People tend to ask me a lot of questions while working, so why not answer some more!

Edit: I'm now leaving for my class, which ends later tonight. Once I get home, I will be able to post proof.

Edit: Proof.

Comments: 394 • Responses: 77  • Date: 

bb_or_not_bb99 karma

I went into Build-A-Bear as a teenager to make a bear for my boyfriend. This question has haunted me for ages.

Is it really necessary for the person building the bear to jump up and down with the little fabric heart while thinking happy thoughts?

Or did my builder just ask me to do that because he wanted to see my boobs bounce?

rubythehermit101 karma

Yes, it is necessary. Especially for girlfriends. We don't really have a good view of boobies anyway from sitting down there.

nattakunt79 karma

Where can I buy the bears soul

rubythehermit111 karma

You can't buy the soul, silly. You create the soul. Every bear builder goes through a heart ceremony as they stuff their bear, which is where you give all your love and life to your new best friend.

If you wanna buy one, go to the Hallmark store downstairs.

nattakunt22 karma

What's the material that they're stuffed with?

rubythehermit54 karma

It is some sort of synthetic cotton that is separated to make it poofier through the stuff machine tubes. Over time, the poofy deflates, which causes a lot of customers to come back and have us restuff, which we do free of charge.

LizE11030719 karma

Don't forget to tell them how it comes in that Half ton bale that (at least to me) is scary as hell to open.

rubythehermit21 karma

They didn't tell me it was so terrifying when I first tried to open one. I think it's some sort of initiation process.

IHeartJolene11 karma

When we made one, we made sure to rub the heart on everyones crotch so that it would be a total pimp.

rubythehermit8 karma

Wow, how inappropriate for a children's store. Risky. Frisky. I like it.

Good_Kid_Mad_City8 karma

i bet you love disney.

rubythehermit19 karma

Meh. We're right next to a disney store. You won't catch me in there in my free time.

davidrico773 karma

Wait, is there a Disney store next to every Build-A-Bear?

rubythehermit3 karma

I don't know, is there?

raziphel58 karma

Have you ever yelled "KALI MA! KALI MA!" then reached into the bear and pulled it's heart out?

rubythehermit9 karma

No, but make sure you tell me it's you if I ever build your bear for you. I'll do it for ya. I'll be sure to use it on other people too! Thanks for the idea.

vwbob48 karma


rubythehermit70 karma


poky2340 karma

Would it be a wise choice to stash my Build--a-Bear with illegal substances?

What is your favorite part of working at this store?

rubythehermit47 karma

Probably not, but if you end up with a cool associate like me who helps you build your bear, you might get away with it! We can put things other than our merchandise in the bears if you bring them in.

I enjoy picking out outfits for people's bears, and repairing old bears. Also, making a shy little kid smile and giggle will make anyone's day awesome.

evilmrtophat21 karma

Could you put $1k in a build-a-bear?

rubythehermit30 karma

Yeah, as long as you give me a tip for it.

evilmrtophat24 karma

Does the 15% tipping rule still apply?

rubythehermit52 karma

Hey man, I thought it was 20%!

SupremeLifter33 karma


rubythehermit14 karma

You're awesome!

InkonWater31 karma

have you ever gone inside the stuffing machine and just swam in it?

rubythehermit80 karma

Yeah, I've tried but my manager yelled at me.

MrPoliceGaming30 karma

Has anyone ever tried to make a sex bear?

rubythehermit72 karma

No, but people have tried to make sex(y) bears. Like with just panties and a biker jacket. People are weird.

Linkio23 karma

Following on from this, what's the weirdest bear you've seen made?

rubythehermit77 karma

Eh, probably just that. Also, we have different sounds for certain animals, like monkey sounds, horse, etc. People have put a different animal sound into their bear or other animal. For instance, if someone got a monkey, they put in a cow sound.

