A bear a bear

Customer Insight

In the last issue of Stakeholder Satisfaction I presented the results of new research from the YourSayPays panel that shed new light on UK consumers’ views about emotional engagement with the organisations they deal with. If you missed this article go to: www.stakeholdermagazine.com

The main conclusion was that customers are much more likely to become emotionally engaged when they have bad rather than good experiences with companies. Negative emotions such as irritation, frustration, stress and anger were much more prevalent than positive ones such as happiness, pride, pleasure or excitement. In other words, if you give customers a bad experience their frustration or anger heightens their mental / emotional involvement but when they have a good experience they take it for granted, don’t think about it much and their mind moves swiftly on to other things. This doesn’t mean that it’s pointless giving customers a flawless experience. Far from it! When asked what makes them loyal to companies, it’s the cumulative effect of having lots of good experiences and no hassle that does the trick.

So does this mean that it’s completely pointless for any company to even try to stimulate positive emotions in its customers. Not necessarily. But only if you can co-create!!


When explaining the differences between products and services, marketing textbooks highlight a few key factors such as services being intangible and heterogeneous – they’re all different, compared with mass-produced products that are all identical. However, for customer management, the most relevant characteristic of services is their inseparability. This refers to the fact that the production and consumption of most services are inseparable. If you have your hair cut, you have to be sitting there at the same time as the hairdresser is creating the product, which is why some people call this phenomenon co-creation. The hairdressing example is even better for building engagement since the customer and supplier design the product together as well as deliver it. Co-creation is a double-edged sword for service businesses. You can’t quality control the product after manufacture and make sure the faulty ones never go near a customer. Services have to get it right first time in clean and pleasant surroundings, with a smile and a good bedside manner. Co-creation fits some businesses like a glove, as you will know if you’ve ever taken a child to Build-A-Bear Workshop.


Build-A-Bear Workshop is often used in books and conference talks to illustrate the benefits of giving customers an emotional experience to drive engagement, recommendation and long-term loyalty. Their mission statement says it all doesn’t it?

Our Mission

At Build-A-Bear Workshop®, our mission is to bring the Teddy Bear to life. The Teddy Bear brings to mind warm thoughts about our childhood, about friendship, about trust and comfort, and also about love. Build-A-Bear Workshop embodies those thoughts in how we run our business everyday.

With over 50 locations around the UK now, you can try it for yourself but if you don’t have a child or can’t borrow one, here’s the step by step guide to the customer experience, in the words of Build- A-Bear Workshop’s own website, www.buildabear.co.uk. Oddly, costs seem to be in $ even though it’s the UK website.

Choose Me

At Choose Me, Guests are introduced to all the furry characters in the store and select one, which soon becomes their new friend. There are more than 30 varieties of stuffed animals including teddy bears, bunnies, dogs, kitties and more to make. Build-A-Bear Workshop stuffed animals are very affordable, ranging in price from $10- $25.

Hear Me

At Hear Me, Guests may select from several sound choices to place inside their stuffed animal to further personalize their new friend. The sound chip is inserted safely inside the new friend during the stuffing process. Guests can record their own 10-second Build-A-Sound® message for $8. Prerecorded sounds include giggles, growls, barks, meows and other animal sounds, as well as messages such as “I Love You” or songs like “Take Me Out To The Ballgame™”. Single sounds are $3, and a six-in-one sound is $5.

Stuff Me

At Stuff Me, with the help of master Bear Builder® associates, Guests fill the new friend with stuffing for just the right amount of huggability. A very special step that is unique to Build-A-Bear Workshop® also happens at this station. Each Guest selects a small satin heart – a Build-A-Bear Workshop trademark, adds to it his or her own love and wishes, and carefully places it inside their new furry friend. This process brings the furry friendship to life.

Stitch Me

At Stitch Me, the last seam is neatly pulled shut, nearly completing each new best friend. Before stitching the furry friend, the master Bear Builder associate inserts a barcode, allowing it to hopefully be reunited with its owner if ever lost and returned to Build-A-Bear Workshop. Thousands of furry friends have been reunited through our exclusive Find-A-Bear® ID program.

