Five Little Monkeys – Bay Area, CA

Retailer Spotlight

Five Little Monkeys

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Tell us a bit about your shop
Five Little Monkeys is a community based, hands-on toy store focused on providing unique, high quality toys in a fun and friendly environment.

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How did you choose your store name?
I am the oldest of five little monkeys in my family.

Why did you choose your location?
Each of our stores is located in a Bay Area community that is family oriented, supports its schools, and takes pride in shopping at local stores.

What’s your favorite local activity with kids?
We are lucky enough to have great weather almost year round, so getting outside and spending family time outdoors is what we love.

What’s your favorite thing that kids do at your store?
Our store encourages hands-on play, with lots of demos and samples out for kids to touch, feel, and experience first hand.

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How long have you carried Tegu?
Since 2011.

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What’s your favorite thing about Tegu?
We are a green certified Bay Area business, so supporting another sustainable business is important to us. We also love its educational play value – the creative, open-ended, imaginative play that Tegu blocks encourage fits well with our mission and philosophy.

What’s your favorite Tegu product?
The more basic block sets are my favorite, the new colors (Sunsets and Blues) are strikingly beautiful.

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What’s the best thing about owning a toy store?
Making children happy and dreams come true.

What’s a moment you’d like to forget from your store?
I don’t really have any – I try to learn and grow from challenging moments.

What’s your favorite memory from your store?
When a 4 year old regular named Joey ran to his mother with the most excited look on his face and blurted out, “Mommy, mommy, guess what?!?!? Santa Claus AND the Easter Bunny shop at Five Little Monkeys too!”

What’s your favorite joke to tell your tiny customers?
That there’s a fairy on their shoulder or an elf peeking out of their pocket.

Final Thoughts?
Businesses are built on relationships. I am incredibly grateful for the relationships I’ve forged with customers, vendors, and staff. Many of them have become friendships that will likely last a lifetime.

Five Little Monkeys has four locations in the Bay Area

Albany
1240 Solano Avenue
Albany, CA 94706

Burlingame
1111 Burlingame Avenue
Burlingame, CA 94010

Novato
852 Grant Avenue
Novato,CA 94945

Walnut Creek
1366 North Main Street
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

Retailer Spotlight |

Magic Box Toys – New Orleans, LA

Retailer Spotlight

Magic Box Toys

5508 Magazine Street
New Orleans, LA 70115

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Tell us a bit about your shop
Magic Box Toys is a locally owned, independent toy store in New Orleans that has been in business for 21 years. We offer a full array of toys for kids of all ages. We focus on “specialty” toys, which have a story – like Tegu! Our toys are not found in the cluttered aisles of the big box stores. Our team of toy experts can help our customers find just the right toy at the right price for the right child!

How did you choose your store name?
“Magic Box Toys” actually came to me in a dream! I’d been having a hard time coming up with a name that fit what I wanted my store name to express. The vision of a magical box of toys really did come to me in a dream!

Why did you choose your location?
Magazine Street in New Orleans is a 6-mile long historic street with an eclectic mix of all kinds of shops, as well as residences. We moved here because of the possibility of more walk-by traffic than at our previous location.

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What’s your favorite local activity with kids?
Taking kids to the Audubon Zoo or The Children’s Museum. It’s a tie!

What’s your favorite thing that kids do at your store?
We have “Stories & Such” on Wednesday mornings. It’s an exciting story and play time for toddlers.

How long have you carried Tegu?
Since they first came on the market – not sure of the year.

What’s your favorite thing about Tegu?
I love the story behind Tegu. I love that Tegu is a sustainable company that replenishes the trees that you use for the blocks. I love that they are magnetic – which provides for a longer lifespan for the toy – meaning that the kids will play with them longer (both in a single setting and thru various age levels). Does that make sense? And I love the beautiful design and look of the blocks.

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What’s your favorite Tegu product?
I love the 42-piece sets because of the play value of having that many blocks. That is also what we sell the most.

