Maxine Clark

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Maxine K. Clark
Maxine Clark from Build-A-Bear at Disney Social Media Moms Conference
Clark in 2014
Maxine Kasselman

(1949-03-06) March 6, 1949 (age 72)
OccupationFounder of Build-A-Bear Workshop

Maxine Clark (née Kasselman, born March 6, 1949 in Coral Gables, Florida)[1] is the founder and former CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop, an American retailer that sells customizable teddy bears and other stuffed animals.


Clark graduated from the University of Georgia in 1971[2] with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.[3] She holds an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Saint Louis University.


In 2006, she published her first book “The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company with Heart”.

After college, she worked at Hecht's, a division of the May Company department store chain, and in 1976 was promoted to the corporate offices in St. Louis, Missouri.[4] In 1992, Clark became the president of Payless Shoe Source, and left the company in 1996.[5]

In 1997, Clark founded Build-A-Bear Workshop after being inspired during a shopping trip by a friend's 10-year-old daughter when they couldn't find a Beanie Baby they were looking for. The girl commented that they could make the toy at home and that sparked Clark's idea to create a store to make stuffed animals. Nine months later, Build-A-Bear opened its flagship store at the St. Louis Galleria mall in October 1997 and issued an initial public offering in 2004 with 140 stores.[6] [7]

In 2013, Clark, retired from Build-A-Bear, turning over the CEO's role to Sharon Price John.[7] Clark collected $1.37 million in total compensation in 2013, including a salary of $659,200, bonus and incentive pay totaling $377,138, and $144,365 in stock. She also received $160,415 for a six-month consulting contract plus $25,000 to cover her legal expenses.[7]


  1. ^ "Maxine K. Clark".
  2. ^ "UGA Alumni Association : Women of UGA : Amazing Women of UGA". Archived from the original on June 13, 2010.
  3. ^ Osborne, Kimberly. "Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop® to speak at summer commencement". UGA Today. University of Georgia.
  4. ^ Eng, Dinah (March 19, 2012). "Who Built Build-A-Bear?". Fortune. 165 (4): 49–51.
  5. ^ "Build-A-Bear's Founder Shares Her Story". Bloomberg Business Week. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved October 12, 2011.
  6. ^ "Build-A-Bear chasing growth in tourist spots amid real estate overhaul". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. October 29, 2017. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  7. ^ a b c "John makes $2.7 million as Build-A-Bear CEO". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. April 4, 2014. Retrieved February 11, 2021.

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