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01/09/2023

Build-A-Bear Workshop names new technology head

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Build-A-Bear Workshop has a new CTO.

Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. is appointing a new executive to help oversee its ongoing digital transformation efforts.

The specialty retailer is hiring Dara Meath as senior VP, CTO. Meath will also be a member of Build-A-Bear's senior leadership committee. Meath, who will report to Voin Todorovic, CFO of Build-A-Bear, will lead Build-A-Bear's technology team and collaborate to support the company's initiatives underlying its ongoing digital transformation. 

She brings more than 20 years of experience in various technology leadership roles to Build-A-Bear Workshop, most recently serving as divisional CIO, leader of data, digital and e-commerce at consumer health and beauty product company Conair LLC.

At Conair, Meath provided strategic direction and tactical execution guidance for global IT operations, as well as strategic planning of IT systems and process redesign. Previously, she served as VP of IT at The Camuto Group LLC.

"This hiring demonstrates our continued focus to advance our digital capabilities which have been a fundamental part of our business success contributing to record-setting profitability in 2021 and thus far in 2022,” said CFO Todorovic. “Dara has an impressive background and leadership qualities that we believe can help us achieve the next level of technological capabilities required to achieve our future strategic objectives, drive seamless guest experiences in channels where they choose to interact, and deliver sustained profitable growth for our company."

Build-A-Bear undergoes digital transformation

Build-A-Bear is pursuing a broad-based digital transformation plan that includes revamps to its e-commerce, loyalty and marketing offerings. Following are highlights from each area of Build-A-Bear’s enterprise upgrade.

Metaverse

In December 2022, Build-A-Bear began working with content creators Gamefam to launch a metaverse experience called “Build-A-Bear Tycoon” within the Roblox virtual gaming environment. Build-A-Bear Tycoon users can select, stuff, and personalize a virtual bear, build their own digital workshop, and explore an immersive metaverse environment. As users progress through the game, they will be able to unlock digital collectable bears which they can then obtain in real-life versions.

E-commerce

In recent months, Build-A-Bear has been making improvements to its site experience and infrastructure, while launching new features. The company is rolling out its new mobile-first (meaning the site is built for mobile devices and then modifies its engagement for desktop and laptop devices) e-commerce site design on Salesforce Commerce Cloud.

Supported by Deloitte Digital, upgrades include enhancements to storytelling, product showcasing, and event and promotion sharing. The new site also features faster and more seamless checkout and payment processes, and offers an improved Bear Builder 3D Workshop experience, including buy-online-pickup-in-store.

Marketing

Build-A-Bear is investing in marketing solutions including ABTasty, Cartful, Pimberly, Contentsquare, and Google Analytics 4 360, in a strategic move to expand its digital capabilities and customer personalization efforts. The company seeks to streamline the customer journey to ensure a seamless experience across channels.

Loyalty

Build-A-Bear recently launched the Salesforce Loyalty Cloud. The loyalty module provides tools that leverage information regarding purchases from the millions of members in its Bonus Club loyalty program. The retailer intends to grow customer lifetime value with the delivery of enhanced benefits and perks to shoppers.

St. Louis-based Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. operates nearly 500 interactive brick-and-mortar retail locations and several online sites. In addition, its Build-A-Bear Entertainment subsidiary creates interactive content, while the company also offers products at wholesale and in non-plush consumer categories via licensing agreements with manufacturers.

St. Louis-based Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. operates nearly 500 interactive brick-and-mortar retail locations and several online sites. In addition, its Build-A-Bear Entertainment subsidiary creates interactive content, while the company also offers products at wholesale and in non-plush consumer categories via licensing agreements with manufacturers.