Build A Bear + FAO Schwarz
My dear friend and inspiring writer Kristen Kill paid a visit to the Build a Bear workshop for a recent media event. Please take a moment to visit her sweet sweet blog over at The New York Perch.
Last Friday, my darling girl and I were able to take a tour and fully experience the grand opening of the Build- A- Bear Workshop inside of the iconic FAO Schwarz toy store here in Manhattan. The ribbon cutting event benefitted the Madison Square Boys and Girls Club and as their chairman shared about his heart for them, the faces of these children, able to walk through the new store and take a special bear home, simply lit up! It doesn’t get much better than seeing a roomful of adult volunteers and parents speak encouragement into children’s lives and share the experience of creating a special bear along side them.
After the ribbon was cut, it was our turn to see this new store for ourselves! This Build-A- Bear workshop is the first of its kind in digital innovation. Always big on the experience and memories made by guests within the Workshop itself, Build-A-Bear has implemented features throughout the store that bring this brand into a new era of technology, but will feel right at home to kids growing up in the age of the ipad.
The first step is to pick which animal you’d like to take home. Right now, there are heaps of options that celebrate the holidays, from Santa, to Rudolph and Frosty, as well as the traditional bears, bunnies and monkeys.
Next, children select a heart and add in all sorts of lovely qualities like, they’d like to embody their new friend. Our monkey happens to be happy, playful and sporty. There was also a station to add in sounds or even recorded messages.
Stuffing the monkey came next and beyond getting to stand along side the magic of this big machine we called “the fluffer,” the staff lead children through a ritual full of hand movements and hugs for their new friends before stitching them up.
Next, another new element in our digital experience: giving our new little monkey a newborn bath! Complete with touch sensitive bubbles and glubbing sounds, this bathtub was pretty cute.
The next step was to give our little a guy a name and print off a birth certificate with all his details to take home (and as my daughter mentioned, to take on flights with us, or use when we apply for his passport!)
Quite possibly the cutest part of the whole experience is still the Build- A-Bear classic: choosing an outfit for your new friend. There are limitless options that reflect your child’s interests and personality, anything from a ballerina, a fireman, or a baseball player.
Our little monkey went home with a knit cap and matching scarf, which seemed appropriate for the chilly weather that has recently hit New York, and he’s adjusting rather nicely to life in our little family.