The bears I've seen that are naked are pretty weird too. Like once they're stuffed, they look weird by themselves. It's Build-A-Bear for crying out loud. Dey goodies is showin'.

OmegaWhoopiGoldberg23 karma

On an average day, do you see more children with their parents? Or boyfriends buying bears for their girlfriends?

rubythehermit61 karma

Average day: children with their parents. The store is generally aimed towards 2-13 year old girls. On major holidays, we get an equal mix. When boyfriends come in, I make them do jumping jacks and push-ups.

gunner69644 karma

It's like Build-a-bear boot camp.

rubythehermit39 karma

When people come in that possess any indication that they are in the military, I make them do 5 push-ups.

Zombiefun7 karma

3 count or regular?

rubythehermit11 karma

Regular, I typically have a line behind them. Gotta keep that moving.

yannyboy10021 karma

Every Build a Bear i go to, i try to sneak some of those free hearts that you guys put in the bears, i ask the employees, but they dont give a shit, and i collect some of those hearts. How many could i take before the store and or employees see me as an asshole?

rubythehermit25 karma

We probably throw away twice as many as you collect at the end of the day from them being dropped on the floor. No one will ever care. As long as you don't hide them in random places, like the sound or ribbon drawers.

icys17 karma


rubythehermit59 karma

The heart only gives the bears life, the bear loves the child, not the heart. Duh. Logic.

AaronM9720 karma

Why don't you have weapons? Godfather-bear isn't as threatening with a sparkly lightsaberz

rubythehermit23 karma

We do have lightsabers.

AaronM9711 karma

I know but how come no actual swords or firearms?

rubythehermit13 karma

Well, it is a children's aimed store... I suppose if we have syringes, lightsabers, and cop costumes, we should have those things. Write to Maxine Clark!

AaronM9748 karma

Syringes? My bear has been living his life as a drunk when he could have been high?

rubythehermit23 karma

That's the spirit!

looney8220 karma

So I went in about 3 and a half years ago to my local Build-A-Bear because I was deploying to Iraq again and my wife was pregnant with my daughter. I got a monkey for my daughter with a little sound thing that I recorded. The only people in the whole place were me and the girl that built her monkey. She still had me do all the same stuff as everyone else I've ever seen, all the jumping jacks and push ups. Is that normal? I felt like a goofball doing all that stuff in a pretty empty store for just one person.

rubythehermit11 karma

Yeah, it's normal. Why wouldn't it be? She probably knew you were in the military!!!

AbortionHeadbutt19 karma

Is it true that if you put the heart in upside down, the bear will be possessed by Satan?

rubythehermit29 karma

No, they'll just get really bad cases of heartburn once in a while.

AbortionHeadbutt13 karma

What would I have to do to get a satanic build-a-bear?

rubythehermit29 karma

Bring in red fingerpaint and incorporate writing 666 on the forehead of your bear while doing the heart ceremony. Then run around the store screaming, "OOGALOOGALOOGALOO!!!" until you pass out.

AbortionHeadbutt16 karma

Put that on my to-do list. Thanks

rubythehermit9 karma

My pleasure!

AbortionHeadbutt8 karma

Your grace in response to my idiocy means you must be a truly inspiring prescience to the young customers in your shop. You should train to be a primary teacher. It's hard work, but you'll enjoy it.

rubythehermit15 karma

Thanks, but I like animals more than kids. I'm going to school to be a vet!

cutesychu19 karma

Just wanted to say thanks for what you do. It may seem weird, but build-a-bear made a huge difference in my life at one point. My boyfriend was in the Navy and it was the first time I saw him in six months. He took me to build-a-bear and the lady that stuffed my bear/put the heart in was so nice and sweet. She told me to spin around and make a wish and then she put the heart in. It was a really wonderful experience. I hope you're the same with your customers!

rubythehermit28 karma

I try to be. I make an effort to put my personal baggage out the window every time I go into work and put a smile on people's faces. Thanks for your existence!

