There's a new bear in town.
Build-A-Bear Workshop says Julia Fitzgerald, currently chief marketing officer of the American Lung Association, is its new CMO.
Fitzgerald, who will report directly to Sharon Price John, president and chief executive officer, has worked in brand development for 20 years, holding senior positions at Sylvan Learning, Sears, Vtech and Hallmark.
At Build-A-Bear, Fitzgerald will run brand communications, integrated marketing, creative services and PR, and cause marketing work for the Build-A-Bear Foundation.
The expanded leadership comes as the retailer's focus shifts, with 40% of sales now targeting teens and adults.Build-A-Bear is also pushing beyond its traditional mall base, moving into tourist and hospitality locations.
"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 touchpoints to various consumers," John says in the announcement.
"Our categories have extended beyond plush to include gifting, collectibles, gaming and entertainment."
The St. Louis-based company also adds Lisa Licht as a consultant to the leadership team, focusing on long-range strategy, brand value and licensing. The toy veteran is a Boston Consulting Group senior advisor and the former Live Nation Concerts CMO.
Separately, the company unveiled its latest Easter basket range, including all the classics, 24-piece ready-to-hide egg hunt packs, plush Golden Eggs, and matching PJs.
It is also bringing back the Make-Your-Own Peeps collection, allowing people to personalize plush versions of this popular Easter candy–including a giant rainbow version. The toys come with the option of an added marshmallow scent.
In quarterly results released earlier this month, the company posted a 12% jump in revenue to $145.1 million, up from $125.6 million in the prior year, and a 21% increase in adjusted net income. For the year ahead, it expects continued sales growth, anticipating a revenue increase of between 5% and 7% for the coming fiscal year.