Fluff Me

At Fluff Me, the Guest brushes the animal to make sure his or her new friend is well groomed and pawfectly huggable!

Dress Me

At Dress Me, Guests may dress their new friend in the beary latest furry fashions. The bear apparel boutique features clothes and accessories for all occasions. Outfits range from $5-$15 and accessories range from $1-$15. Build-A-Bear Workshop® even has its own fashion expert mascot, Pawlette Coufur®, Fashion Advisor to the Furry Famous.

Name Me

Guests then stop at the Name Me computer, where they answer several questions about their new furry friend, including the birth date and of course, its name. This information is used to create their personalized birth certificate and enter their friend into the Find-A-Bear ID program.

Take Me Home

Finally, Guests conclude their in-store bear-making experience at the Take Me Home station, where they receive their customized birth certificate and a special Stuff Fur Stuff® club membership, a rewards program for our Guests. Each new furry friend is then placed in their very own Cub Condo® carrying case, which is designed as a handy travel carrier and new home


The added value customer experience at Build-A-Bear Workshop is a real win-win situation, it adds value to company profits too. The add-ons are virtually endless. Licensed merchandise includes Premier League football strips and Harley Davidson gear for boy bears plus the latest fashion brands for their lady friends. And like fashions and football kits they’re changing all the time, affording a great opportunity for Bear Buck$ gift tokens each birthday. And while you’re at it you might as well use the company’s Build-AParty programme and hold your party there. And if it’s too far away for regular trips, no problem! You can continue your customer experience online at buildabearville. com where you can create your own online character, play games, earn points, chat with other bears etc.


Build-A-Bear Workshop is clearly the ultimate example of a company whose entire business model is based on emotional engagement. The big question is whether such a business model can be replicated. At Disneyworld undoubtedly yes. Children + Families + Leisure + Special Occasion = Retail as Entertainment, and you simply will not find more fertile soil for customers who are looking for an experience not just an outcome. But what if you’re a call centre that customers call to change a direct debit? What feedback from hundreds of thousands of customers tells The Leadership Factor is that for this type of customer experience, the outcome and its efficient delivery are paramount in making customers feel so good about the experience that they are happy to keep on repeating it (stay loyal) and be willing to recommend (although due to their intrinsic lack of interest in this type of experience they rarely do so proactively). Conversely, customers who defect and tell others (which they will do proactively), are almost invariably driven by an unacceptable or inefficiently managed outcome. They don’t defect because the call centre failed to deliver an emotional experience.

Start with what customers want

The fundamental flaw in the emotional engagement concept as it is currently interpreted is that it’s inside-out. It starts with organisations thinking they should deliver an emotional experience (or being deluded into it by a consultant). But it breaks the fundamental rule of customer management – everything starts with the customer. And this is one of the weaknesses of the Net Promoter concept and the ‘willingness to recommend’ question generally. Yes, if you’re a good company delivering consistently flawless customer experiences they’ll be willing to recommend you but they often won’t proactively do so, because their relationship with you isn’t emotional and if you’re a bank, a utility, a local authority or a train company you’re living in cloud cuckoo land if you’ve been tricked into thinking it ever will be. (Willingness to recommend has no business value if they don’t actually do it.) The way customers relate to organisations is based on what the customer wants, not on what the supplier wants. For most aspects of their time-pressured lives, customers simply want to deal with organisations that do what they’re supposed to, first time and efficiently. They just don’t want any kind of emotional engagement. It’s no different to life itself. You don’t expect or want an emotional involvement when you’re doing the washing up, vacuuming the carpets or driving the kids to school. You just want those events to pass without breaking a glass, having to unclog the vacuum cleaner or call a summit conference to prevent World War III breaking out on the back seat. By contrast you expect and seek out emotional involvement in other aspects of your life – taking the partner of your dreams out to a restaurant, giving your kids a special treat or fulfilling a lifelong ambition to visit the Grand Canyon. If you’re Build-A-Bear Workshop, the basics of delivering good product and service are the Givens, and the Differentiators come from the emotional engagement. And it works because it’s what customers want in that component of their lives. If you supply electricity it won’t work because customers don’t want it.

