Named one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For for five consecutive years, Build-A-Bear Workshop is a teddy bear themed retail and entertainment experience founded by Maxine Clark in 1997. At more than 400 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores around the world, kids (and adults) help make their own stuffed animal, from choosing a style to stuffing and stitching to dressing up their furry friend. All Build-A-Bear Workshop animals come with a personalized birth certificate and are registered in the company’s tracking system, making them easier to find in case they get lost.
A retail industry veteran, Clark got the idea for Build-A-Bear Workshop after her then-10-year-old friend Katie couldn’t find the stuffed toy she wanted. Clark initially wanted to buy an existing business, but when no one wanted to sell, she started Build-A-Bear Workshop with a mission to reinvent mall-based stuffed animal retailing. Since opening its first store in St. Louis, Missouri, Build-A-Bear Workshop has become a global success, with outlets in the America, Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, and the Middle East.