Today and Tomorrow

A few thoughts that may not necessarily be in any logical order:

Today I met with John Haugh, President Marketing and Merchandising Bear at Build-A-Bear Workshop. From our meeting, it is clear that John is an intelligent, interesting, capable (and funny) leader.  Sophia, another intern, and I met with him for a little over half an hour.  He was interested in our stories and our experiences with the company as well as how we think they can improve the business.  I asked him questions related to future growth (including international specific) and how he got to such a high position so quickly (he is only 45!).  John had very interesting ideas and plans.  I tried to observe how he progressed from idea to idea and how his thoughts progressed.  He is definitely taking the company in a good direction.

I went to Oberweis tonight with my friend Emily where we caught up and played chess (I got progressively better, which shouldn’t have been hard from where I started).  I got Brownie Fudge Twirl ice cream.  I usually get Chocolate Peanut Butter there.  Both are quite good.

I had expected this week to be a bit slower at work with Tim, my primary supervisor, being out of the office for most of the week.  Instead, it has been quite busy and I have not gotten everything done that I thought I would.  I have helped determine if merchandise is available in the US and UK warehouses for a potential store opening and assist in a merchandise review for another country, among other projects.

Tomorrow is the Huggable Hereos luncheon at Build-A-Bear where kids who do pretty amazing things are being recognized by the company.  Check out their stories.  I’ve heard great things and am pretty excited.

Tomorrow I am heading down to S-F to visit camp.  This should be my last visit this summer.  I’m actually rather sad about this and hoping that the weekend goes well.  Who knows what the future holds for my time at camp.  Regardless, it is likely that this could be the last time I will be at the S-F Scout Ranch with so many of my good friends.

Five/Six Weeks Out Of Ten

Well, I am now more than half way through my internship at Build-A-Bear Workshop.  I cannot believe how fast this summer is going.  It seems as though I just got home from Denver, yet so much has happened.  This internship has been a great experience so far and I am looking forward to the second half.

Below is a list of the projects I have been working on so far.  Some of these have been more involved on my part whereas others were more being a part of conference calls/meetings and offering my thoughts and suggestions.

  • Updated Merchandising Assortment Guide (MAG)
  • Updated and branded prospective franchisee materials
  • Prepared Board of Directors PowerPoint presentation
  • Compiled international store profit/loss analysis
  • Analyzed seasonal global sales by country and product
  • Created a “toolkit” to assist franchisees in driving sales during Quarter 4 / 2010 Holidays that involved compilation and creation of resources from across the company
  • Helped plan the 2010 International Operations Summit
  • Organized store information (pictures, blueprints)
  • Researched 2011 International Licensing Opportunities
  • Analyzed international supply chain/inventory flow and product loads by country as a tool for assessing the international franchise model
  • Assisted franchisees in developing inventory forecasts, turnover, and ordering projections
  • Reviewed new store proposal/design and real estate opportunities
  • Offered feedback on business plans submitted by prospective franchisees
  • Communicated regularly with franchisees worldwide

I have also met with, spoken on the phone, and/or emailed people in every continent except Antarctica.  I’m pretty excited about that.

As I have been developing the Holiday Toolkit, I looked for resources to use in writing introductions to each section.  One such resource is Maxine Clark’s book, “The Bear Necessities of Business: Building a Company With Heart“.  Here is one quote I would like to share:

Bosses are in charge and dictatorial.  Leaders listen to what their employees have to say and create a climate of reciprocal respect.

I have been lucky to work for leaders.  I hope that trend continues.  I am excited to see where the rest of this summer will lead…