The Customer Experience Spectrum

In other words there’s a spectrum of emotional engagement and most companies are not at either end but somewhere in the middle. But where? The challenge for most companies is to be truly objective about where on the spectrum you are. We’d all like to be a cuddly Build-A-Bear type of business that sends customers away with a truly memorable experience, but you have to live in the real world. The real world of your customers. In the next edition of Stakeholder Satisfaction we’ll investigate the Customer Experience Spectrum.

For more about emotional engagement and experiences versus outcomes, check out the half day Customer Emotions briefing at www.leadershipfactor.com or call Ruth on 0845 293 9480 for more details.

Snag a teddy bear for $6.50 for National Teddy Bear Day at Build-A-Bear and Walmart

We all remember the great Build-A-Bear Pay Your Age Day disaster of 2018 — the sale that was so successful, it failed.

Parents and kids came out in droves for the one-day event to score a stuffed animal at just the cost of the child’s age, and the stores got so crowded the company had to shut the deal down.

The event went more smoothly after several changes, such as limiting bears to those with “winning” tickets and offering a three-day window for guests to visit the store.

But it seems Build-A-Bear is still trying to avoid catastrophe with its latest sale for National Teddy Bear Day by extending the deal to Walmart stores across the country.

They’re calling it the “biggest National Teddy Bear Day yet.”

Get a bear for just $6.50

The deal is this: Kids can snag an exclusive National Teddy Bear Day bear for just $6.50 on Sep. 7, Sep. 8 and Sep. 9, which is National Teddy Bear Day.

The bears are available at all Build-A-Bear workshop stores and nearly all Walmart stores across the country.

All Build-A-Bear locations and 2,000 Walmart stores will also have a “celeBEARation,” with swag and possibly an opportunity to take a picture with Build-A-Bear mascot Bearemy. For every photo posted to social media with the hashtag #NationalTeddyBearDay, teddy bears (up to 50,000 of them) will be donated to children in need.

Build it or buy it

There is one catch to all this: For those who go to Build-A-Bear stores for the deal, kids can have the experience of “stuffing” their bears, naming them, adding accessories and more.

For those who go to Walmart stores for the deal, they can only purchase the bear pre-stuffed and “ready to play.”

Of course, there are always more options:

  • Buy an unstuffed bear from Build-A-Bear stores during the event for $6.50, then return to the store at a later date for the make-your-own experience.
  • Buy a pre-stuffed bear at Build-A-Bear stores and avoid the make-your-own madness.
  • Visit a Walmart store that has a Build-A-Bear Workshop inside and find the make-your-own experience there.

Count Your Candles promotion still available

Maybe you’re thinking, “Oh no! I was going to take my kid for his or her birthday bear this weekend.”

Don’t fret.

No matter what other promotions are happening, kids can go to Build-A-Bear locations anytime during their birthday month and make a special birthday bear (worth $14) for just the cost of the age they are turning. So if your child is turning 5, you pay $5 bucks.

But the National Teddy Bear Day event website does warn that stores expect “higher than normal traffic” at the Workshop locations over this three-day event.

Good luck, my fierce frugal friends!

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Build-a-Bear Builds a Brand Around the Customer Experience

Sixteen years ago, Maxine Clark took her friend, Katie, shopping to get a stuffed animal. When they got to the store, there were none left. “We should just make our own,” said Katie. Clark took the idea a step further, imagining a store focused on the experience and engagement of individual customers. Build-A-Bear Workshop was born.

Clark has served as the company’s leader and Chief Executive Bear (CEB) since its inception in 1997. Build-A-Bear Workshop now has more than 400 retail outlets around the world and generated nearly $400 million in revenue in 2012. It consistently ranks on Fortune magazine’s Best 100 companies to work for, and in 2005 Fast Company named Clark a customer-centered leader.

