Build Up!

Margaux Hannewyk, Editor

It’s the season of love, and you know what one of the most popular gifts to give your significant other is?

Teddy bears.

And how can one think of teddy bears and not think about the wondrous establishment that is Build-a-Bear Workshop?

BAB has nearly 500 locations globally, and has provided over 200 million stuffed animals around the world. This year marks their 25th anniversary, and they’ve surely been celebrating. To commemorate this milestone, they’ve released many special teddies, including a collection of some…high end teddy bears encrusted with real Swarovski crystals. Dang.

In the mid-1990s, BAB’s founder, Maxine Clark, resigned as president of Payless ShoeSource and attempted to cook up a retail concept that would create an interactive experience similar to the kind she had at department stores during her childhood. She went to toy factories and children’s retail stores looking for ideas. She drew up three plans, then presented them to a test audience of children. The build-a-bear concept was selected from the three, as it gave the most excited reaction from the kidst, and the stuffed animals offered a high-profit margin. After all, there are few objects that kids can get more attached to than stuffed animals.

While the original target demographic for this content was children, people from all ages clearly enjoy this brand as well, and for good reason.

Studies have shown that stuffed animals can positively impact mental health. They can ease anxiety, loneliness, and can provide a sense of security. They might help you sleep better!

The closest Build-A-Bear in the area is the one at University Park Mall in Mishawaka, and boy have me and my friends made a handful of trips to it!

Build-a-Bear’s stuffies are notable because of their uniqueness and quality. Making one provides a special experience that you can’t quite get with any other stuffed animal. Whether they’re a gift, just for yourself, made years ago, or a week ago, they can be packed with all sorts of good memories!