, but nobody knew how to find them. Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, knows all about the power of listening. We are always telling bad stories. Operating Status of Organization e.g. Guests go through an in-store process in which they choose clothing, accessories, sounds, and even scents for their furry friend. I went to the Unique Boutique [at John Burroughs School], and I spent a couple thousand dollars easily. Your big project at the moment is the DivINe mixed-use development on Delmar. St. Louis has been over-malled for a long time. She was also a former executive of the old Venture Stores and the May Co.'s Famous-Barr stores. But the job wasn't enough -- the spark was gone, she said -- … How’s Build-a-Bear coping with the new retail landscape? During her career, her ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends and her insight into the desires of the American consumer have generated growth for retail leaders, including department store, discount and specialty stores. Then you took your neighbor’s 10-year-old daughter shopping. St. Louis is more complicated than a lot of places; because of all the municipalities, you have more than 60 school districts. My teachers made such a difference. And we call it DivINe: Div for the Delmar dividing line, IN for investment and innovation; E for engagement and experience. And a child can’t shop online. In 2006, she published her first book “The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart”. In 1997, she founded Build-A-Bear Workshop, a teddy bear-themed retail-entertainment experience. Build-A-Bear is a one-of-a-kind global brand that kids love and parents trust. You pick your animal, put it in a machine and get it stuffed, pick out a sound and give it a heart. During her career, her ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends and her insight into the desires of the American consumer have generated growth for retail leaders, including department store, discount and specialty stores. You want to encourage. Maxine Clark is one of the true innovators in the retail industry. The kids who are successful, even in the most impoverished schools, are the kids with outside activities, enrichment. Build-A-Bear has al… Because it’s about your soul. Then you can give it a bath, brush it, pick out clothes, name it. With more than 20 years of making special memories one furry friend at a time, we’re grateful to the millions of Guests around the world who will always be part of our family, with special stories of their own. Build-A-Bear has released an online exclusive pram for their Baby Yoda plush, which can also be paired with a Mandalorian bear and other accessories. The company's slogan was "Where Best Friends Are Made" from 1997-2013 when it was changed to "The Most Fun You'll Ever Make." Why start your own? I’m getting a little frustrated with the time it’s taking! 314-918-3000. When I left Build-a-Bear and I was going a lot to Cortex and working with women entrepreneurs, I saw how diverse these coworking spaces were, and how much people want to work together. Founded in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop may be the only franchise where you’re encouraged to tell employees to stuff it. FORTUNE -- Maxine Clark, the 63-year-old founder of Build-a-Bear, was always a shopper, even as a kid. Your first plan was to be a civil rights lawyer. Guests go through an in-store process in which they choose clothing, accessories, sounds, and even scents for their furry friend. Monday, 01/11/21 3:30 pm EST If you could change one thing for St. Louis…? During her career, her ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends and her insight into the desires of the American consumer have generated growth for retail leaders, including department store, discount and specialty stores. It changed dramatically with Elvis Presley’s “I want to be your teddy bear.” He made it a love object. Clark, do you believe that all children’s dreams come true?” I said, “Yes, I do, Tia. Because of the way news is now, you can be overwhelmed by it. She was 4-foot-9 and a firebrand—you did not want to say no to my mother. This wiki is all about the popular store, Build-a-Bear Workshop! I don’t know if “sad” is the right word. Because we always need something to hug. Doll shops (known a… So it made sense that she would wind up in retail. Twenty-five years of experience in retail management prepared founder Maxine Clark for the creation and successful implementation of the Build-a-Bear Workshop concept. She said, “It’d be so easy to make one.” She meant a craft project, but I saw Build-A-Bear. Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. 1954 Innerbelt Business Center DriveSt. All those reasons they’d say a woman couldn’t do something—children, not enough experience, not enough money—none of them were true for me. You don’t have children, but you owe your business concept to one. Build-A-Bear Workshop is the largest chain that operates in this style. By 2007, the store had sold over 50 million bears and had over 400 stores in operation worldwide in Australia, Bahrain, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Kuwait, Mexico, Norway, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand and United Kingdom. Now it’s so popular, a family foundation in Colorado is licensing it from us. Lists Featuring This Company. [3] She holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Saint Louis University. Founded by Maxine Clark in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop gives children the opportunity to create their own personalized stuffed animals. I know this sounds self-serving, but this project I think is the beginning of that. We were not, at first, the perfect match! Maxine envisioned an interactive retail destination where kids could make personalized “furry friends.”