Clark’s passion is to enable experiences internally and externally to make advances in a number of areas. This summer she is stepping down as CEB to focus on experiential education initiatives. She will remain on the board and assist incoming CEO Sharon Price John through the transition. Here, Clark shares insights on how developing a customer-focused culture leads to a successful business model, and how the next generation of Build-A-Bear Workshop will evolve while staying grounded in its core business strategy.

Customer Strategist: The Build-A-Bear Workshop model is extremely personalized. Customers literally walk through the process of making their own individual bear, then make a wish and give it a “heart” to bring it to (imaginary) life. The company’s success is rooted in imagination and experience. How do you involve the customer in the business?

Maxine Clark: We’ve always been a customer-centric organization. Since our inception, we’ve been all about the guest experience. I believe that we don’t sell products, we sell smiles. To do that, we need to create a trusted relationship with customers. They are always present in our business. Not everyone buys a bear all the time. When adults can’t afford to buy a bear, for instance, we give them things like sticker sheets and pins for their kids.

We constantly engage customers in storytelling about their experiences. We encourage them to write us letters, send us photos, and post stories about their adventures with their animals on our website. We read letters from kids in every corporate meeting. We make ourselves available to customers. I give out my email so people can contact me directly.

We hire and promote Build-A-Bear Workshop employees and managers who have the personality needed to maintain that customer-focused culture in all aspects of the business. We conduct group interviews that use visualization techniques to help potential employees see themselves through the eyes of a child before they are hired. Our store employees are the closest to the customers, so they know they have a very important job to keep the culture going. And in many cases, customers feel so connected it’s like they’re family.

CS: What are some ways you have operationalized this ongoing dialog with customers and parents?

MC: We want to keep customers engaged with the brand. Our philosophy is one of give and get: we encourage parents to give us their information so we can deliver relevant permission-based communications to them.

In the store, we sell clothing and other add-ons for our animals. We have loyalty programs and automated gift cards to simplify the shopping experience. Our Bearville.com website lets children create virtual versions of themselves and their animals, and interact with each other online. As part of the site, Bear University has become a place where kids teach one other about things like how to manage virtual money.

Also, each of our animals is made with a unique bar code that is placed inside of it when it’s made. We also give each animal a “birth certificate” with that number so it is tied to the purchaser. Found animals can be returned to the store where we can contact the person who lost it. More than 6,000 lost animals have been reunited with their owners over 16 years.

And, critical to our success is our team of child “Cub Advisors” who provide feedback and ideas on new animals, as well as other products and services. Most recently, they played a significant role in helping design our new interactive stores of the future. We will open 25 of these newly imagined stores in 2013. The idea is to make the store more experiential and tech-focused using iPads, Microsoft Kinect, and other technologies.

You don’t have to have all the ideas. Let customers give you ideas. It’s not about being psychic. We are just really good listeners.

CS: Why do you put so much emphasis on understanding customers?

MC: We work primarily with children, and when adults listen to them, they appreciate it. When I was a child, I was acknowledged by adults, and I believe that helped boost my confidence as I grew up. Build-A-Bear Workshop wants to be good role models to children. The part we play with guests is helping them use their imagination. It’s up to the child to create whatever they want.

CS: This summer you are transitioning out of the CEO role, which will be taken over by Sharon Price John, a former executive at Stride Rite and Hasbro. What does the next generation of Build-A-Bear Workshop look like?

MC: The company has generated $5 billion in sales over 16 years. Our success is attributed to the personal connection we create with customers, and the experience they have of making a new best friend. Sharon’s experience in retail and in the children’s market is great. We think a lot alike, but we also think differently. I want the business and the legacy of Build-A-Bear Workshop as an experiential and engagement leader to last forever. She will treat and care for it in a different way, but with the same customer-focused engine at its core.

Count Your Candles

Count Your Candles Frequently Asked Questions:

Is it only on their birthday? When can we participate?
This offer is available any time in the month of their birthday.

