Preface-Father forgive me for the bear puns in this post, but I had a beary pawsome time at the workshop. I promise to say 10 Hail Marys and I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to try my best to pun no more.
On June 24th and 25th I had the privilege of attending the beary first ever Brand Building Workshop at Build-A-Bear in St Louis, MO along with twenty five other bloggers . I arrived at Build-A-Bear Bearquarters with a great deal of curiosity. What was planned for us during our two day conference? What went on beyond the doors of Bear University? I felt very much like Roald Dahl's Charlie in the Gene Wilder version of Willy Wonka, because face it, Johnny Depp scared the begeezus out of me in the remake.
I came away from the conference feeling empowered, with a greater sense of self worth. I was able to interact with other bloggers who were happy to share their blogging skills with me. I spent two days in the company of people who got it. People who paid meticulous attention to detail. People who understood that bloggers are journalists and that our voices as media moms are an invaluable tool in cybear marketing. People that know that no matter who we are we can all learn from one another. People who extended an enormous amount of hospitality and generosity in the name of friendship.
I learned that even in these troubled times, great things are possible with love, hard work and a strong belief in your dreams. Big things start small. Branding is not just a logo, it's storytelling, it's about becoming a club people want to belong to. Detail matters!
But Build-A-Bear isn't just about the stuffed animals or the experience at one of the stores. Build-A-Bear is beary committed to supporting charitable causes that improve the lives of children, families and animals. They are making a difference in the community through programs like Huggable Heroes. Build-A-Bear also provides support for children in literacy and education programs such as summer reading programs, early childhood education programs and literacy programs for children with special needs.
It's no wonder that Build-A-Bear was named to Fortune's "100 Best Companies To Work For" list for the second year in a row!
Founder, Maxine Clark, nailed it when she said, "Being a friend to a child is the greatest gift of all."
Disclaimer-I was invited to visit Build-A-Bear Workshop and my travel and hotel accommodations/expenses were paid for by Build-A-Bear. I was given gift certificates and other gifts, but they in no way swayed my opinion nor was I asked to write a post about my trip. I cannot place a dollar value on the tremendous amount of personal growth that I experienced as a result of my visit.