Chief Bear Maxine Clark celebrates 15 years of Build-A-Bear and admits she never did find her Teddy
Build-A-Bear, the much-loved children’s store for custom-made bears, has just celebrated its 15th birthday and the creation of its 100 millionth bear. That’s a lot of bears, right? Turns out, one little lost bear (Teddy, to his friends), kicked off the whole thing. Founder and Chief Bear Maxine Clark normally carries out her beary business from her US HQ, but, this week, visited Hamleys store in London to award limited edition bears to children’s charity Tommy’s. Spilling the beans on how Build-A-Bear was born, Maxine says, “I lost ‘Teddy’, my own stuffed bear, back when I was 10-years-old. I have been looking for Teddy ever since, though now I feel like I’ve found him a million times over through the happiness we’ve brought to so many others through this company.” Frustration with the bears she could buy as a child also contributed to what is now an internationally recognised brand. Maxine says, “The idea for Build-A-Bear Workshop came together for me during a shopping trip with my best friend Katie, who was 10-years-old at the time. ‘These are so simple. We could make these.’ She meant that we could buy some plush fabric and beans, go home, and stitch up some handmade stuffed animals as craft projects. But what I heard was something different – a big idea with huge potential.” While Maxine hopes families have the ‘funnest’ hour while in a store, she says it doesn’t matter how old you are. When it comes down to it, “everyone needs the hug of a teddy bear!” To celebrate friendship, Build-A-Bear is inviting Guests to share their own stories at buildabear.com/stories.
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