Do I need proof of age?
When the birthday child comes into the Workshop, just let us know you’re celebrating a birthday and together we will “count their candles” to let us know how old they are turning. No need to bring in any proof of age or identification.

Do I need to add my child’s birthday into my Build-A-Bear Bonus Club account to participate in Count Your Candles?
At this time, you do not need to indicate your child’s birthday in your Bonus Club account. Just visit the Workshop during your child’s birthday month, and we’ll take it from there!

Do I need to sign up my child for the Build-A-Bear Bonus Club to pay their age for the Birthday Treat Bear?
Guests must be 18 years old or older to sign up for Build-A-Bear Bonus Club; therefore, children under 18 are not required to sign up for Bonus Club. They need only accompany a Bonus Club member, or an adult over the age of 18 who signs up to become a Bonus Club member, during the month of their birthday to pay their age for the Birthday Treat Bear.

Is Count Your Candles for any furry friend?
The Count Your Candles offer is only available on the new Birthday Treat Bear to mark the special occasion.

Is it online?
The Count Your Candles offer is a special experience delivered exclusively at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores.

What do I need to do to get this offer?
The Count Your Candles offer is available to our Bonus Club members! Just sign up online, it’s free and easy! Then you’ll be asked to confirm account details (email address or account number) at check out!

Check your local Workshop for availability?
This offer is available in all U.S., Canada and U.K. Build-A-Bear Workshop stores and outlets. Offer not valid at Build-A-Bear Workshop® within other retail stores or restaurants, including but not limited to, Rainforest Café® or in Build-A-Dino® Experience within T-REX Café™.

Press Release

ST. LOUIS, June 11, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — To kick off the second year of its successful Count Your Candles birthday program, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (NYSE: BBW) is offering an opportunity to enter a new sweepstakes for the chance to win a birthday party experience and have the chance to participate in a limited ticket offer event to Pay Your Age for a new furry friend at most retail locations in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom*, in stores, from June 24-28.

So, how does it work? Now through Sunday, June 16, members of the Build-A-Bear Bonus Club rewards program that complete a birthday profile in their online account can enter the Count Your Candles Sweepstakes and Pay Your Age limited ticket offer. Those who are not yet Bonus Club members can sign up for the program and complete a birthday profile in order to enter the Count Your Candles sweepstakes and Pay Your Age limited ticket offer, redeemable in stores only*.

More than 200,000 Guests around the world are expected to receive a Pay Your Age limited ticket. With their ticket, Guests will be able to visit a Build-A-Bear Workshop during one of two redemption periods in the week of June 24 through June 28 and make one furry friend per child present, limit two furry friends** per ticket. Additionally, ten Guests will win the Count Your Candles Sweepstakes grand prize of a birthday party experience to use any time in the next twelve months valued up to $250 USD / £200 / $250 CAD.

“At Build-A-Bear Workshop, we love parties and want to help parents create special birthday moments with their children,” said Sharon Price John, president and chief executive officer, Build-A-Bear Workshop. “Our Count Your Candles birthday program is designed to increase the accessibility for kids to be able to celebrate their most special day at Build-A-Bear Workshop. We share birthday celebrations with millions of children and their families each year including those associated with our new Count Your Candles Birthday Treat bear, which has become our best-selling bear since its launch last year. We are excited to extend this popular program and kick it off with a new sweepstakes as well as a limited ticket offer giving Bonus Club members the chance to share in what will now be a five-day Pay Your Age ticketed event.”

As part of Build-A-Bear’s year-round celebration of birthdays, Guests 14 and under who visit the Workshop with a Build-A-Bear Bonus Club member in the month of their birthday can ‘Count Their Candles’ and pay their age for Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Birthday Treat Bear (valued at $14 USD / £14 GBP / $14 CAD).

