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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Techno Gears Marble Mania – The Experience is Bigger than the Box!

Funny!  People read my blog overnight.  And they got to it through Google.  The internet is a wild, wild thing.

It seems fitting that at least the first few new blog entries will focus on products I am selling.  You might think that is self-serving.  It is.  It is my blog.  Sorry for the defensive prose.  I tend to approach all things as though I should not be subjective and I am trying to get comfortable in my right to write about whatever I like as this is not an assignment and I am not getting paid.

So in this flurry of craziness starting a job repping toys in the middle of 4th quarter (meaning in the old day, buyers would be way done by the time I started but in the new days, consumers buy their Christmas presents so late, retailers can’t bring them in until the last-minute) the new UPS driver becomes aware of my address.  When you rep 40+ lines who send out an average of 3 boxes each to a new rep, well things start piling up quickly.  You can imagine it is my husband’s least favorite part of this job but if I was selling music or surf related merchandise he would be all over it.  And I thought my kids who are now for all purposes, in high school, would be over it.  But really, who doesn’t like a big cardboard box that promises super fun things inside?

But I received such a box from The Learning Journey International that had gotten everyone’s attention, and I didn’t even know it.  Truthfully, the box for the Techno Gears Marble Mania Mega is very very very large.  So I propped it against some things in my living room wondering what I was going to do with it.  And then we had a rainy cold weekend and the kids were cozied in the house, so I said “Hey guys, we’re going to build the marble run.”  Very unexpectedly, both of my children began to jump up and down.  Since neither are real builders, I thought this strange.  However, they had been eyeing this marble wonderland for several days without saying anything because they are very well-trained in “Your toys – my toys!”  But a rep is supposed to get to know her products and we aren’t doing the LA Gift Show in January so the only way to really get to know is to dive in.

And they did.  And they built for 2 days.  My husband helped a little bit.  I sat at the table and talked but they had a system and they did it.  While some of the conversations were silly (and some were annoying bickering) some included my oldest explaining properties of physics to my youngest as she explained how and why the marble was going to be traveling up the twisty thing-a-ma-bob that was spinning downward due to some of nature’s laws.  Hm. Didn’t see that coming.

So what I experienced first hand is, 1) this is not solely a boys toy – girls who not so long ago received American Girl Dolls for Christmas, loved it, 2) the ages 8+ on the box means if your child is a true genius (not just advanced but actually has a Mensa membership card in his or her wallet) OR has a parent who is willing to take a very active role in this project, 8+ works – otherwise, you might be think about 10-12 which is fine cause there slimmer pickings at those older ages anyways! 3) it’s pretty darn cool.

Monday following the building adventure, I met with one of my favorite customers from way back when – The Company of Angels, which is the school store for the Waldorf School.  While the store is situated in a temporary building, you would never know it.  It is filled to the brim with beautiful artisan crafts, toys, and treats for the house.  Coffee is on and mom volunteers bring in baked goods.  The buyer always hugs me when I walk in.

Because the store is so specialized, I am very careful in what I recommend.  Most products are all natural.  All are very cool.  None are at Toys R Us.  So it was a little different for me to be recommending this big marble extravaganza that requires batteries and whose pieces are bright plastic.  However, when I shared my experience over the weekend with my own kids and how cool it was, the buyer was in!  She bought it to offer a great present under the tree for that age that can be a little tricky.

On my way out the door, she told me that she is trying to figure out some marketing to bring in customers who don’t have kids at the school.  I have already told some of my friends and am making my own plans to get some of my holiday shopping done among such friendly people.

Check out:

The Company of Angels

Waldorf School

2350 Canyon Drive

Costa Mesa, CA  92627

(949) 574-7775

 

I am back…

Hello world, I am back.  The last few months have been twisty and turny and some of it not that great but some of it has been awesome.  And what has been really great is that I was very recently hired to rep a bunch of kids lines again.  And while I was a little hesitant at first, given this is not the best economic climate for a commission based job selling to small independent stores, the response I have had from customers has been amazing.  I am pretty sure that the growing that I have done over the past five years of not repping is going to help me kick ass!  That and the fact that I love my lines!  Want some irony?  I am now repping some of my very favorite products that I have already featured in this little blog!

Soooo… I am going to feature some of the great things I see in my travels.  And the independent stores I find them in.  Get out there and support your mom and pops – it helps the community, it helps the economy, and most of all it enables some of our favorite stores to stick around!  This weekend is American Express’s Small Business Saturday but hey, start early and hit your favorite local retailer on Friday.  And Sunday.  Let’s make it a movement!

Happy Thanksgiving!