Saturday, 22 May 2010

Build-a-Bear Workshop® visit and review

When we recently received an invitation to visit our nearest Build-a-Bear Workshop® we didn't need to be asked twice.  Tall Daughter has been a long-time fan of Build-a-Bear, and she already has two of their bears and many (too many?) accessories to go with them.  As I've mentioned previously she's a very young ten-year-old who still plays with dolls and believes in fairies, so she was excited to take her best friend L with her today to see what was new in bear land.

And we weren't disappointed.  We visited the Build-a-Bear Workshop in Warrington, and were put in the very capable hands of Oliver - oops, no that should be OliBear - a name he proudly displayed on his name badge.  OliBear took charge straightaway and made sure the girls knew what to do.  First of all they had to select a bear from about 20 different bears:

Then the bears were taken to the fluff machine, where they were stuffed.  There was also the option for the bear to have sound, or a beating heart or just a simple little red heart which they had to kiss and make a wish on.  It was then inserted into the bear, but before the bear could be closed up the girls had to give the bears a 'cuddle test' where they hugged the bears and then said whether it needed more fluff, or if it was too hard some of the stuffing was taken out of it.  I know how that feels.

Next up was the beauty parlour where the bears had blowdries and their fur was brushed. 

Then, it was time to choose an outfit for the bears and let me tell you, this part took the longest! The two girls were whizzing around the shop looking at all sorts of outfit combinations for each bear and bringing them back to a special dressing area with a mirror.  Did they have shoes in pink?  What about a handbag to go with it?  Hairband? Sunglasses? And did that colour actually suit the bear?  Fortunately, they had their very own Gok Wan for bears on hand - OliBear, who knew what was what.  "Oh, shoes definitely make an outfit" he told the girls, before rushing off and coming back with different shoe options.  The two girls loved him, he was so attentive, fun and seemed genuinely interested in their choices and definitely made their visit that bit more special.

After the lengthy debates over clothes, the bears needed their very own birth certificate and this was done on a computer screen and then printed out to take home.

And here are the finished bears.  Glitter is on the left and Fudge is on the right.  I think the whole concept of Build-a-Bear is very clever, and I think it's fair to say that TD and her friend enjoyed today's visit just as much as they did on previous visits when they were younger. 

We'd like to thank Build-a-Bear for inviting us to their store, and a special thank-you to OliBear who is definitely a Bear's best friend.