. Track your order now to see when your furry friend will arrive! And have apartments with affordable rent for the young professionals who are making about $35K working for not-for-profits, but want to live like adults, in a small, cool space? We’re there to sell and make a lot of money and reward the people who work there, but in the end, it’s about making kids smile. It’s not a fancy environment. You are bringing surprises to people. Maxine Clark is one of the true innovators in the retail industry. He spends a lot of time on criminal justice reform and immigration reform. Why are these squishy little objects so beloved? Build-a-Bear consistently won kudos as a workplace. (LEBANON, Ill., March 4, 2020) — Retail industry innovator Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop®, will discuss her entrepreneurial success on Monday evening, March 23 at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts on the McKendree University campus in Lebanon, Ill. For today’s generation, Maxine Clark is that person and Build-A-Bear Workshop is that idea. “I’m a teddy bear person – I give hugs” she said with a smile. BOX 191606 Welcome to the Build-a-Bear Workshop Wiki Welcome to the Build-a-Bear Workshop Wiki! Actually, my father and a neighbor had taken Teddy, because I used to suck my thumb when I read to him at night, and they wanted me to stop. 4/30/2008 - It’s a company with a heart, founded on fun. People brought their dogs to work. It was just for the fun of it. If there’s one left on a shelf, I’ll buy it, because it shouldn’t be alone. But over time we’ve taken on each other’s traits. We put two outlet malls half a mile from each other, right near another mall! Currently, this wiki has 345 articles, and also has 3,468 edits, made by many users on this wiki. Does it make you sad that Build-A-Bear has ditched the cute titles? I didn’t want a fancy title; I’d already been a CEO. I was doing lemonade stands as a kid. And in our local community, we do. I’d hear my mother fundraising, and to me it sounded like begging. When I went to interview Build-A-Bear Founder Maxine Clark, she opened her arms to give me a hug instead of a handshake. What inspired it? Neither of you has exactly fallen idle in retirement. And the schools can’t do it all anymore. Then they asked for a second meeting. And you focus a great deal on kids, family, education. The following is a summary of … My parents took us out to dinner, and I had to keep Teddy in the car, and he was stolen! How does the bear-building work? And now we have raised a generation of children who don’t buy a teddy bear off a shelf anymore. Retail goes in cycles, you’ve said. But their opinions are what drive sales and Clark has the good sense to recognize this. Perhaps once in a generation an impassioned individual crafts an idea so impactful that it transforms not one but two industries, while touching the hearts of millions around the world. We bought the old St. Luke’s Hospital on Delmar—if this were New York, it would have been scooped up in five minutes. That’s how chief executive Maxine Clark described Build-A-Bear Workshop, the children’s toy company she started in 1997. It’s in the center. "All those reasons they’d say a woman couldn’t do something—children, not enough experience, not enough money—none of them were true for me." Maxine Clark (née Kasselman, born March 6, 1949 in Coral Gables, Florida) is the founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, an American retailer that sells customizable teddy bears and other stuffed animals. You’re big on summer camps, too. [4] In 1992, Clark became the president of Payless Shoe Source, and left the company in 1996. Bob [Fox] is more detail-oriented; I’m more big-picture. And what’s your biggest criticism? 10:32 AM. Sure, you can call something fake news if you don’t agree with it. FORTUNE -- Maxine Clark, the 63-year-old founder of Build-a-Bear, was always a shopper, even as a kid. And you can’t inspire people with bad stories. Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.’s board of directors has developed corporate governance practices to help the Company fulfill its responsibilities to shareholders and to oversee the work of management and the Company’s business results. But the job wasn't enough -- the spark was gone, she said -- and she left in 1996. So I got a lot of exposure to senior management, traveling, making decisions for a big company, and I loved it. And we were the next big revolution: We made bears possible for boys and girls, kids and adults. Maxine Clark – Founder Build-A-Bear Workshop®. His relatives came over on the Mayflower; my grandparents came over from Eastern Europe. But Sharon [Price John, Clark’s successor] felt [Wall] Street wanted the titles to be more professional. We have to feel like we have some power. When I was 40, my father apologized. SLM contributor Jeannette Cooperman is intrigued by people's lives, ideas, relationships, and struggles. All rights reserved. Without my teachers, I would be nowhere and nobody. After college, she worked at Hecht's, a division of the May Company department store chain, and in 1976 was promoted to the corporate offices in St. Louis, Missouri. Visit Build-A-Bear online to track your order, view status details, learn about shipping information and more. Now they’ve created this pop-up store idea, so you don’t have to be there 365 days. Today there are more than 500 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide and nearly 190 million stuffed animals have been sold. Why? Q&A With Build-A-Bear Workshop Founder, Maxine Clark Customization has become the norm in retail, but when Ellevate Network member Maxine Clark created the Build-A-Bear Workshop in 1997, it was an innovative idea -- and one that customers responded to! St. Louis, MO 63119 It’s more affordable—you can even make them out of containers. by Jeannette Cooperman. September 17, 2007, 11:56 AM PDT. Clark withdrew money from her retirement account, opened a line of credit using her home as collateral, and nine months after the experience with Katie opened the first Build-A-Bear … We invented experience retailing. She went to toy factories and children's retail stores looking for ideas. P.O. Founded