Foundation Media Partners drives the collaboration with Odd Dot,
a division of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, to create and produce compelling content for readers of all ages
NEW YORK, April 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Build-A-Bear Entertainment, a subsidiary of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (NYSE: BBW), and Odd Dot, a division of Macmillan that publishes joyful and innovative books that inspire kids to explore, learn, develop skills and have fun, announced today a powerful new content development relationship designed to create and produce a wide offering of books inspired by the vast array of characters and stories associated with the Build-A-Bear brand.
As Build-A-Bear envisions extending its entertainment footprint further by bringing new adventures to life in different ways, this relationship with Macmillan, a publisher known the world over for the creation of innovative and engaging content, is a natural next step. Odd Dot will expand the reach of beloved intellectual properties by creating board books, picture books, chapter books, sticker and activity books which will bring Build-A-Bear characters and stories to life across multiple genres for a wide age range of readers. These properties include the popular Build-A-Bear product line Honey Girls, currently seen as a live action feature film on Netflix, as well as the upcoming Christmas 2023 film Glisten and the Merry Mission, based on Build-A-Bear’s multi-million dollar holiday offering.
Build-A-Bear has been captivating guests and audiences with its unique approach to the creative process and storytelling since its inception in 1997, when the company disrupted the toy and plush industry and was simultaneously credited for being a pioneer of experiential retail where consumers could make their own stuffed animals. As the brand rose to iconic status over the past 25 years, Build-A-Bear has also developed a rich library of intellectual property, many of which have been recently translated beyond retail and plush, through the creation of content including feature film and music. With 225 million "furry friends" sold over the last quarter century, each representing a unique memory and a special story, the brand has also created millions of heartfelt relationships spanning generations of kids and adults.
Build-A-Bear has been executing a strategic corporate evolution which includes a dynamic digital transformation, an expanded multi-channel business model, the extension of the addressable market and the reimagination of the company’s entertainment division, all aligned with the continuation of its the mission to bring a little more heart to life. The company intends to continue and expand its high engagement touchpoints and creative content. By driving this strategy, Build-A-Bear has continued to deliver profitable growth, recently reporting record breaking financial results by ending fiscal 2022 with the highest profitability in the company’s history on top of having delivered record profitability in the previous fiscal year as well.
"Storytelling and creativity have always been at the center of the Build-A-Bear experience, each personalized furry friend created by our guests celebrates unique stories, and our partnership with Macmillan, allows us to share new ways for guests to interact with their beloved and favorite Build-A-Bear characters by bringing them to life through stories, books and activities We are delighted to expand the love and appeal of our brand and encourage further creativity for children, tweens and teens," said Sharon Price John, President and Chief Executive Officer of Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Odd Dot Publisher Nathalie LeDu will oversee the line for Macmillan, and Foundation Media Partners, who orchestrated and structured the deal, will be overseeing operations for Build-A-Bear.
"We’re thrilled to be partnering with Build-A-Bear," says Nathalie Le Du, Publisher of Odd Dot. "Their experiential retail locations and hands-on approach to storytelling could not have been a more natural fit for Odd Dot’s expertise in imaginative play, creating one-of-a-kind novelty experiences, and family-friendly activities. The ethos of connection and creativity will be at the core of all the books Odd Dot dreams up with Build-A-Bear."
"Because of their reputation for innovative and engaging content that inspires kids and kids at heart to explore, learn, and have fun, we were confident from the beginning that Odd Dot and Macmillan would be the perfect match for Build-A-Bear," said Patrick Hughes, founder and CEO of Foundation Media Partners. "As we continue to strategically extend the widening entertainment footprint of the Build-A-Bear brand, it is crucial to have the right partners who understand the importance of integrating brands and traditional entertainment through the creation of engaging content designed to impact the market in unprecedented ways.”
This partnership between Build-A-Bear and Macmillan marks a significant milestone for both companies. As one of the top five publishers in the world, Macmillan’s ability to secure such a powerful retail partner is a testament to its reputation and influence in the industry. Few retailers have the reach to offer publishers the kind of exposure and sales potential that Build-A-Bear can provide. By tapping into Build-A-Bear’s vast, loyal customer base and leveraging its industry-leading footprint, and leaning into Macmillan’s already established reach and impact in the market, these companies will together cement their positions as a leading player in the publishing industry. For both, this groundbreaking partnership is sure to drive significant growth and revenue.
