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Who Wants to Make Stuffed Animals? Everyone at Build-a-Bear

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“Skeptics warned that the concept wouldn’t last… adults told me my idea wouldn’t work. ‘Who wants to make stuffed animals” (Nelson &Quick, p.118), states Maxine Clark; CEO of Build-A-Bear, as she recounts the lack of support she received when drafting her initial ideas for the now successful Build-A-Bear Workshop. Although, being told ‘no’ numerous times she still pursued her dreams which all evolved from a conversation with her ten-year old friend, Katie. Katie and Maxine were out looking for stuffed animals and Katie was unable to locate the stuffed animal she wanted. At that moment, the vision of creating a stuffed animal to match Katie’s desires was formed. Clark took the general idea and concept of a ‘stuffed animal’ and decided to involve customers in the process of making stuffed animals from beginning to end. Clark created an experience for customers, ranging from the ages of ten to sixty years old (Nelson &Quick, p.119), along with recreating memories to last a lifetime. As a matter of fact, Clark guarantees a memorable experience by strategically planning the entire process from start to finish. Even the employees working at the Build-A-Bear Workshops are strategically selected to assist in the building of memories.
Clark’s love for people and life, fun and her determination to succeed illustrate that she is most closely characterized by the ESFP type according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI); an instrument that can be used to determine ones personality type. This type according to MBTI (Nelson &Quick, p.98) is “outgoing, friendly, and accepting…Lover of life, people and material comforts. Enjoys working with other people to make things happen.” This personality type clearly defines Clark’s personality and...

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...omers in the same manner in which she views herself and her ten-year old friend; Katie. More specifically, she views her older customer base as individuals seeking those special feeling of childhood. As for the younger customer base, she views them as being more like Katie, who at the time was on a hunt for the perfect cuddly stuffed animal to call a friend. Clark’s perception of her customer base has influenced the development of the business model for Build-A-Bear by making sure that Build-A-Bear as a whole does not loose sight of initial reasons for creating Build-A-Bear. It also allows Clark to implement other features into the build-a-bear process that will continue to build on the experience of childhood and creativity. As Clark states, “ Build-A-Bear Workshop is not only selling a physical product but is also selling an emotional experience” (Nelson &Quick).
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