And1Ellis19 karma

This thread is so full of love, it's adorable.

rubythehermit51 karma

And sexual oddities, don't forget sexual oddities.

tulsaslut17 karma

I have a favorite stuffed animal friend, but its not from Build-a-Bear, any chance i can go to my local store and get him stuffed/fluffy again?

rubythehermit24 karma


SWgeek100566 karma

Is it free to do so or do you have to pay again for the new material?

rubythehermit14 karma

'Tis free.

kayemm3614 karma

Have you ever had a kid freak out in the store because they didn't get what they wanted? If so, tell us the story.

rubythehermit33 karma

Yes. One night, right before closing, a family came in. We let them even though they had maybe 2 minutes to make something. It was one of the little girls' birthdays.

All the little girls made a bear, the supervising adults were being extremely frugal. The cousin to the birthday girl freaked out because she couldn't get certain items: a cell phone, purse, pajamas. She started having the WORST temper tantrum I've ever seen, and she wasn't even the birthday girl. She sounded like someone was torturing her, and she was just running around the store.

Naturally, I intervened and asked what was going on. The little girl came up to me, tears in her eyes, grabbed my leg, and said, "SHE WON'T LET ME HAVE IT!!! CAN I HAVE IT?!" I didn't really know how to respond to that, so I had her go look at our free ribbons. She declined and started screaming more. Tried giving her stickers, didn't do anything.

Throughout this whole ordeal, her mom/aunt/whatever wasn't responding to anything or doing ANYTHING about this. The entire time she just said "That's enough, we're not getting that." My manager and I ended up staying there about an extra 45 minutes. When they finally left, the girl was still crying, and I could hear her even as they were exiting the mall. It echoes pretty badly in there.

Moral of the story: if you're taking your child to Build-A-Bear, have some money to spend. Don't go in expecting your child to be ok with you not wanting to spend money on something they really want.

fancynarwhal13 karma

my dad just came back from the US with my very first build-a-bear (the Harajuku panda, if you're wondering) - my question is, is it awkward when 40/50 year-old men are amongst all the little girls making bears or do you just assume they're making them for their own children?

my dad is a really sweet guy but i always wonder whether he felt awkward or judged for going inside the store and getting me a bear...

rubythehermit19 karma

No, he might have felt a little awkward, but no he shouldn't have been judged. That's typically the case.

There are men who come in and build for themselves. And that kind of gives me weird vibes, if we're being honest here.

LittleKey12 karma

I've never been inside a build-a-bear and have no idea how it works. I imagine a lot of whirring machinery, giant spinning gears, and magic.

Anyway, my question is, how much does it cost? I assume it's very expensive.

rubythehermit22 karma

Our least expensive bear is $10. It is up to you how much you want to add from there. Our sounds range from $4-$8, and we just got in these things called Scentiments, which are discs that make your bear smell like things, which goes for $3. We also have heartbeats, which have a mechanism you can squeeze and it makes a vibration go off inside your bear reminiscent to a heartbeat of course. This goes for $5.

The outfits are all over the place. We have t-shirts, full outfits, pants, panties, purses, PJs, other accessories. Most of our full outfits are $12.50. It really depends on what you want and how much you're willing to pay for it.

We also have Smallfrys, which are smaller versions of our skins. They also have their own teeny, tiny outfits. Those are also $10.

Keep in mind Build-A-Bear is a worldwide corporation, so prices may vary by location.

N1ghtshade312 karma

Hi, I just wanted to let you know that this thread made my night. I'm laying (lying?) in bed laughing like an idiot at some of your responses. Go write a book or something. Seriously.

rubythehermit22 karma

You're such a sweetie poo. I will name my book "Shades of Night" in honor of you.