ABOUT BUILD-A-BEAR ENTERTAINMENT
Build-A-Bear Entertainment, a division of Build-A-Bear Workshop, the IP-based company best known for its memorable and unique ‘build-your-own’ retail concept, has been actively creating a variety of content while cultivating the right relationship for its big screen debut. The company has produced several feature-length films in conjunction with Foundation Media Partners, including Honey Girls, Deliver By Christmas and Christmas CEO. Upcoming projects include a partnership with Hello Sunshine on a reimagined Goldilocks and the Three Bears film, and the holiday film Glisten and the Merry Mission featuring Build-A-Bear’s iconic holiday characters is set to release in 2023. Separately, the highly anticipated documentary from award-winning director Taylor Morden, which chronicles the compelling journey of Build-A-Bear’s rise from a 1997 retail-tainment start-up, to a successful multi-million dollar public company, to its current evolution and digital transformation into a multi-generational, diversified, omni-channel organization that posted its most profitable years in 2021 and 2022, will also be released later this year.
ABOUT BUILD-A-BEAR WORKSHOP, INC. (NYSE: BBW)
Build-A-Bear is a multi-generational global brand focused on its mission to "add a little more heart to life" appealing to a wide array of consumer groups who enjoy the personal expression in making their own "furry friends" to celebrate and commemorate life moments. Nearly 500 interactive brick-and-mortar experience locations operated through a variety of formats provide guests of all ages a hands-on entertaining experience, which often fosters a lasting and emotional brand connection. The company also offers engaging e-commerce/digital purchasing experiences on buildabear.com including its online "Bear-Builder", the animated "Bear Builder 3D Workshop" and its age-gated, adult-focused "Bear Cave". In addition, extending its brand power beyond retail, Build-A-Bear Entertainment, a subsidiary of Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc., is dedicated to creating engaging content for kids and adults that fulfills the company’s mission, while the company also offers products at wholesale and in non-plush consumer categories via licensing agreements with leading manufacturers. Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. posted total revenue of $467.9 million in fiscal 2022. For more information, visit the Investor Relations section of buildabear.com
ABOUT MACMILLAN PUBLISHING
Macmillan Publishers is the U.S. trade division of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, a large family-owned media company headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. Its publishing companies include prominent imprints around the world that publish a broad range of award-winning books for children and adults in all categories and formats.
U.S. publishers include Celadon Books, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Flatiron Books, Henry Holt & Company, Macmillan Audio, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, The St. Martin’s Publishing Group, and Tor Publishing Group. In the UK, Australia, India, and South Africa, Macmillan publishes under the Pan Macmillan name. The German company, Holtzbrinck Deutsche Buchverlage, includes among its imprints S. Fischer, Kiepenheuer & Witsch, Rowohlt, and Droemer Knaur. Us.macmillan.com
ABOUT ODD DOT
Odd Dot is a publisher of innovative books in formats of all kinds, for kids of all ages. With titles that range from trend-setting sticker compendiums, to educational workbooks, to definitive outdoor field guides, to toy-like board book novelty, and beyond, Odd Dot’s mission is to create joyful books for curious minds–and have fun doing it. You can learn more about the imprint’s books on www.odddot.com or by following along on social media @odddotbooks.
ABOUT FOUNDATION MEDIA PARTNERS
Foundation’s clients and executive team have produced a number of commercially successful and award-winning films for major studios and independent financiers. Foundation’s slate includes movies from some of the most prolific filmmakers in the world, cultivating some of today’s most dynamic and cutting edge new voices. Recent titles include THE BAD GUYS, based on the best-selling book franchise by Aaron Blabey, which was released in 2022 and went on to become one of the highest grossing films of the year by Dreamworks Animation and Universal Pictures; THELMA THE UNICORN, based on another best-selling book franchise by Blabey, is currently in production with director Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) for Netflix; DELIVER BY CHRISTMAS, which was Build-A-Bear Entertainment’s first film with Hallmark released in Fall of 2020; and HONEY GIRLS, the first Build-A-Bear Entertainment feature film for Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions, based on Build-A-Bear Workshop’s pop music trio and released in 2021. Over the last five years, Foundation Media partners and clients have over 40 million books in print.
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SOURCE Build-A-Bear Workshop