American DIY plush company Build-A-Bear Workshop is launching Kabu, a new lifestyle brand for tweens inspired by Japanese kawaii-style art. The Kabu characters and their storylines focus on tween-aged challenges like friendship, school and growing up.
The animal characters—including three bears, a bunny, a princess and a kitten—can be brought to life at Build-A-Bear stores and ordered online. The retailer is launching outfits and accessories for the stuffed animals available in stores and online. The first three characters to hit stores will be Kabu Pawlette (bunny), Kabu Bearnice (bear) and Kabu Catlynn (kitten). Other Kabu lifestyle items for kids and tweens include leggings (available online only in the US beginning this fall), squishes toys, a Blind Bag Cub Condo, a shimmery pouch and a lip-gloss keychain.
Along with the new products, Build-A-Bear is also releasing the graphic novel The Grreat Race, written by Heather Nuhfer, and launching a new app called Kabu Pop Party Quest where players make their way through the fictional town of Pawston (pictured), leveling up by popping bubbles and unlocking rare items.
Kabu joins the list of other intellectual properties from Build-A-Bear, including Promise Pets, Honey Girls and Beary Fairy Friends.
In a deal brokered by Toronto-based The Licensing Shop, the company partnered with Australian toyco Moose Toys last year to bring Shopkins-branded plush toys and accessories to its stores worldwide and on buildabear.com.