Build-A-Bear Names New Chief Marketer as Brand Evolves Beyond the Mall

Julia Fitzgerald, new Chief Marketing Officer of Build-A-Bear Workshop

Build-A-Bear Workshop has appointed Julia Fitzgerald as its new Chief Marketing Officer with the goal of further driving the company’s profitable growth through the “strategic evolution of the company and monetization of the powerful brand equity.” 

Fitzgerald will be a member of Build-A-Bear’s senior leadership team, reporting directly to CEO Sharon Price John. She joins the company after holding senior-level positions at Sylvan Learning, Sears, VTech, Hallmark, and most recently as CMO at The American Lung Association. In her new role, she will lead Build-A-Bear’s brand communications, integrated marketing, public relations and creative services, while also integrating the company’s cause marketing efforts in conjunction with the Build-A-Bear Foundation.

The company pointed to its leadership team — which now also includes newly appointed CTO Dara Meath — as “instrumental” to Build-A-Bear’s success in the past two years, with both 2021 and 2022 marking the company’s most profitable years ever, respectively. The company also generates 10 billion media impressions annually.

“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 Price John in a statement. “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.”

In addition to Fitzgerald’s appointment, Build-A-Bear also has brought on Lisa Licht in a consultative role to focus on expanding and driving value for the brand across entertainment, licensing, corporate partnerships and long-range strategy. Licht is a licensing and toy industry veteran who is a Senior Advisor at the Boston Consulting Group and was most recently the CMO of Live Nation Concerts. She has also held senior executive positions at Yahoo!, Hasbro, Fox Entertainment and Mattel.

“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,” added Price John. “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 touch points to a variety of consumers.”