Turian-Consort11 karma

I once tried to get a job at build a bear when i was looking for a job and while i was waiting for a interview and that whole bit i got a call back from taco johns and they hired me i was glad and mad at the same time i know how to sew and i make my son and girlfriend stuffed animals all the time. So my question is how hard is it for a male to get a job at a build a bear i always see females work there.

rubythehermit20 karma

Right now, all my coworkers are female. Before I was hired, I know there were two males working there, and our district manager is also a man. We're not gender biased! But they do value bubbly personalities, which they sometimes give me a hard time about. I am not bubbly, but parents love me.

Oscarmw10 karma


rubythehermit71 karma

You guys may have some issues.

semioccasional10 karma

As someone with social anxiety, this heart ceremony sounds terrifying.

sarah-bellum5 karma

Employees usually get a pretty good read on what kind of person they're dealing with and adjust accordingly. When I worked there, if someone looked really uncomfortable, I'd often get other people to participate (ie. have the whole line-up of people do stuff alongside them) or shorten it down so it only lasted about 30 seconds. A person who really seemed to be enjoying themselves would get a much longer, more involved ceremony (especially if there were a couple of them doing it together - a parent and child or a boyfriend and girlfriend, for example).

Basically the employees just want you to have a good time. Happy people buy more! They'll try not to make you uncomfortable if they can help it.

rubythehermit5 karma

Exactly this.

Krnxrat8 karma

What is this I hear about ponies and Build a Bear?

rubythehermit11 karma

We have ponies, we have bears. And a lot of other animals coming in and out. Is that what you heard?

MethJordan7 karma

I know this is a children themed store, but what is the creepiest customer you've ever had?

rubythehermit12 karma

A smelly old man in a green jacket came in to build one for himself. He didn't say anything, just smiled, and walked very oddly. He didn't get any clothing, just built and paid. I thought that was creepy.

nickipps7 karma

When you order bears online, does someone at the factory kiss the heart?

rubythehermit6 karma

Yes, you have to order it unstuffed and you're welcome to bring it to any store and stuff it there!

latintng7 karma

Nice AMA, I have just 3 questions.
1.-Is build a bear profitable in this economy, do you sell enough bears and accessories to justify salaries and the rent of the place.

2.-What challenges do you see for build a bear in the future.

3.-Do you love your job :)


rubythehermit9 karma

I think it is very profitable, people are always making babies and making memories. We always make a goal and try our best to upsell everything.

Build-A-Bear is progressing with the times, so I don't see many challenges. Perhaps later on, children won't enjoy stuffed animals. That will cause a problem.

I do.

JimmyVega7 karma

Whats the interview process like. It's just every time I've been there the staff are really bubbly, friendly and great with kids. Have you ever gone to work hungover and just been like 'NOT TODAY'.

rubythehermit17 karma

It consisted of two interviews, one was a group, the other one-on-one. During the group interview, we all just introduced ourselves to each other, had a few discussions, and they gave us a challenge of making our own bears and creating a story behind them. We were paired up, and my partner happened to suck, so I ended up improvising the whole spiel. Needless to say, she didn't get hired.

The one-on-one interview was standard, and I got hired on the spot. Well, technically you're not hired unless you pass this integrity, employee fitness test, which anyone would pass if they had a brain cell.

I've gone in hungover and with illness. It's not fun. Caffeine and candy are your friends, and thankfully we always have plenty of candy in the backroom.

AppleBerryPoo7 karma

Is the candy free?

rubythehermit41 karma

You bet your sweet tootsie roll it is.

chadandjody4 karma

If it's tootsie roll's then that's not really candy.

rubythehermit3 karma

True. Very true. Upvote.

r_antrobus6 karma

Just wondering, how can a adult enter a build-a-bear without looking too creepy?

rubythehermit7 karma

I mean, I never think an adult looks creepy for entering a Build-A-Bear. If they were wearing a zip up hoodie with a camera and sunglasses, then ok. Fair warning.

milkysquids6 karma

Do you guys ever find it weird if teenagers make one? You guys are releasing ponies and I want to add them to my collection, but even as a girl, I'm worried it'll look creepy. ):

rubythehermit8 karma

No, they do it all the time. Just be prepared to get physical!!!

milkysquids14 karma

I don't know what you mean by "physical", but I assume it's something cute and fun!