Pro Tips:

  • Adults, parents and guardians are encouraged to log-in to their online Bonus Club account and complete birthday profile details. Once the profile is complete, members will be prompted to enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win a birthday party experience. Upon entering, members also will be eligible to participate for a chance to receive a limited ticket offer to Pay Your Age for a new furry friend**, limit two furry friends per ticket; the person(s) wishing to pay their age must be present at the time of purchase.
  • Non-members can join the Bonus Club and complete their birthday profile in order to enter the sweepstakes and be eligible for the limited ticket offer event.
  • Winners will be notified by June 21 and be assigned to one of two redemption periods from June 24 to June 28, 2019.
  • The offer cannot be combined with any other offers.
  • The Birthday Treat Bear (valued at $14/£14/$14CAD) is available all year long so that children can celebrate in the month of their birthday and ‘pay-their-age’ for this collectible furry friend.

To learn more about Build-A-Bear’s Count Your Candles Sweepstakes and “Pay Your Age” limited ticket offer, visit buildabear.com/PayYourAge To learn more about the year-round Count Your Candles birthday experience at Build-A-Bear Workshop, visit buildabear.com/count-your-candles.

*Offer valid for Bonus Club members or Guests who sign up to become Bonus Club members and complete birthday profile details. Offer valid in stores only. Limit two furry friends per ticket; participants must be present for offer. Open to legal residents of the 50 United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada (excluding Quebec) and the United Kingdom, who are 18 years of age or older at the time of entry. No purchase necessary to enter. Some exclusions apply. Cannot be combined with any other offer. While supplies last. Outfits and accessories sold separately. Minimum price $1 (US & Canada) / £1 (UK). Visit buildabear.com/PayYourAge for details.
**Select furry friends may be excluded from the offer

About Build-A-Bear®
Build-A-Bear® is a global brand kids love and parents trust that seeks to add a little more heart to life. Build-A-Bear Workshop has over 450 stores worldwide where Guests can create customizable furry friends, including corporately-managed stores in the United States, Canada, China, Denmark, Ireland, Puerto Rico, and the United Kingdom, and franchise stores in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Mexico and the Middle East. Buildabear.com is the online destination for unique furry-friend gifts, featuring The-Bear-Builder™, a shopping configurator that helps create customized gift options. Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (NYSE:BBW) posted total revenue of $336.6 million in fiscal 2018.

SOURCE Build-A-Bear Workshop

Public Relations, Build-A-Bear Workshop, (314) 423-8000, [email protected]

Build-A-Bear’s Pay Your Age returns with chaos-proof plan! Some kids still won’t get a toy


Build-A-Bear Workshop’s Pay Your Age promotion is back, and this time the company has a plan to avoid long lines, store closings, crying children or angry parents.

Only a select number of children holding Pay Your Age “winner” tickets will get a furry friend. But this way, hopefully the company won’t have to apologize as they did after last summer’s debacle.

“There is still a lot of interest in paying your age,” said Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John. “People are intrigued with the concept.” So the company wanted to “re-think this opportunity,” she said.

Everyone has an equal chance at a winning ticket if they sign up for the Build-A-Bear Bonus Club rewards program using their email from June 11 through midnight on June 16. The Pay Your Age sale for a plush toy is exactly as it sounds — if your child is 2, parents pay $2, if he or she is 4, parents fork over $4.

‘Winners’ shop during a 3-day window

Once enrolled in the rewards program, guests will be notified via email by June 21 if they are among the 200,000 guests in the U.S., U.K. and Canada to receive a “winner” ticket. John said the 200,000 tickets was how much the company’s data showed the company’s staff could accommodate.

The notification includes a barcode they can print out or take to a Build-A-Bear store on a device to be scanned. When registering for the promotion, a parent can use one ticket for up to two children.

This year the promotion lasts for five days from June 24 through June 28. Last year, the sale in July was a single-day promotion and some customers waited in line for up to seven hours. Other stores, overwhelmed by hundreds of people awaiting the sale, shut down before they opened, citing “safety concerns.”

To avoid that catastrophe, Build-A-Bear is staggering guests in three-day windows to visit the store. Guests with winning tickets will be assigned a date range to visit their Build-A-Bear store: June 24-26 or June 26-28.

