Welcome to the first blog post from Toybox Tales! I thought I’d take the opportunity to introduce myself and my amazing family and answer one of the questions we get asked most in store – why on earth did we open a toy store during a pandemic??
Firstly, meet us! I’m Sarah, my husband is Chris and our gorgeous little super energetic toddler is Elsie. Chris and I have been married for over 10 years and we’ve always had a single conversation on repeat – what kind of business would we start if we could? Over the last decade we’ve looked at so many options! Some online only, some with a retail front, some a blend of both. We’ve spoken to family and friends that own their own business and written so many business plans. We’ve gone quite far down the road of opening a business in the past but it’s not felt quite right so we paused to try again at another point.
I’ve had nearly 8 years experience working with adults in learning and development. I love seeing how the adult brain works! When our daughter came along I naturally threw myself into learning everything I could about how best to develop her brain. We were in lockdown for a lot of her first year of life and I did so many sensory activities, played a lot of musical instruments with her, read to her and most importantly researched the right toys to buy for each stage of development. I was on maternity leave and in lockdown during most of Elsie’s first year so was able to devote all my time to her!
I was due back from maternity leave just after Elsie’s first birthday but was placed on stand down thanks to COVID. I then had the opportunity to take a redundancy and press the reset button, so I did!
Chris and I instantly started thinking about our own business again. We spent a while tossing around ideas, investigating options and writing business plans. We wanted to make use of my experience and knowledge and started thinking children’s toys. This is something we are both passionate about and believe is so important for a child’s development. And most of all it’s FUN!
We saw a toy store in Hampton come up for sale and thought it would be an awesome opportunity. Soon after Toybox Tales was born!
The first 6 months have been an insane learning curve. Learning the nitty gritty of a small business, creating and launching a new brand, getting to know our awesome suppliers and their products, weathering 2 lockdowns and then our first Christmas has been a steep learning curve and beyond amazing. And our local community have been phenomenal! Everyone was a wonderful support during lockdown and it was awesome seeing the same people, in person, in store when we reopened! We have so many wonderful customers that we see again and again and building these relationships has been so amazing.
So were we crazy to open a retail store during a pandemic? I don’t think so!