Timbuk Toys is going to New York! Next week, our owner and store managers will be looking for the Latest and Greatest at Toy Fair 2012! And, this is your inside look at what they hope to find.
The customers who shop at all three of our locations have become a part of the Timbuk Team by giving us fabulous suggestions! That is why, customers, we want you to know that your voices have been heard! During Toy Fair, Brandie Cardenas, the manager of our Highland’s Ranch store, will be searching for pretend make-up kits, which have been a common request, not only at her store, but also at the University Hills and Lowry locations. “I will be looking for something that has a good price point, but is not dollar store quality,” says Brandie.
Meanwhile, Darlene Maestas, the manager of our Lowry store, will be looking for learning toys, particularly toys for children with Special Needs. “We have had a lot of people ask about that,” says Darlene.
Another trend Darlene has noticed is an interest in toys made in the United States. “I am excited about meeting with vendors who are more local, and more small business,” says Darlene. “I would like to help out smaller vendors, and find things we haven’t seen before.”
Christy Kidwell, the manager of our University Hills store, agrees. “I am particularly interested in NEW vendors,” she says. One of Christy’s primary treasure hunts will be for pirate-themed toys. “Pirates are something that people are always looking for, so I want to find some that will fit our market. It has to be educational. It has to be creative. It has to be fun. It has to be captivating!
No matter how pretty the pictures in the catalogs are,” says Christy, “you really have to put the toys in your hands and feel them! I think that’s what I’m most excited about for Toy Fair.”
And, that is what Brandie appears most excited about, as well. Brandie can’t wait to get her hands on the new games from Blue Orange, Gamewright, and ThinkFun, all of which are companies whose lines she plans to expand in our stores. “I love playing games before we get them in!” says Brandie.
As a game enthusiast, Brandie knows that toys can be just as fun for adults as they are for children. “I will also be looking for nostalgic type things,” she says. “I remember, when I was about 8 or 9, having these sticker books where all the stickers were in the back and you had to go through the book and put all the stickers in the right spot. I loved those! And, if I had a nickel for every time someone asked me if we carry those sticker books I’d… have a big chunk of change! I want to find things parents can relate to, as well as kids.”
While stickers may be small, Darlene agrees that good things come in small packages. “I want to find some little vehicles, for about $9.99, that will satisfy kids’ want for what they see in the street. They can be riding in the car and see a fire truck, and think, ‘Oh! Here’s my own fire truck, right here in my hand!’ I want to find toys that kids can take along with them, and carry in their pockets, because that’s when they’re going to be most useful!”
Speaking of vehicles, Brandie is excited to visit the Tegu booth and see their new vehicle line, to accompany their earlier lines of magnetic wooden blocks. Based in Honduras, the Tegu company is committed to rehabilitating the country’s diminished forest cover, and has thus far helped to plant 18,011 trees. “We are interested in any company that is earth friendly!” says Brandie.
And, while we’re on the subject of planting trees, Brandie is additionally interested in finding gardening gloves, and other accessories, for kids. “I want to find aprons, for both boys and girls, that are functional for things like cooking and art,” says Brandie. But, although she desires practicality in certain areas, Brandie additionally looks forward to seeing the new line of Great Pretenders dress-up clothes from Creative Education, which has been designed purely for fun.
Dress-up is a fun activity for children of many ages, and Darlene would like to find more toys like that. “I will be looking, in particular, for more toys in the 2 and 3-year-old age range; but also for multi-age toys, and toys that can be passed down through various ages – toys that will last a long time,” Darlene says.
The toys several children keep longer than any others are their plush animals, and that bring us to our final category. Christy has assumed the role of Timbuk’s primary animal tracker. “My goal is to have at least one of every animal. Though,” she says, raising an eyebrow as she looks at her list, “maybe we don’t need a gnu… or a jackal.” All three store managers are particularly excited to visit the Jelly Cat booth, and select new Jelly Cat animals to carry at Timbuk!
“The whole thought of it excites me!” says Brandie. “I love to go out for events, and it’s even better when they involve toys! What better business is there to be in?”
Is there anything you would like our Toy Experts to search for at Toy Fair? Do you have a special mission for them? If so, please post a comment and let us know!