Maxine Clark, Founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop® — Glambition® Radio Episode 277 with Ali Brown - Ali Brown

Maxine Clark, Founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop® — Glambition® Radio Episode 277 with Ali Brown

Build-A-Bear Workshop was an idea that hatched over 25 years ago in the mind of Maxine Clark during a day of shopping with a good friend’s daughter. And while these stores are now a name that everyone knows, not many are aware of how Build-a-Bear came to be. 

And today on #GlambitionRadio, we have the behind-the-scenes founder of this brand that has gained an enormous following! 

If you are one of the few not familiar with Build-A-Bear, it’s a teddy-bear themed retail-entertainment experience found in nearly every major mall in America. My twins have been customers themselves… choosing and crafting their very own stuffed animals. The whole fun part is making it ‘come to life’ – it’s a very personal, customized experience.

So who is this mysterious Maxine Clark? After a long and successful corporate career (wait until you hear her journey in our conversation), and her last position being president of Payless Shoe Source, Maxine felt a calling to create a new venture. She wanted to create something focused on engaging children—although she didn’t know what quite yet.

In our interview on this Glambition Radio, you’ll hear all the details on the unsuccessful Beanie Baby shopping quest that actually sparked the idea. And only nine months later, the first Build-A-Bear store opened in St. Louis, Missouri, and a maker’s movement was born. 

By listening intently to her customers’ desires, Maxine’s magical shopping experience quickly took off. Today there are over 350 Build-A-Bear Workshop stores worldwide and over 200 million stuffed animals have been created and sold. 

After stepping down from her CEB (Chief Executive Bear) position in 2013, Maxine kicked off her next venture—the Delmar DivINe™: a project focusing on unleashing the potential of women and minority entrepreneurs. I love how Maxine continues to service the needs of her customers and community… an essential lesson that we ALL will benefit from. You don’t want to miss this interview! 

On this episode of #GlambitionRadio, you’ll hear:

  • How founding Build-A-Bear at age 48 was a huge asset for her – and she encourages women to found companies at every life stage 
  • How Maxine’s ‘instant’ success with Build-a-Bear was built on this KEY skill—and the surprising sources of wisdom that refined her business decisions to great success
  • Why MAGIC was—and is—the special ingredient that captivated millions of customers, and how to harness your clients’ wishes to create the best experience possible
  • The #1 BEST thing a founder can do to ensure the long-term impact and success of her venture (and why you should think about this now, if you haven’t already…)
  • What it means to use your business mind within social systems—and how it only takes ONE ‘yes’ to launch an entirely new trajectory (I loved this one, as we are the creators of change)

Head to Apple Podcasts now to listen to this episode of Glambition Radio (or download it for later).

And come join in the conversation on Instagram or Facebook.

XO,

Ali

P.S. I would love your review! If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review and comment on Apple Podcasts. Select ‘Listen in Apple Podcasts,’ then choose the ‘Ratings and Reviews’ tab to share what you think. I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

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