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Build a Bear

Submitted by on July 23, 2010 – 11:49 amNo Comment

I can’t fault the staff at our local Build a Bear store, they were exceptional and made the morning a really fun experience for Flea

Buy online at: Build a Bear

From £9.99 – £50


Build a BearInitial thoughts: Flea and I were invited to try out Build a Bear this summer, and went along to our nearest store, which is at the Trafford Centre in Manchester. The basic idea of Build a Bear is that you buy a soft toy skin, stuff the bear yourself, give it a name and buy it clothes and accessories – resulting in a personalised soft toy that children can add to with further accessories as you go.

We liked: When we arrived at the store, the staff were incredibly welcoming and good with Flea – obviously, the experience of making the toy is a key part of the experience for children. Flea chose a terrier dog soft toy, which she was allowed to help stuff, by pressing down the foot pedal on the ‘fluff’ machine. She was also asked to choose a voice and a heart for her dog, which were placed inside with the stuffing.

The dog was then stitched up, brushed and ‘fluffed’ before Flea was let loose on the accessories. There was a dizzying range of outfits, themed for boys, girls, sport, TV programmes and so on. You could also choose beds, kennels and carrying cases for your soft toy. Then you make a birth certificate which officially makes the toy yours (apart from the paying for it business). Flea loved the whole experience and was thrilled with the two dogs she created – one for her and one for her cousin.

We weren’t so keen: As we were reviewing the store, we were lucky enough to get our bears for free – but if that’s not the case, I suspect Build a Bear could get expensive very quickly – Flea’s toy was £18, then there was £10 for the England t-shirt and shorts, £4 for boxer shorts and two pairs of trainers (dogs have four feet) at £5.50 each. Flea’s bear also had a skateboard accesory and helmet, at another £10.50 – bringing the total for one toy to £53.80. The second bear was dressed as a Jedi and the bear, shoes, shorts and outfit would have cost another £47. So, over £100 to buy two soft toys – I think that is ridiculously expensive, considering we had two toys each with one outfit, and just one set of accessories.

Overall: I can’t fault the staff at our local Build a Bear store, they were exceptional and made the morning a really fun experience for Flea. She loves her soft toy and so does her cousin. But at £50 apiece, I don’t think she loves it enough to make this value for money. Other experienced parents have told me the way to make Build a Bear Work is to give kids a price limit before you go into the store, and then let them spend it how they choose – so it’s possible to get a bear for £9.99 and an outfit for another £10 or so. And it helps if you buy something at Build a Bear with 2 feet, rather than 4!

[Sally, Who’s the Mummy?]

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