Greetings from Nest European Toys + Home!
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SouleMama: Since the last time you were featured on SouleMama, in what ways has your business grown or changed? Is there anything new you'd like to tell us about?
JP: Our store sales have grown, as wooden toys seem to be gaining fair popularity, but it's still mainly the two of us, Lisa and I, each day, with extra hands at Christmas. Our kids are turning 5 and 7 this year. We're tired a lot of the time, but grateful.
Lisa: It feels like stronger affirmation of where I was at a few months ago. Can I re-share it?
We've been following and feeling a part of the minimalism movement more active in our circles in the last years, along with a kind of maker mentality on a family/ household level. It feels like it springs from some key realities for some families, including our own:
- the creativity that young children and ourselves can explore, when not overwhelmed by too much 'stuff'. The sense of our own ability to create, to make something from nothing. To tinker, to enjoy the process, to feel the flush of pride and pleasure that goes with creating.
- the desire to focus on a few key activities in a day that are part of our family's values, and that we support with intention.
- the realities of parents and caregivers wanting to reduce time spent on cleaning and tidying, and to support their children's ability to take care of their things in a somewhat organized space.
- a household's financial budgets and fiscal prudence.
- the energy that goes into creating something should be justified by its value and longevity. Its overall environmental impact considered very carefully.
- and lastly, while it is indeed true that there is no limit to fantastic things to delight and make our lives more comfortable in this world, we naturally think of others in this world who have less and question what allocation of our resources we can give to the well being of other individuals and to support the communities that we live in and among, near and far.
Having kind of fallen into retail by accident - literally actually, as it was repetitive strain from computer work that led to me leaving my engineering job - and having a background in renewable energy, I think I bring a different outlook to our business. Because my partner and I can continuously question and discuss our business decisions together, alongside and sometimes inextricably intertwined with discussions relating to our own family and household, means that we have this lens we look at it all through. We're keeping our focus on making sustainable and quality goods easily available, with great intention that keeps all these realities and our values in mind.
On the one hand, what is of great value for one person is not the same as for another, and different children play differently... but also, there's just the question of how much is enough, and what to choose from the selection out there. I mean, we personally *like* and use our marble runs, and our board games that we play at home or that we have stashed in a bag ready-to-go during an odd restaurant visit; our kids happen to be super into wooden animals and figures now; puzzles and big dolls and wooden playfood are all really popular in our house... but we certainly don't have one of everything from our store for our own children, as they and we would be utterly overwhelmed. It's sometimes hard to predict what they're going to get the most play value from, but we try and make some helpful recommendations on our site.
I feel that as a retailer, besides keeping the commitment to our selection, we can do a service to parents and their families by having more photos and descriptions, more videos and reviews, on our website, to help make their buying decisions more thoughtful and measured. As it is now, I spend a huge portion of my working time talking with customers by email and on the phone and in person, which I like to do, and we are amazed at how much connection we get with people even though we are online now mainly, but I know that it helps immensely when people can access the kind of information they'd get from me in person on our site, with comparisons with other similar products, with ideas for pre-planning a wooden block collection, etc. We look forward to continuing to add to this kind of info. I know people get a lot from online discussions nowadays, but I feel like I have a unique perspective as a toy store owner who sees and experiences the different brands to provide more photos and videos and personal reviews, etc., so we're really experiencing our desire to find more time to build and share more quality information about products that we're selling, to help inform people's buying decisions, and see if they're the products that best meet their family's needs. I know that for myself, finances our not infinite; therefore, I'll still spend some money, but I want to know that it's going to be money well-spent. We plan our own personal purchases around all these considerations, and I want to share the information that's helped us to help other families too.
This weekend, Nest European Toys + Home is generously offering the following gift to THREE lucky SouleMama readers:
$50 gift certificate with Nest.ca
In addition, Nest European Toys + Home is offering all SouleMama readers an additional 10% off items listed in the sale category. We have some pretty great finds in our sale section right now. Please be sure to click through to more pages in Sale section. Use Promo Code SaveOnSale until Tues Apr 3rd.
To enter today's giveaway, leave a comment below (one entry per person, please). Comments will close by 9 am EST on Sunday. Winners will be chosen by Random Number Generator and announced in this post shortly after. Comments closed. The winners are...
Nest is our favourite all time toy store:) Lisa and JP are amazing!!!
Posted by: stephanie
love those woodland critters!
Posted by: caitlin
Beautiful toys! Thanks for the chance to win.
Posted by: Allison