The photos really tell the story of the step-by-step workshop process, starting with the unofficial pre-step:
Stare longingly in the store window (Is Maggie blinking or saying a silent prayer? We'll never know.)
Check out the easy-to-follow workshop steps: (with lots of staff around to guide visitors through the process)
Maggie and Frannie select their as-yet-unstuffed friends (Yes, Maggie's matches her dress perfectly! Hmm...was that what she was wishing for?)
Frannie chooses one of the "Friends Count" collection, released as part of a yearlong celebration of the company's 15th birthday and over 100 million furry friends made!
The girls sample the different sounds which can be put in the bears' paws, to be played when squeezed. Maggie chooses "I love you", while Frannie picks "Magic".
The girls use a foot pedal to activate the stuffing machine (with staff assistance)
Again, foot pedals work the air bath, with fur brushes available for final primping
The kids select from an unbelievable variety of outfits and shoes, and deck out the bears in the Dressing Room. There was a great sale going on while we were there (any bear, outfit and pair of shoes for $34.99) but usually every item adds up so you have to hold strong when the kids start begging!
Frannie and Maggie fill in their bears' new names (Andrea and Minnie Maggie, respectively) on the computer, and birth certificates print out.
"Take Me Home"
(For some reason, the "Pay For Me" step didn't make the chart!) The bears are packaged in their own special boxes (which can later be coloured) and off we go!
The thrilled girls with their new friends:
Maggie's feedback: "I like that I get to play with my bear and it was nice that they let me make one and it didn't cost us money (who needs a disclosure statement when I have an honest four year old?). The lady helped us get the stuffing in and they helped us pick the clothes too. I picked Minnie because I liked her so much."
Frannie's feedback: "Build-A-Bears are really special because you get to make them yourself and also you get to choose everything for them. I really think that a lot of kids should get them. It's really good for kids because there's even a website that you can go to on the computer to play games after you get your bear. I'd have to say the best part of it is when you get to choose its heart because you can press the heart and hear it beat when you hold it to your ear."
Thanks, Build-A-Bear, for a fantastic experience! I'm sure we'll be back for more outfits, and to enjoy a free fluff or new set of bows!
And just as an "aw, wasn't my child an adorable baby?" moment, here is a photo of the first Build-A-Bear in our home: Frannie's baptism bear, lovingly made by her aunt and uncle (well, probably her aunt) with a recorded message inside. She still treasures it!
Disclosure: We were provided with two Build-A-Bears for review purposes. Opinions are, as always, my own.