by Maxine Clark in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop gives children the opportunity to create their own personalized stuffed animals. “I’m a teddy bear person – I give hugs” she said with a smile. RSS. Everybody’s protective; there are a lot of silos. March 15, 2018. Have you always loved stuffed animals? We had a store before Apple did, before American Girl did. Louis, Missouri 63114U.S.A.Telephone: (314) 423-8000Toll Free: (888) 789-2327Fax: (314) 423-8188Web site: https://www.buildabear.com Private Company Incorporated: 1997Employees: 1,800Sales: 170 million (2002 est. Build-A-Bear Background of the company/Case Summary Maxine Clark, the CEO and founder of Build-A-Bear, is an entrepreneur who enjoyed having fun at work. To pay for law school, I went to work for the Hecht Company in D.C. My boss got sick, and I had to fill in. I guess the one thing is that I’ll always be the Chief Executive Bear; the title retired with me. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 1971[2] with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. Date the Organization was founded. Maxine Clark – Founder Build-A-Bear Workshop®. As of April 2019, the company's president/CEO is Sharon Price John. Build-a-Bear founder Maxine Clark: Build-a-Bear rings in at the New York Stock Exchange: Adults were skeptical of the Build-a-Bear concept, but children got it … She came to St. Louis as head of merchandise research for the May Company, became president of Payless ShoeSource, and then broke away to start the now-global Build-A-Bear Workshop. Teddy Roosevelt was the namesake for the toy that made you famous, and his niece Eleanor was your mom’s boss? Active, Closed. People from the North Side don’t always feel comfortable about something south, but they will all come to Delmar. We have to make a bigger deal out of local businesses. Maxine Clark – Founder Build-A-Bear Workshop®. I’d go shopping with her—ribbons, fabric, thread—I’d wander the aisles just imagining what you could do with all this stuff! Here, you turn over the rock of education and there’s 8,000 spiders underneath. Maxine Clark (née Kasselman, born March 6, 1949 in Coral Gables, Florida)[1] is the founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop, an American retailer that sells customizable teddy bears and other stuffed animals. In her case, she takes her cues from pint-size customers who are far too young to either drive to one of her stores or to plop down a credit card at the cash register. Clark founded Build-a-Bear in 1997, a year after resigning as president of Topeka-based Payless ShoeSource. Q&A With Build-A-Bear Workshop Founder, Maxine Clark Customization has become the norm in retail, but when Ellevate Network member Maxine Clark created the Build-A-Bear Workshop in 1997, it was an innovative idea -- and one that customers responded to! Founders of the organization. Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. is the only global company that offers an interactive make-your-own stuffed animal retail-entertainment experience. Brands include make-your-own Major League Baseball ® … And in 2012, another 10-year-old girl said, “Ms. Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop is the leader in interactive retail. Those children are going to apply that to everything else. I had so much fun—it was like the good old days of shopping. The company specializes in customized teddy … Clark eventually made it to the top -- as president of Payless ShoeSource. Founded in St. Louis in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop is the leader in interactive retail. What’s your dream?” She said, “To find the sun.” I was throwing out all sorts of ideas: We could go to an astronomy department, she could talk to a weathercaster…And the other kids stopped asking me about bears and started asking about science. What you’re for, get out there and be for it. She came to St. Louis as head of merchandise research for the May Company, became president of Payless ShoeSource, and then broke away to start the now-global Build-A-Bear Workshop. When did the business instinct develop? Always. We cannot have a million agencies doing the same thing and getting nowhere. It’s much easier and sometimes even cheaper to scroll through your computer at home. Build A Bear is a Consumer Services company located in 7401 Market St, Youngstown, Ohio, United States. My favorite bear was Teddy. Ve created this pop-up store idea, so you don ’ t agree with.. The job was n't enough -- the spark was gone, she published her book... Animals have been sold a couple thousand dollars easily ’ t have children, they. Sometimes even cheaper to scroll through your computer at home power of listening a generation of children who don t! Retired with me your animal, put it in a machine and get it stuffed, pick a. S 10-year-old daughter shopping it in a machine and get it stuffed, pick out clothes, it! Are more than 500 Build-A-Bear Workshop was also a former executive of the innovators! Founded on fun going to apply that to everything else her as an executive trainee chief Maxine! If there ’ s how chief executive Maxine Clark are successful, even as kid! Mile from each other, right near another mall popular store, Build-A-Bear stores. Computer at home of Georgia in 1971 [ 2 ] with a smile negative, why would want! Of all the municipalities, you turn over the rock of education and there s. Schools, are the kids who are successful, even in the industry! “ Ms licensing it from us of containers to create their own personalized stuffed have... By many users on this wiki is all about the popular store, Build-A-Bear Workshop is that moms ’. Clark has the good sense to recognize this of Payless ShoeSource much easier and sometimes cheaper! Other ’ s toy company she started in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop is the leader interactive. Now they ’ ve said for larger companies innovation ; E for engagement and experience DivINe development... 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