The stores all will be appropriately staffed, John said.

Kids can still score a bear during their birthday month

The Pay Your Age sale began as a promotion for the company’s Count Your Candles birthday program. Birthday parties are responsible for one-third of the company sales, John said.

Even if your child isn’t chosen a “winner” for this Pay Your Age promotion, children 14 and younger can still catch a deal during their birthday month. By registering with the rewards program, children Pay Your Age for the Birthday Treat Bear at stores during their birthday month.

John couldn’t say whether there will be any future Pay Your Age sales, but said every day at Build-A-Bear has the potential to be a Pay Your Age day for children.

“If you really think about it, every single day is another chance for a Pay Your Age Day,” she said. “Someone is paying their age for a Birthday Treat Bear every day all year long,”

Those new to the Bonus Club also could win a grand prize birthday party experience valued at $250 to use during the next year. Ten prizes will be awarded.

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Welcome to Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Valley, the valley where your furry friends magically come to life. Enjoy the beautiful, fully 3D world of Bear Valley and these other cool features:
– Parents! A single download, fully featured, complete game! – No in-app purchases required!
– An exciting, safe place for kids to explore
– Use your Build-A-Bear Workshop codes to unlock additional furry friends in the game.
– Build and create your own furry friends with all the fun attributes to bring them to life.
– Get the latest fashions and coolest accessories at the “Beartique” and Fluffed Stuffed & Furbulous stores.
– Perform musical “Bear Bops”, Beauty Pageants, and Fashion Shows at the outdoor theater.
– Earn Fashion, Baking, Photography, and Theater degrees at Bear University.
– Customize your very own “Pawsome Pad” with curtains, furniture, wallpaper, and electronics.
– Personalize Bear Valley with Fountains, Toy, Produce and Ice Cream Vendors.
– Prepare delicious goodies at Bearemy’s Bakery.
– Enjoy fun slides, swings, and merry go rounds at Paw Print Park.
– Visit the Toy Vendor to ride skateboards, fly kites, and intertube down the Bear Valley River.
– Go on photo scavenger hunts by visiting Strike A Pose Studio.
– Grow crops, milk cows, and gather eggs from the chickens on the Bear Farm.
Support: [email protected]

It was genius. Everyone loved it. So much so that the DIY taxidermy stores were mobbed with unruly crowds. Stores in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. were shuttered after mile-long lines formed, while some outposts were forced to close out of safety concerns. Adults were angry, children were crying, and Build-A-Bear ended up a victim of its own success, feebly offering vouchers to ticked-off would-be customers.

But despite last year’s glorious disaster, Build-A-Bear isn’t letting the promotion go down without a fight. The company has just announced it is bringing back Pay Your Age Day for another year. This time is different, though: Build-A-Bear has learned a few things about its customers’ insatiable hunger for bargain-priced bear-stuffing, so it thought long and hard about the program, and this time there are rules, dammit, since you fiends can’t control yourselves.

  • First of all: Not everyone gets to Pay Their Age. Instead, only a select number of children holding Pay Your Age “winner” tickets will get a furry friend.
  • Bargain hunters must vie for a chance by signing up for the Build-A-Bear Bonus Club rewards program between June 11 and June 16.
  • Once enrolled in the rewards program, some 200,000 guests in the United States, U.K., and Canada will be selected to take part in the promotion.

While last year’s promotion involved just one day of bargains, which is how some customers ended up standing in line for seven hours without once questioning their life choices, this year’s promotion will be spread out over five days from June 24 through June 28, according to USA Today.

Winners will be assigned a range of dates to head to Build-A-Bear to redeem their prize, hopefully avoiding having those 200,000 Pay Your Age winners descending upon the store at the same time, demanding those bear skins the same way that zombies want brains.

Build-A-Bear Is Bringing Back Their ‘Pay Your Age’ Offer — but with a Lottery-Style Catch

Build-A-Bear PRNewsfoto/Build-A-Bear

Pay Your Age Day is making a comeback at Build-A-Bear — but not for everyone.

