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5 Ways Your Toy Store Can Use Big Plastic Containers For Toy Display and Storage

Toy stores…every child’s dream land. Parents often grit their teeth and tolerate their children’s exuberance, but they know they’ll be back, looking for that perfect birthday or Christmas present. If you’re a toy store owner, you can cater to your young customers’ enthusiasm without sacrificing their parents’ willingness to finance their purchases. One way to appeal to adults and children alike is to be scrupulously organized, both in your in-store displays and your back-room storage. One ideal way to do that is by using big plastic containers for toy display and storage.

Here are 5 easy ways your toy store can get organized by using big plastic containers.

  1. Countertop Displays. Like the rest of your store, your checkout counter should be a busy but clean and delightful space. This is a good place for big plastic containers full of impulse buys that cater to adults. Chocolates or mints are a good choice; adults who would never buy a whole candy bar will often toss a little piece of chocolate in with their purchases. Nostalgic toys are another good choice to put the big plastic containers on your countertop. Do you have small Slinkies, little containers of Play-Doh, or miniature versions of toys that were popular 20 years ago? Put them in the plastic fish bowls or plastic bins on your counter-because after all, it’s Mom and Dad who stand there writing the check!
  2. Impulse Buys. These are the toy displays you want to direct toward kids. Big plastic containers for displays should be arranged around the checkout counter, so that kids have something to look at-and ask for-while Mom and Dad are in line. Hexagon jars full of balloons or gumballs, fishbowls with packets of markers and mini coloring books, or bins full of specialty or promotional items will attract kids’ attention and only add a tiny bit to their parents’ total bill.
  3. Eye-level Displays. Big plastic containers such as jars with lids, fish bowls, or acrrylic bins, can be organized and stacked or set side-by-side right at children’s eye level. It’s easy to purchase display racks that will hold these containers, allowing kids to delight in a cornucopia of inexpensive toys displayed right there, below adult browsing level, for them to enjoy.
  4. Back room organization. Whether on a day-to-day basis or during the busy seasons, big plastic containers for toy display and storage are a necessary part of keeping your back room in tip-top shape. When you need to restock something out front, you need it now, not sometime after you’ve weeded through all the extra merchandise in your stock room. Have your small toys and impulse items organized on back room shelves so that when you run low out front, you will know exactly where to look for refills. This is especially important for small items, which can easily get lost amid the larger toys in your storage area.
  5. Selling in Bulk. Have several big plastic containers of toys on hand, so that parents can buy whole containers at a time. These containers full of small toys are perfect for party favors, stocking stuffers, or prizes at school, scouts, or Sunday school. A big plastic container full of balloons, clay, or novelty puzzles can keep a group of kids occupied for hours.

As you can see, if you’re a toy store owner, big plastic containers for toy display and storage are a must-have for your shop. You’ll appeal to both the kids who want your merchandise and the adults who pay for it!

Save USA Wooden Toys From Going Extinct

The year 2007 many will remember what happened to the toy industry. Reports came out that China was using lead paints in toys. There were many recalls on toys and people started shopping and purchasing USA wooden and handcrafted toys. These USA toymakers are purchasing USA products, providing USA labor and many of these toymakers are small family operations. I know from the fact of being one, that the profit margin isn’t a get rich scheme as it takes many hours to create handmade toys.

Now we step into 2008. There are more problems with China products. In August 2008 a law was passed by congress, HR 4040 dealing with child safety standards for ALL toys and any other items manufactured for use by children under 12 years of age. This bill requires testing of all toy products by an independent government certified lab. Testing also includes a test for plastics in our wood toys!

The cost of this testing can run from $1000 to $4000 on each product. We have nearly 100 products that would have to be tested. And the test has to be done annually!

This issue affects many people:

*Toy stores who will have to destroy all uncertified inventory in August. Imagine our landfill problem and the money the stores will lose. Many will probably have to close their doors, leading to more unemployment.