What’s the best thing about owning a toy store?
I taught school for 22 years before opening my store 21 years ago. I love the interaction with the kids. I also love being able to inform my customers of the play value (features & benefits) of our products.

What’s a moment you’d like to forget from your store?
Being open for 3 weeks in our new location (13 years ago) with no power in May in New Orleans!

What’s your favorite memory from your store?
One of many – Dax Shepherd (television celebrity) laying on his belly on the floor playing with our toys with his daughter!

What’s your favorite joke to tell your tiny customers?
I’m terrible at jokes!

 

A big thank you from Tegu to Magic Box Toys for supporting us in the great city of New Orleans! Stay tuned to the Tegu blog to learn more about some of our fantastic retail partners in the coming weeks.

Keep Building,

The Tegu Team

Retailer Spotlight |

Guest Post // The Roots of Change Start With A Wooden Toy Block

We are excited about our new retailer and partner Reweave, and honored that this guest post by Abhi Nangia got picked up by the Huffington Post!

 

108 degrees. Air conditioner: blasting. Not a square foot to spare on the bustling streets of New Delhi. It was my third trip to India, and I was 15 years old.

I couldn’t handle it. I couldn’t believe there were children younger than me working under the blazing sun to feed their family instead of reading storybooks to feed their mind. It tore me apart to learn that the parents of over 60 million children in India can’t afford to send their children to school. Why is the world like this?

At 15 years old, that question stung. Why is the world like this? I had no grasp of what poverty was before that day; everything I ever wanted was handed to me. I went to The Park School, a progressive school that gave me the opportunity to be free — to live a life of learning. This life journey led me to South Africa, Bali, Ghana, Nicaragua, and Jamaica to explore that same question — to learn about the way people live around the world.

It stung. Why? Why didn’t those kids have the opportunity to learn? Why didn’t these children have the opportunity to play? The answers began to flow in over time: their parents couldn’t afford to send them to school; they couldn’t afford to buy books. And toys? Well, toys were simply out of the question.

In Honduras, there is a company working to change that. A company that believes every single child should have the opportunity to play. Better. That believes that our environment matters, and that deforestation needs to end. And they believe that people should have the opportunity to earn a living wage, working in a place that feels like home.

Tegu has not only reinvented the wooden block (it’s magnetic); it has shown that we can reinvent business to do good. For too long, we’ve been trying to outsmart poverty with policy. Tegu’s team is showing day in and day out its commitment to make a lasting difference in Honduras, using business as a tool. The roots of change are in the way we run every last business, and in the way we treat every single employee. Tegu is showing that with a great product, not only can we build profitable businesses, but also we can build businesses that are geared towards making an impact above all else.

As I play with these wooden blocks, I can’t help but wonder what the lives of those children in India would have been like if their parents had the opportunity to work for a company like Tegu. I can’t help but wonder what that kind of opportunity could have done for their children. I can’t help but smile at the idea of those kids playing with these very Tegu blocks — building stories of promise and hope for their future.

From India to South Africa, Bali to Ghana, Nicaragua to Jamaica, and Honduras to the United States, every single child deserves the opportunity to grow up learning how to learn. Every child deserves the opportunity to live a life with purpose and dignity — to spend time playing and learning. We at reweave believe that better-world business can create that opportunity. Through livelihood development, businesses like Tegu can help to change the way we do business, for good. If we succeed in this mission, we will inevitably find ourselves in a world we are all proud to live in — a world in which everyone has the opportunity to live with purpose and dignity.

 

 

Honduras Social Initiatives, Retailer Spotlight, Tegu in the Media |

Tegu Magnetic Blocks at Norman & Jules in Brooklyn – Retailer Spotlight

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.

Norman and Jules Brooklyn Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks Sold Here

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’.

Norman and Jules Brooklyn Carries Tegu Blocks

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!

Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks at Norman and Jules

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.

Norman and Jules in Brooklyn carries Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks

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)

Norman and Jules Toy Shop in Brooklyn carries Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks

 

Children's Play Time, Retailer Spotlight, Uncategorized |