Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Maxine Clark


Today we honor Maxine Clark, a woman who found a way to make the lovable teddy bear even more popular with children across the world. In 1997, Maxine Clark founded the wildly successful company, Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Clark is a true innovator, building on a love of the teddy bear that had already existed for 100 years. The idea for the Build-A-Bear Workshop first came to Clark when she was shopping with her 10 year old friend Katie. The two could not find the Beanie Baby Katie was searching for and when Katie suggested they make their own, Clark's idea for Build-A-Bear was born.

Already familiar with the retail world, she was President of Payless Shoe Source at the time, Clark began to take the steps to form her own empire. While other adults were skeptical of the idea, kids were excited about the fact that they would be able to build their own best friend.

Clark opened her first Build-A-Bear Workshop in 1997 at the Saint Louis Galleria in St. Louis, Missouri. Her store quickly expanded, and today there are over 400 stores worldwide, including stores now in Major League Baseball Stadiums and zoos. There are also over 70 million Build-A-Bear best friends and Clark's business idea appears to only be strengthening as they expand onto the web and into new arenas.

Maxine Clarks's idea for a new interactive shopping experience for children and her savvy business skills have created a new addiction among not only children, but also adults wanting a carefree afternoon. Clark's desire to make shopping once again a fun experience has not only made Clark richer, but has also enriched the life of all of her customers.

Sources:
Build-A-Bear Workshop Website- Our Company. Our Story
BusinessWeek- Build-A-Bear Workshop, Maxine Clark

1 comment:

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