*Small businesses who cannot afford to buy products due to the increased cost of the testing. At the cost of $4000/ item per year no one will be able to afford to purchase the toys.

*Folks who make any children’s products and sell at Farmer’s markets and craft shows to supplement their incomes.

*Schools that have toys for play time.

*Doctor and dentist offices, hospital waiting rooms.

*Occupational and Physical therapists who use toys to increase motor skills.

*Small businesses (such as ours) that cannot afford the testing and have to go out of business.

*Web sites selling children’s products that will have to shut down (many are run by people trying to supplement their retirement income and have spent sums of money to create their sites.

This law was written to protect children but it was not thought through well. This not only is for handmade wooden toys but for those people who sew clothes, baby items or make anything for children 12 and under. If this law goes into effect on February 10, 2009 it will be a downfall of the American dream and many jobs will be lost.

As stated earlier we purchase USA supplies so therefore those people will not be getting our business. If most of the handmade USA toy business and clothes business close, UPS and USPS will be greatly affected as well. It is a major snowball effect. We have had 3 stores cancel their orders so far as they are not wanting to purchase anything if they will have to discard it to the landfills in August.

There is a small amount of time left to turn this around. Please contact your representatives and senators and ask for an amendment to this law. There is an organization that has formed called Handmade Toy Alliance. This organization has drafted an amendment to the law that would exempt testing for manufactures of less than 5000 items per year and or items made of natural materials.

They also have a petition to submit to the CPSC (Child Products Safety Commission). With this law we are literally killing the hand that feeds us and feeding the ones that harm us.

Start A Toy Business For The Weekend Woodworker

Because of the almost daily recall of many cheap plastic foreign-made toys due to lead paint and other hazardous materials, parents are looking for suitable substitutes. Why not use your skills as a woodworker to make safe and superior alternatives? There are many parents who are desperately looking for exactly the type of toys you, the weekend woodworker, can provide. First we will look at some of the toys you can make and then offer some suggestions on how to market and sell them.

What type of toys should you make? To help answer this, you might start by considering your likely customers. What do they want and what do they need? Many parents try to select toys that are not only fun but educational as well. There are many types of toys you can make that fit both of these criteria. You will also want to take into consideration the fact you need to be able to make these quickly and easily if you want to make a profit.

Some toys you might decide to make could include letters and numbers. These never go out of style and it is often difficult to find safe, well made examples. You could offer them as a set of numbers 1 through 10, or the 26 letters of the alphabet. You might decide to make a bucket of letters and numbers together or a bucket of letters with enough duplicates of certain letters to spell common words like mom, dad, baby, etc.

You might also consider making puzzle type toys where uniquely shaped pieces fit into matching openings cut into a wooden board. You could paint these with stencils and non-toxic paint or just leave them plain. You are only limited by your imagination. All of the toys mentioned so far can be made with a band saw, various sanders and hand tools. You will want to experiment with different woods to find what you like best, and do not forget you will need to sand every piece smooth since tender little hands will use them.

One of the secrets to successfully marketing your toys will be how you intend to package them. The easiest way will probably be to prepare a small 8 ½” by 5 ½” card on your printer that you can insert in your shrink-wrapped package. You will want to include on the card the fact the item is made in the U.S. from quality, safe, non-toxic materials.

Instead of focusing on the features, all marketing should show the buyer what benefits they will enjoy from owning your product. List all the benefits you can think of and rate them from most important to least. Take the most important and use these to plan your sales pitch. Some places you should try to sell your products are toy stores, bookstores, department stores, gift shops, local specialty stores, and even online at E-Bay or your own website. You should also include a card your buyers can return to receive word of other products you offer or will offer in the future.

Making and selling wooden toys can be an enjoyable way to exercise your woodworking skills and make some money at the same time. With so many toys being recalled because of safety and toxicity concerns, this could be the perfect way to live your dream of earning money from your favorite hobby.