...Or do you mean I'll be fighting bronies? ):

rubythehermit8 karma

Ya never know.

PikePlaceRoast6 karma


rubythehermit34 karma

Truth be told, a lot of people don't like Build-A-Bear. Especially parents. The music is annoying, the kids are obnoxious, and it's expensive.

The fact that someone decided to make a store for kids to make their own bears custom, and that they use the relationship made between the associate and the consumer to make sales, is kind of genius. A lot of other places use that sales technique, and it should be implemented more. I enjoy the fact that I can dance and goof off, and my superiors say I'm doing a good job just by doing that.

Now all they need to do is make a Build-A-Bra.

Themusicisforte6 karma

What kind of kids to do you get in the store that are memorable? Also, do you enjoy your job?

rubythehermit15 karma

Always the shy ones, getting them to open up to you. Sometimes I'm unsuccessful, but when I make 'em laugh, it's the greatest feeling ever.

I love my job, but sadly I will be leaving soon. They just do not give me enough hours to live off of.

cyberchief5 karma

What was the most expensive bear/animal that you've made for someone and what did it have?

rubythehermit6 karma

I can't recall the result of too many bears because I'm never working all parts of the store at once. On occasion, I will revisit a customer, but only when it's slow. I've gotten someone to purchase about $80 on clothing and accessories alone before.

Zombiefun5 karma

Whats the rudest a coistomer has ever been to you?

rubythehermit20 karma

This one girl came in to build a bear with her family, and she was by herself in line at one point because she was late meeting up with them. I was doing my whole spiel, and the entire time she was looking at her phone. No smirks, responses, nothing. She refused to do the heart ceremony. It was ridiculous.

CraftyJuly5 karma

On a scale of 1-10 (10 highest) how much do you hate the kids there?

rubythehermit15 karma


SWgeek100568 karma

How about upper teens?

rubythehermit20 karma


BEB294 karma

My bear from 2005 has a "Dodgers" Shirt. Its getting pretty ratty and I want to replace it but I live in Australia any way for me to get one?

rubythehermit5 karma

You could go on and try to find another Dodgers shirt. You probably won't find the same one, but you will probably find something similar.

Vodka_Octopus4 karma

I actually had a roommate that worked as a pattern designer for build-a-bear. Why does it take the like 6 months to get prototypes shipped out to the artists?

rubythehermit13 karma

Hey man, I just build them, okay?

triit3 karma

Do you ever have hippos?

rubythehermit4 karma

I will let you know when/if we get hippos. Promise!

VeggieLomein3 karma

I just want to show my appreciation that I built a bear for my girlfriend when we first started dating. While we're both kinda uptight and serious people, she confessed to me that she felt closer to our transexual bear after all the silly rituals y'all make us go through.

Thanks for being awesome!!!

rubythehermit3 karma

You're awesome!

Le_Dark_Flower3 karma

Ever since I was young, the heart ceremony thing humiliated me and I never wanted to do it, yet I was always forced to do it. Was always a huge downpoint of crafting a Teddy... Because back when I was young, it was TeddyCrafters, not Build-A-Bear.

Anyway, why are the hearts thrown away if they are dropped on the floor? Sanitation? I'd think that something buried inside of a bear that will likely spend a lot of time on the floor shouldn't really be held to such a standard of sanitation. As a makeup artist, I have to spray everything I drop on the floor with 99% alcohol (or throw it away), but that's because it's coming in direct contact with someone's face. I'd think a teddy heart would be fine if it was dropped on the floor.

rubythehermit3 karma

Not really sanitation, just a matter of picking up every heart you see off the floor. When I find them in other places, I put them back.

htproto3 karma

Which store do you work at? Do you have the newer sound station that lets you put in sound clips like Justin Beiber and Victoria Justice? Are you at a "Store of the Future" with the new surface tables for the nameme, loveme, fluffme? What do you think about Maxine stepping down? Who is your favorite person from BQ?

rubythehermit3 karma

I am not at a store of the future, but I wish. I'd rather keep my location undisclosed, but we are either going to be renovated and moved to another location, or we will be closed down all together beginning sometime in March.

