A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a brand-building conference hosted by the nice folks at Build-a-Bear Workshop. As it turns out, I am so glad it jived with our family's schedule because it's one of the best events I've attended!
I, along with about 20 other bloggers from the midwest, were invited to take part in this inaugural series of workshops put on by Chief Executive Bear Maxine Clark and her amazingly talented and dedicated family of employees. To say that it was a privilege and an honor to meet them is an understatement! Their words of wisdom, business sense, encouragement, and their kind hearts were awe-inspiring.
Quite frankly, my head is still spinning from the wonderful things I've learned and taken from the event, but here are just the top 5 that really struck a chord with me.
- "Think of your brand as a country with its own language, rituals, and customs. Everything you do [in business] needs to reflect your culture." ~ Adrienne Weiss of Adrienne Weiss Corporation. I found this notion to be so true yet so overlooked in today's world! This principle can apply to EVERYONE, whether you are a blogger, business mogul, or a stay-at home parent setting routines and rituals for your kids and family. Defining your "culture" makes laying the foundation of everything you do so much easier!
- Build-A-Bear has dedicated SO many of its corporate resources to the safety of YOUR kids when it comes to their online playground, Build-a-Bearville. You would not believe the lengths to which they go to ensure the safety and security of all the kids who play online on their site. Build-a-Bearville has definitely been added on the approved list of online sites my kids will be able to visit now. I truly appreciate that they were so open and honest in sharing what they are doing to keep our kids safe online. I also have to add that we as parents should not just expect the companies to keep our kids safe online, but realize that online safety and etiquette starts at home, with our parental involvement and education of our kids!
- Children who are do-gooders are so inspirational! One of the highlights of my experience with this event was that I met and sat with Zach Bonner who is doing such unbelievable good in this world, and his wonderfully supportive and amazing mother, Laurie! Hearing his story and his vision has inspired me in so many ways and I have enjoyed telling my own kids about the great things he's doing to make this world a better place!
- Everyone is selling a cause, and that's a good thing! Straight from Chief Executive Bear, Maxine Clark, she reiterates the fact that we ARE all selling something. We need to believe in whatever that something is whether it be a cause, a mission, or a values system. Share it with others and don't be afraid because it is a good thing to share your values with others.
- "Remember, times flies whether you're having fun or not! SO, you might as well have fun!" ~ Mary Heston [on motherhood] of Wired Moms. As moms we all feel the pressures and stress of raising our families, having the picture perfect house, cooking a great meal, staying on top of finances, and countless other things. But, when it comes right down to it, we are moms first and foremost. Who cares how many dishes are piling up in the sink? Who cares if the kids are going to make a mess if they get out yet another craft project? I am going to try and develop this as my new mama mantra especially for summer! I absolutely love the quote she used during her presentation about kids and motherhood because I think we all get so busy that we sometimes feel "bothered" by our kids (or maybe that's just me?!) - “If your eyes light up when they walk in the room, it sends them a powerful message” – Maya Angelou
So of course all of this talk about branding and growing a business and balancing that with motherhood was intermixed with some fun! We were treated like royalty throughout the ENTIRE event, right down to the breathtakingly beautiful dinner at Maxine's house that we were able to bring our families along for! What a treat!
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.