My stepdaughter and I went to the Build A Bear store at the Independence Mall in Kingston. Neither of us had ever done one, although years ago I went to a teddy bear factory to make a bear in San Francisco, but it was a factory in the industrial part of town, not a gaily lit store in a shopping mall. Just for grins I googled the Basic Brown Bear Factory in SF and apparently they sued Build A Bear for copyright infringement. So there you go.
I didn't take pics of the store or the process; I wasn't sure if that was allowed. But you go in and there are bins of unstuffed and ADORABLE animals. I could spend so much money making toys. After you pick your animal, you can have things like a scent chip put inside, and even a heart that beats when the toy is hugged. Those are extra. We didn't get them. But you do get a heart that you pick out from a couple of designs. You are then instructed to kiss the heart, hold it to your own heart, then to your head to make a wish for your new pet. Then the lady told us to kiss each other's heart too, I think for good luck and love. The heart is placed inside, along with a tracking number so if your toy is lost, it can be scanned and the owner found! Then she places the toy over a nozzle and you step on a pedal and the stuffing goes inside. After it's stuffed, it's sewn shut. Next you take it over to the 'grooming' station where you step on a pedal and hold the toys under what looks like a shower nozzle but it blows air and you use brushes to fluff their fur all nice.
After that, you shop for clothes and accessories and Oh. My. God. The cutest outfits ever. After you've chosen the clothes, you go to the computer to make the official Birth Certificate, then the toy is placed into a box house, which can also be coloured.
I named my bear Russell, of course.
I couldn't resist getting the little monster on the left; he was already stuffed. I named him Iggy, and that's Russell Bear. I had a totally different outfit on him then I spied the denim shirt and beige pants set which is how my Russell dresses. AREN'T THEY ADORABLE?!?! Totes Adorbs, as the kids say these days. Totes M'goats, even.
This is Val's bear, Edmund, or 'Mundy'. She did a great job of accessorizing him too!
Lookit the ickle sneakers!!!! SQUEEEEEE!
I cannot recommend this enough. Can it be pricey? Yes, but it's worth every penny.