A Company With Heart

We’re a company with heart. That’s what we always say. But what does that mean? Does it mean we care about giving back? Does it mean we love our jobs? Does it mean we have lots of love to give? The answer is yes to all of those, but it also means something more, something that really speaks to the root of our company and what is important to us.

You know those little satin and plaid hearts you put in your furry friends? We’ve had those forever. Even though they looked a little different, they were still part of the process from the very beginning. But we never realized the power of the hearts until a few weeks after opening our first store at the St. Louis Galleria. The store had been beary busy from the start. A phone call came in at the end of the day, right before the weekend. “We’re running out of hearts.” The manager on the line said they had become so popular that they probably wouldn’t have enough to last the weekend.

Making a wish.

“I could see why we were running out of hearts,” said Marilyn Freundlich, Director of Bear Necessities at the time. “Every time I was in the store I would see grandmothers putting in three or four hearts, one for each of their grandchildren.”

Because we had initially planned for only one heart for each furry friend, and our Guests were finding many reasons to add love to their furry friends, it was obvious why we were running low after only a few weeks of business. We couldn’t order more because they would take weeks to come in. The only option was to find more hearts STAT.

Sealing the wish with a kiss.

“When I got the call, I just started calling every place in the city to see where we could get more,” said Jill Saunders, Director of Public Relations. “Because it was not an easy thing to describe over the phone, and the internet wasn’t what it is today, we eventually just started driving around the entire bi-state area like mad, trying to find what we could!”

Eventually, after hours of searching, hearts were found that would work. Some were different sizes, but so were our bears at the time, so it worked out perfectly.

“I remember sitting in a circle on Friday evening at the office. Everyone was just sorting out all the ones we had found and selecting the hearts that would work,” Marilyn said.

Maxine Clark, Marlo Thomas and kids from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital rubbing hearts on their ears so their bears become good listeners!

“It was really a collaboration and we all had to do it together or we never would have found them,” Jill said. “But that’s how we’ve always worked: together.”

After a huge effort by everyone, the weekend was saved, and our Guests were still able to add as many hearts as they wanted to their new furry friends. We truly are a company with heart. The heart represents what is so important to our Guest experience, it represents the part of the process that changes the animal from being just a stuffed animal, to a new best friend, and we would never want to change that.

Have you ever added more than one heart to your furry friend? Do you remember how making the wish on your favorite furry friend’s heart made you feel? What do those little satin hearts mean to you?

-Molly Saunders, Digital Community Bear

About Molly Saunders

I am a bear in the Digital Dept at Build-A-Bear Workshop. I work at World Bearquarters in St. Louis, Mo. View all posts by Molly Saunders

23 responses to “A Company With Heart

  • DrRus

    Hi Molly!

    The “heart-experience” is one of the best and most memorable aspects of building a bear. As a matter of fact, General Sarge has two hearts too! One that PFC Ben Jeffrey put in when he was nine and one from his Nana who built herself a bear the same day!

    As General Sarge always says – “Two paws up!”

    Dr. Rus

  • Tracy Bonzo

    I built my first Build-A-Bear Workshop bear at the age of 21. My Daddy (“adopted” unofficially with love) works part-time at our local store. Every time I go to get a new furry friend, I always make sure that Daddy is the one to stuff and he always adds an extra heart from him and Mum.

  • S

    I go with my boyfriend to make bears on special days. We just went I couple months ago to make a third one. But every time we go in we make the heart special together and we both make a wish and kiss the heart. It’s so sweet that he lets me relive my favorite memory when I was a kid and makes it even more special.

  • patricia

    the first time i went to build a bear was 3 years ago with my youngest daughter i just went for the second time with all my girls we each stuffed two bears each including two bears each for my twins my girls loved it as much as i did although i think i acted more like a kid than they did its such a great experience and leaves you debating which bear you want that visit and making plans on how many visits your making to get the rest

    • mollysaunders

      I’m so glad you have enjoyed your visits with us, Patricia! It’s amazing how making a new furry friend truly brings out the child in all of us.

      • jenny

        yup i had taken my kids many times to make bears for them and daddy and grandma and everyone then finally one day my mom took me!!! i was soo excited and no one else got anything that day but me:)

  • Melissa Cardwell

    My daughters animals always get 3 hearts 1 from her, 1 from moommy, anf 1 from daddy that way she has all our love in every animal she has.

    • mollysaunders

      Hi Melissa, That’s a great idea, and such a sweet way to make sure she has your love with her wherever she may go in life. Thanks for commenting! Come back soon! – Molly Saunders, Digital Bear

  • Jeanine

    I am a birthmom and on my son’s 21st birthday, my two other children took me to Build A Bear Workshop and selected a bear for me. Maddie has three hearts, one heart was put in to represent the son I had given up for adoption, and my other two children each added a heart. When I asked them about the wishes they made, they told me it was for me to meet their half-brother. Long story short, I met my birthson 5 weeks later… During our second visit, the four of us went to BABW where we each found another bear, each made with four hearts, all with wonderful wishes for new things to come!

  • Karen Leazer

    My daughter is 11 and has over 35 bears. That is alot of hearts! She loves and plays with each and every one of them. She likes it when a heart benefits a specific charity. Keep up the good work.

  • Me and my mom «

    […] there was no place I’d rather be. I worked at the front desk as the First Impressions Bear at World Bearquarters for a while before finding my place with our amazing Digital Team. My mom works here as the […]

  • donomeg123

    i have alot of bears and the heart is one of my fave parts mostly because it is sooo sweet it just brings your bear to life, i have made atleast 10 bears so far

  • donomeg123

    i love it i have atleast 10 bears so i really like the lil ceremony

  • Holly and wolfie

    I will never forget the day i got wolfie. As you have guessed he is a WWF wolf! I agree with the people that say the heart is the best bit! Wolfis heart is a satin,charity one and is packed with love and good wishes😉 i took my friend,rebecca, to build-a-bear and she got a horse named toffee. we will never forget that special day!

  • Sandy

    I will always remember when I got April my tan swirl bunny. Hey My name is Sandy I’m 13 I was 8 when I got April and It was a family moment because my mom dad and brother were with me. I got her a pretty flower dress and pink shoes she is my little diva and I now have 11 buildabears April,Mikey, Sonny, Paige, Sandy, Jessie, Alvin, Brittnie, Justin, JohnEvan, and my latest one TaraLee! I Love Build a bear and how old do I have to be to work here?

  • Top 10 things to do before October is over «

    […] Comment and let us know what you think below. We’re a company with heart and we appreciate your feedback, especially if it’s just a quick […]

  • Annalise

    Though I only have two BABWs I absolutely adore both of them🐻🐼!!!!!!!!!! Also I sleep with them EVERY night!!!!!

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