The Entrepreneur: Maxine Clark, 57
Background: Clark left a successful corporate career to start her own business, Build-A-Bear Workshop, then a relatively new concept in retail entertainment.
The Company: Since launching its first workshop in St. Louis in 1997, the business has expanded to 300 shops across Asia, Canada, Europe, and the U.S., with sales of $437 million. In June, Build-A-Bear Workshop helped launch Ridemakerz (BusinessWeek.com, 7/19/07) a build-your-own model toy car retailer – in which it has a major investment stake.
Her Story: I left Corporate America on a mission to bring the fun back to retailing and to give back to the industry that had been so good to me. I was 47 years old when I left Payless ShoeSource in 1996. At that time, my financial rewards in retailing were very high, but my psychic income account was nearly empty.
When I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1971, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. I needed to go to work to earn the money for law school, but I never considered it seriously once I got my feet wet in retailing.
I started out as a retail trainee with May Department Stores in Washington, D.C. Over time, I worked my way up, taking on various roles in management. During my 19 years there I was involved in everything from planning and research to marketing and product development. In 1992, I became president of Payless.
Build-A-Bear Founder: From Corporate To Entrepreneur
March 28, 2008 by Cris | 0 Comments