After last year’s inaugural event left stores closing early due to the chaos surrounding popular demand, the company announced an altered offering that will allow a limited number of child customers to “pay their age” (e.g., $5 for a 5-year-old) for any stuffed animal in the store (excluding toys in their Pokémon and How to Train Your Dragon collections, outfits and accessories).

Build-A-Bear’s new plan is a sweepstakes, where Bonus Club members can enter by June 16 to win a special ticket that will allow them to return to the store sometime between June 24 and 28 to take advantage of the deal. Up to two people can use the ticket to pay their age for a new plush toy.

According to the toy company, more than 200,000 customers will be awarded the one-time ticket — and 10 extra-lucky entrants will win a birthday-party experience valued at $250, which kids can use anytime over the next year.

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Image zoom Build-A-Bear store Business Wire via Getty

RELATED: Build-a-Bear Forced to Close Early After “Pay Your Age” Day Ends in Chaos

Children who aren’t able to snag a ticket to pay their age later this month or an all-inclusive birthday bash can still participate in the Count Your Candles promotion, where they can pay their age for their own Birthday Treat Bear (regularly $14) anytime during their birthday month.

“When your child celebrates their birthday at Build-A-Bear Workshop, they get the full Build-A-Bear experience!” the company promises on its website.

That experience — offered “at no additional charge!” — includes a Birthday Heart ceremony, a birthday sticker and party hat, a birthday-cake photo prop and the chance to ring the Birthday Bell to “announce their birthday to the entire workshop.”

Image zoom Build-A-Bear Birthday Treat Bear Build-A-Bear

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Last summer, Pay Your Age Day was a one-day event held in U.S., Canadian and U.K. Build-A-Bear stores that ended abruptly due to crowd sizes.

“Per local authorities, we cannot accept additional guests at our locations due to crowd safety concerns. We have closed lines in our stores,” the company tweeted in July.

“Our Pay Your Age Day generated an overwhelming response,” the tweet went on. “Please refer to our website for info about a voucher for our Bonus Club members. Thank you for your patience and support.”

‘Pay Your Age’ at Build-A-Bear was a disaster last year. Here’s how they’re changing it.


Only a limited number of tickets will be available for this year’s Build-A-Bear Workshop “Pay Your Age Day.” Here’s how to get one. USA TODAY


Build-A-Bear announced a new idea stuffed with potential. The company tweeted June 11 that they’ll try “Pay Your Age Day” again after failure last year.

As the name says, the event allows parents to pay only their child’s age for the popular make-your-own stuffed animals. Last year’s sale resulted in long lines across the U.S., Canada and Great Britain. The company was forced to shut down the event for safety reasons.

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People hoping for a chance to get in on the “Pay Your Age” action can enter on the Build-A-Bear website for a limited ticket. More than 200,000 tickets will be available.

Those with tickets will be able to visit a Build-A-Bear during one of two redemption periods throughout the week of June 24 through 28. There is a limit of one furry friend per child present and two furry friends per ticket.

There are two Build-A-Bear Workshop locations in and around Indianapolis:

  • Greenwood Park Mall – 1251 US Highway 31 N Spc D02A, Greenwood, IN 46142
  • Castleton Square – 6020 E 82nd St #909, Indianapolis, IN 46250

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How to enter ‘Pay Your Age’ Sweepstakes

First, you need a Bonus Club account. If you don’t have one, it’s free to sign up.

Second, fill out the new birthday profile.

Finally, put in your entry.

The deadline to enter for a ticket is midnight June 16.

Email IndyStar reporter Justice Amick at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @JusticeAmick.

#BREAKING NEWS! 🎉 Introducing the Count Your Candles Sweepstakes and Pay Your Age Limited Ticket Offer! Enter online by 6/16 for a chance to receive a ticket to #PAYYOURAGE or win a birthday party experience! Learn more US: https://t.co/m4Q7xhwtNu UK: https://t.co/goLSPmJfCupic.twitter.com/jZ0ZVqIwlX