Maxine Clarks has been a passionate and self-motivated individual since her childhood. Her wish has always been involving children with whatever she would create. From the article, she enjoyed shopping as a child and in her career, she loved working for large retailers with a desire of have more fun at work and that’s why she needed a reinforcement of her career. It is by incorporating these experiences that gave her a base for recreating that special feeling that she had since her childhood and founds Build-A-Bear Workshop. According to McCullough (2003), she was so determined and focused that she quit her good paying job in the highest level of her career to look for a business idea that would fulfill her desire and discover her true potential. From her behaviors, she seems to be the kind of a person that values and pools together people’ opinions and ideas to achieve success. Maxine Clark listened to her CEO of May Department Stores when he told her that retailing was entertaining and made it practical on her own by creating the workshop. She credits the success of Build-A-Bear Worship on her godchild Katie, and from their childhood discussions about building individual Beanie Babies.
Maxine Clark is said to be charismatic, creative and compassionate. She is said to be a feisty, seasoned, former worker of May Department Stores who does not allow a single detail get by her. From this description, she appears as a passionate entrepreneur with the ability to spot emerging retail and merchandising trends. Her desire is so strong that she is not shaken by critics and manages to build the company beyond discouragements into a product line that appeals to customers and inspires imitators. Her personality has charmed customers and wowed Wall Street with a concept that set interactive experimental retailing as a new template. Her behavior and focus are what has made Build -A -Bear Workshop so big with over 400 stores around the globe.
Since Build-A-Bear Workshop involves selling an emotional experience, personality characteristics of its associates are crucial for the success of the product line. The associates are expected to have the capability to adjust to sad and happy moments. They should care about providing a great experience for customers. Any Build-A-Bear associate should be able to handle the smiles and tears during the emotional experiences of the customers. The best fitted Build-A-Bear associates are those that understand the goals of the company and commit themselves into impacting a long lasting effect of memories created by their customers. The company expects associates to act as party leaders in bringing a teddy bear to life. This is by understanding that a teddy bear brings to mind warm thoughts about friendship, our childhood, about comfort, trust, and love. Associates are supposed to be smart and compassionate to help fully create and make these experiences special. Associates should be able to incorporate all that is trending into the bears to make the product relevant, for example, if the skinny jeans and leggings are trending, the bears can be put in them. They should also stay up with popular culture and maintain that customer-focused culture in all aspects of the business. According to Shaw (2005), employees need to collaborate, engage and celebrate customers creating toys at Build-A-Bear Workshop. This is because the experiences are about creativity and self-expression, and they can be achieved if these moments are made special and supported. From the article, it is okay to act like a kind because it appeals to people of all ages.
It is the perceptions Maxine Clark had on Build-A-Bear customers that influenced her approach in developing a Build-A-Bear business model. Her first thought was that kids knew how to enjoy themselves. It is this thought that she knew any business that focused on children related stuff somehow guaranteed success. That is why she is very vibrant and firm in creating the product line even with so much criticism on her career path. Her focus remains so much inclined on the interests of the kids that even when critics questioned her ideas and told her that they wouldn’t work, she saw a gap where children’s interests needed to be attended to. Maxine Clark believes the business operations to be extremely personalized. She gives examples to support the notion that the Workshop sells an emotional experience. She explains how children brought at the workshop make their individual bears representing, for example, their dead grandparents or pets and gives them a ‘heart’ to bring it to life and whisper to them or record their voices to the bears. She, therefore, relates the success of the company to these imaginations and experiences. The organization is developed to fully focus on the needs of the customer. She believes that the company doesn’t sell products but smiles. To do that, Clark and her team work hard to ensure they develop a trusted and reliable relationship with customers. According to her, it is very important to keep up with popular culture for the business to remain relevant. She ensures that her employees maintain a customer focused culture for a successful business model.
I would enjoy working at A-Build-A-Bear Workshop. Working with kids is interesting and makes your career fun and enjoyable. Being an employee there would give me opportunities to share both good and bad moments of children, put myself in their world which is part of exploring real life events. The place seems to be such fun that working there does not feel work at all and therefore the best job for making a living. The job is all about new experiences and becoming a party leader who is responsible for well-being and enjoyment of children. Apart from having fun, being an employer would give me the opportunity to learn about ways of bettering myself and representing situations. The fact that you can make a child’s day by just putting a smile on his or her face is so motivating and satisfactory. Creating an enduring trust and emotional attachment with the customers give one the ability to make best friends in every party leader case you represent. This makes Build-A-Bear model operations particularly interesting as it is masterly designed to capture value through both experience and simultaneous satisfaction of customers and employees demands (Lee, 2008). The workshop consists of good hearted and positive associates and customers, which is a health environment spending most of your time there. The satisfaction, fulfillment and positive learning that comes with these daily experiences gives energy and rekindles happiness in someone’s life, and that is the type of life I would enjoy. It would be an awesome experience working as Build-A-Bear employee, and I would be fully rewarded by putting my heart into it.
Lee, Y. J. (2008). Build-A-Bear Workshop: Its Aesthetic and Ideology. Art Education,
McCullough, P. M. (2003). MAXINE CLARK: FROM SHOES TO BEARS.
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Shaw, C. (2005). Case study: Build-A-Bear Workshop. In Revolutionize Your
Customer Experience (pp. 198-208). Palgrave Macmillan UK.