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03/30/2023

Build-A-Bear expands leadership team

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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Julia Fitzgerald
Julia Fitzgerald is the new chief marketing officer Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Build-A-Bear Workshop has a new marketing head.

The experiential retailer has appointed Julia Fitzgerald as chief marketing officer. She will lead the company’s focus on brand communications, integrated marketing, public relations, and creative services, while integrating its cause marketing efforts in conjunction with its 501(c)3 organization, the Build-A-Bear Foundation.

Fitzgerald brings more than 20 years of experience in creating and implementing marketing strategy, communications and brand development with a proven track record of driving digital transformations, and results, said Build-A-Bear. Most recently, from 2018 to 2023, she served as the chief marketing officer at the American Lung Association.

Prior to that, Fitzgerald held critical marketing roles in the areas of retail, toys, juvenile products, childhood education, and non-profit, with senior level positions at Sylvan Learning, Sears, Vtech and Hallmark.   

"Over the last few years, we have been building new ways to drive profitable growth as a digital, multi-channel, diversified, site-based entertainment and experience company,” said CEO Sharon Price. “As we continue to celebrate 25 years of 'adding a little more heart to life' we have strong momentum with two record-breaking years in a row. Expanding the leadership team to include this critical and strategic role will allow us to continue to build upon the special and lasting relationships we create with our guests and consumers."

"As we look forward to our next quarter century, our consumer base has expanded beyond kids with 40% of sales to teens and adults, our footprint has evolved beyond malls to tourist and hospitality areas, and our categories have extended beyond plush to include gifting, collectibles, gaming and entertainment,” Price continued. “At this juncture, it is more critical than ever for Build-A-Bear to create impactful and diversified communications and content, effectively delivered across a wide array of touchpoints to a variety of consumers.

Separately, also joining the leadership team in a consultative role is Lisa Licht, who will be focused on expanding and driving value for the brand and the company across the areas of entertainment, licensing, corporate partnerships and long-range strategy.

Licht is an entertainment, licensing and toy industry veteran who is a senior advisor at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), and was most recently the CMO of Live Nation Concerts. She also held senior executive positions at Yahoo!, Hasbro, Fox Entertainment and Mattel.

Build-A-Bear has 500 brick-and-mortar locations operated through a variety of formats. The company posted total revenue of $467.9 million in fiscal 2022. 

[Read More: Build-A-Bear Workshop creates gamified metaverse experience]