We partner with some really awesome shops, and we want you to know about them! This is our first ever “Retailer Spotlight,” and we are excited for you to learn more about some of the places where you can buy Tegu Blocks and add to your magnetic wooden building system!
We love Norman & Jules, located at 158 7th Ave in Brooklyn, NY. We got a chance to ask owners Courtney Ebner and Avi Kravitz a few questions about this lovely toy shop they opened in Brooklyn’s Park Slope on September 23rd, 2012. Norman & Jules has a wonderfully edited collection of children’s products that foster creative play, are aesthetically beautiful, uniquely designed, and produced by brands and factories with an environmental and social conscience.
Tell us more about your shop. We wanted to create an environment that felt peaceful and completely different from the overcrowded toy shops that lack a point of view. It was also imperative that when making our edits, the shop would focus on mainly handcrafted and imaginative toys, decor and art that enable children to explore and develop through creativity. And it goes without saying that our vendors would have to prove that they were working under both socially and environmentally fair and safe conditions.
Who are Norman and Jules? We wanted to pay homage to two special men in our lives – our grandfathers. Norman was Avi’s grandfather while Jules was Courtney’s Poppy. Ironically, my (Avi) father’s dad owned a toy shop in the city, but I never had the opportunity to meet him.
How did you pick your location? Courtney has lived in Park Slope since 1997 and I moved here in my senior year of Pratt Institute in 2001. Courtney and I very much love Park Slope, live here, shop here, now raise our child here and couldn’t imagine starting our dream toy shop anywhere else. As for it’s specific location, that’s not quite as romantic. There are business plan deadlines to meet, and this space was ultimately our best option. It’s not so bad that it also happens to be blocks away from our home!
What is your favorite local activity with kids? Park Slope has a lot of families with children. The community supports that with any type of class you might imagine your child exploring. With that, there are so many delightful things for us to do with Charley. I’d say Charley’s favorite thing to do is Music Together on 1st Street. We are also really enjoying The Brooklyn Forest School in Prospect Park, run by locals Joy Holder and Charlie Foster. We highly recommend it if you have a thing for ‘mud pies’.
How long have you carried Tegu? Since September 2012.
What is your favorite thing about Tegu? Tegu embodies all of the things that we look for in a toy. It’s a wonderful, open play toy, with endless building possibilities – fostering children’s imaginations in amazing ways. Tegu is neat in that it is also teaching children about magnets, polarity and how magnets interact with each other. Tegu purposely does not include manuals and we personally love this. Children learn through their own exploration of the materials. We’d fall short in explaining our love for Tegu if we don’t mention their of using the most sustainable and durable hardwoods with completely safe water-based finishes. Tegu takes this a step further by replanting the trees that they harvest. They also happen to be a wonderfully generous company as well. They have created hundreds of fair trade jobs in Honduras – bringing more economic hope to the impoverished country.
What is your favorite Tegu product? They are fantastically hand-crafted pieces of wood with magnets inset — they all rock!
What is one Norman & Jules moment you would like to forget? Our first year end inventory count. Oh boy!
What is the best part of owning a toy shop? There are so many wonderful things about owning Norman & Jules. Three of them are: watching both children and their parents discover and engage with new and exciting toys, getting to know the people in our community better (there are a lot of interesting, awesome people here) and the opportunity to work with enormously talented craftspeople and small brands from all over the world.
Awards and Features…Read More!
Best Analog Toys – Best of New York 2013 – New York Magazine
Best Toy Store – Best of Brooklyn 2013 – L Magazine
“A Toy Store for Design Lovers” - Brooklyn Magazine – December 2013 – Vol.2, No. 4 The Design Issue.
“Brooklynites Courtney Ebner and Avi Kravitz Have Built Their Very Own Toyland” – New York Family – April 1, 2013
Visit Norman & Jules! 158 7th Ave, Brooklyn, New York 11215 (Park Slope)