Grown men who can't wait to play with My Little Ponies

Bronies at 2012 Columbus Ohio Ohayocon.

A brony at Otakon 2011 in Baltimore, Md.

Arriving April 1, PINKIE PIE and RAINBOW DASH ($24 each) will be available at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores throughout North America and online at buildabear.com(R).

Starting Monday, fans of the My Little Pony series will be able to stuff their own customizable Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash at Build-A-Bear workshops across the country.

Seated next to the usual crowd of little girls might be some unexpected customers: middle-aged men. 

The adult male fans of the "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" TV series call themselves "bronies" (and we can't forget their female counterparts, "Pegasisters") and they shell out big bucks to dress up like their favorite characters. 

"It's all about the values of the show,"said Dan Silver, a toy analyst who runs the website TimetoPlaymag.com. "They fell in love with the show and they know everything about My Little Pony. They know the voices, they know the artists. It's an unbelieveable club so to speak and it just keeps growing." 

The My Little Pony franchise is incredibly important for its parent company, Hasbro. Their most recent earnings report singled out the franchise's double digit sales for helping to boost profits in their little girls department. 

Silver said that having the brony fan base is a big boost to Hasbro's bottom line.  

"These fans are collectors. They go out and buy the toys, they buy the T-shirts and they buy all the other licensed merchandise. You're talking about a $100 million-plus brand to Hasbro. " 

But even Silver admitted the sight of a grown man making his own Pinkie Pie at Build-A-Bear will be a bit strange. 

"It will make for an awkward experience when they come in," he said. 

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

A brony at Otakon 2011 in Baltimore, Md.

Arriving April 1, PINKIE PIE and RAINBOW DASH ($24 each) will be available at Build-A-Bear Workshop stores throughout North America and online at buildabear.com(R).

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