Maxine is a great role model for us bear builders and in-store employees. I appreciate the effort she makes to touch base with each and every one of us. I actually didn't know she was stepping down. When did this happen? I've never met anyone at BQ to say!

sambchops2 karma

I had purchased a build-a-bear in high school. The guy stuffing my bear asked me if I wanted to put a heart inside my bear, i said sure, and he refused to put it in until I kissed it. What the fuck was that about, and do all of you do this?

rubythehermit5 karma



Would you guys help me fix my a really old bear from my childhood? I've had the same bear from when i was a baby, while it isn't from build a bear, I'd love to see him touched up.

rubythehermit3 karma

We can stuff and sew. Make sure you let us know if he needs particularly gentle treatment.


I was thinking about replacing some of the fur he's lost over the years. Is there anything you could do to replace certain pieces of fabric?

rubythehermit2 karma

Aw no, we can't do that :/ Wish we did though.

Sinfullybliss2 karma

Have you ever met Maxine?

rubythehermit2 karma

No, but I'd love to!

jolavia2 karma

That place is still in business? Lol. Damn.

rubythehermit1 karma

It fluctuates.

poophead1122 karma

Why can the bears not hold together better?

rubythehermit7 karma

I don't really understand the question, but if you've made a bear and it became torn or worn out over time, then come on by a store and we'll fix it up for you.

poophead1123 karma

Its more like everytime i get one (which isnt often anymore) they have unraveled within a week. And that is not even with rough use.

rubythehermit5 karma

Perhaps they are not tying it well enough. You can't just do a double knot with these things. But no seriously, bring them back to the store and get them stitched up.

curvedbanana2 karma

As I understand the process you can put your voice into the bears. What has been the strangest thing you've had to record?

rubythehermit2 karma

I don't record them, I teach them how to do it themselves. All of the ones I've put in have been generally normal thankfully!

MaybeNotStig1 karma

Are there any S&M bear outfits? I would be interested in a full leather Gimp bear.

rubythehermit6 karma

You could try Build-a-Bondage on the outskirts of town.

Neggler0 karma

Have you ever had women around the age of 40+ go in on their own and do all the jumping jacks and little routines in the middle of the store?

The only reason why i'm asking is because my mother spontaneously went in and i was waiting outside because i was too embarrassed to walk in with her. Only to watch my mum embarrass herself. I could even see the look of horror on the employees face because she wasn't sure if she was messing around or actually has the mentality of a 5 year old. And don't think that I'm overreacting, but my mum does things like this all the time. 20 years old and i'm wanting to see if anybody else has suffered the same way i have.

rubythehermit3 karma

I typically make them do little routines, yes. I like it when people are enthusiastic. Much better than lame teenagers looking at their phones the whole time while I make their bear.

icys0 karma

why is it called build a BEAR when nobody even makes bears anymore? Like seriously, who would pick a creepy bear over a sparkly pony, or a cookie monster (do you still have cookie monster?)

rubythehermit2 karma

Because there originally used to be just bears, I'm guessing. Some of our bears are sparkly and cute too!

We do not have cookie monster. Didn't he turn into fruit monster?

icys4 karma

ya he did, when i was little though, my dad got me Cookie Monster from Build a Bear. It was awesome, except when I rolled over in my sleep and it woke me up screaming, "COOKIE!" not quite the most pleasant thing to awaken to... at 2 AM...

rubythehermit6 karma

Is it bad that I heard "COOKIE!" in his voice in my head?

But yeah, a lot of guests do complain about that actually.