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Build-A-Bear is a stuffed teddy bear and animal retailer. The Build-A-Bear franchise in the UK is part of a well-known global brand that owns more than 400 retail outlets all over the world. It operates not only in the UK but in the USA, throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East and other countries, such as Mexico and Australia.
Customers have the unique opportunity to enjoy an interactive, entertainment process when creating their stuffed animals. They go through a variety of stages to “assemble” and customise their own stuffed animal: they can select the item that they would like to purchase and witness it being stuffed by a large machine.
Shop assistants help with selection and the purchase of add-ons, and touch screens are integral to the experience. Customers can shop by category of animal, ranging from traditional teddy bears and unicorns to horses and dinosaurs or they can choose from customised collections.
The Build-A-Bear Workshop products include a range of brands that are familiar to children, such as Star Wars, Barbie, My Little Pony, Thomas & Friends, Mickey and Minnie Mouse and so on.
Children can also purchase clothing and accessories for their new toys. The Build-A-Bear Franchise is the biggest toy retail organisation that offers such product interactivity in the UK. The company’s products are also sold online through its e-commerce sites. Build-A-Bear shops appeal to children but also to parents and grandparents, teens and adult collector consumers.
How does the Build-A-Bear franchise model work?
The Build-A-Bear franchise can deal with the challenge of new teddy bear mobile franchises as it has a distinctive, established store execution model based on strong interactive service product practices. This style extends to websites, teddy bear mobile business apps and social media. This store model is enhanced by a commitment to offering premium high-quality products that are always in line with current trends.
Build-A-Bear tends to emphasise innovative marketing practices. For example, it has continued to promote its effective “buy your age” promotion. This offer entices children and their families into the store on their birthdays to have the opportunity to celebrate that date by counting their candles and getting a good deal on selected products. The offer is only open to Build-A-Bear Bonus Club members, which is free to join. The marketing encourages long-term loyalty, additional purchases and has generated excellent sales for franchisees.
The Build-A-Bear franchise has a very strong reputation for an outstanding work culture. Employees enjoy a fun working environment where teamwork is vital. Stores usually have young staff, often in their first jobs, who benefit from reward incentives for extra effort and high achievement. This, in turn, encourages a high level of customer service.
Why do customers choose Build-A-Bear over other toy stores?
When considering which franchise to choose, the Build-A-Bear franchise stands out from the competition due to its proven model of business success. The interactive shopping experience whereby the customer moves through stages of entertainment from the selection of the animal “skin” to the Stuff Me station through several other stations, including Dress Me and Name Me, ensures that the customers have a fun, engaging experience that is also highly lucrative for the business.
The combination of entertainment and shopping has encouraged a positive relationship with its customers which is evident in its responsiveness to feedback. It has used feedback to establish preferences and increase margins by giving people what they want.
Potential franchisees are also investing in a brand with a very strong merchandising experience. Build-A-Bear is built upon the licencing of well-known children’s brands and the sale of related bear-themed items.
Build-A-Bear franchisees also benefit from the support of a very strong, experienced and disciplined management team.
What does Build-A-Bear expect of its franchisees?
Build-A-Bear is looking for experienced individuals who have strong experience in retail or franchising. Franchisees will have to live in the territory and local knowledge will also be important, especially in terms of the real estate market of the proposed area. The potential franchisee will be expected to push the Build-A-Bear brand in their territory. Other resources, such as a warehouse, logistics and other forms of business support will also be favourably assessed by the franchisor.
How much does a Build-A-Bear franchise cost in the UK?
The price of a Build-A-Bear franchise is in the region of £3-£9 million pounds, depending on the size of their operation.
The investor will have an operating system to run the business and will also have access to the purchasing power of all the Build-A-Bear outlets across the globe. The franchisee will also benefit from comprehensive product development support and the provision of full brand store design, including all fittings, units, signage and Build-A-Bear equipment.
Where are Build-A-Bear stores currently located?
Given its success, it is perhaps not surprising how many stores Build-A-Bear has in the UK at present: 54. These can be found in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
What level of financial support can Build-A-Bear franchisees expect?
Build-A-Bear expects its franchisees to have substantial capital but has in the past provided interest-based loans to its international franchisees. Build-A-Bear regards such loans as an investment in the business that will also increase franchise royalties.
Do franchisees require accountacy skills?
No, but accountancy knowledge from previous retail experience will be valuable.
What training does Build-A-Bear offer its franchisees?
New franchise owners can expect a comprehensive training program that will cover every aspect of the business and that support is ongoing.
As product development is important, franchisees will learn more about ways that Build-A-Bear products can be developed, modified and reinvented. Franchisees will gain a sound understanding of all the operational aspects of running their stores.
Build-A-Bear requires quality and consistency across all outlets, so franchisees will learn the specific store economic models that have been successful, including the brand’s distinctive style of marketing. New owners can also expect to be fully briefed on technology, which is a key part of the business. The training is targeted so that franchisees can take full advantage of the Build-A-Bear Workshop brand to ensure the success and growth of the business in the territory.
When might I return a profit owning and running a Build-A-Bear franchise?
The Build-A-Bear franchise has been profitable even during economic downturns. Its franchise operations, in particular, have been successful in recent years and you can expect good returns as soon as the franchise stores are up and running.
How can I find out more about investing in a Build-A-Bear franchise?
You can contact the Build-A-Bear franchise team and receive further information by filling in the enquiry form found on this page today.
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