A peek behind the Bean: Toy Training Night!
Not to toot our own horn too much, but Magic Beans is genuinely famous for the quality of our customer service. You don’t have to take my word for it, either – there’s ample proof on our Yelp page, where you’ll read customer reviews gushing about the “most AMAZING and PATIENT and KNOWLEDGABLE salesperson I have ever met,” and stating that “This store’s customer service and expertise is second to none.”
That kind of top-quality service is no accident, and takes a lot of hard work and training. To provide you with the best experience possible, we start by hiring friendly, personable folks who have a natural enthusiasm for our products, and then we load them up with encyclopedic knowledge about our product selection, about child development (so they know what toys to recommend for what stage), and about what families are looking for when they shop for products for babies and kids.
To prepare for the holiday shopping season every year, we hold our annual Toy Training Night, at our office in our warehouse at Hyde Park. The evening started off with a keynote speech from Eli Gurock, co-owner of Magic Beans store, and the captain of our crew of Toy Whizzes and Gear Gurus:
During this speech, he stopped to individually highlight the accomplishments of many members of the team, including my army of bloggers – see how many hands are raised in this pic? These are just a few of the people who write for Spilling the Beans!
Next, it was time to launch into the actual training, where groups took turns visiting stations where company reps demonstrated some of our top toys for the upcoming holiday season. Here are a few of my faves, and some general highlights!
I was already pretty excited to get my hands on LittleBits kits, which enable kids to build all manner of electronic devices, from robots to toy cars to household gadgets. Naturally, a five-minute demo session isn’t long enough to get to build your own gadgets (d’oh!), but I had a LOT of fun playing with the remote-controlled car that was built for the demo session. The thing that I thought was especially cool: it’s not just that you can build working electronic devices, but you can build stuff that’s actually fun to play with. It took me seconds to pick up how to make the little car start, stop, speed up, slow down, and corner tightly. I was enchanted, and your kid will be too. (They’ll be that much more psyched because they get to BUILD IT THEMSELVES.)
Hopefully we’ll have a demo video soon – you really have to see LittleBits in action to get exactly how cool it is.
Star Wars Perplexus
Coming soon! You can’t tell from this pic, but this version of the classic single-player balance challenge adds Darth Vader breathing side effects and flashing lights to the fun. My favorite thing about this toy, from a blogger’s point of view, is that playing with Perplexus always leads people to make perplexed faces. It does, indeed, Perplex Us.
You’ve probably played Spot It!, Blue Orange’s bestselling card game, but they have a huge selection of fast-paced and fun family games, many of which are educational as well. The only thing I didn’t love about this quick training sesh was that it was TOO quick – once you start playing Ring It, Thumbs Up, or Pengoloo, you’re not eager to stop!
Kwik Stix Solid Tempera Paint Sticks
Coming soon! This is a super simple product, but it’s going to make a superb stocking stuffer: the paint dries in 90 seconds, minimizing mess, and it’s super super bright, so the results are very satisfying. Little kids are going to love making art with these, and I love the tactile aspect of Kwik Stix, too – it feels like writing with lipstick.
And finally: the kid-appeal of this product is obvious. You color in shapes (or cut out your own from assorted other paper) and then feed ‘em through the machine, and then you can stick them to ANYTHING. And we did.
There were oodles of other great discoveries last night, and we’ll be introducing them here on Spilling the Beans, on our Youtube channel, and on our Facebook and Instagram throughout the holiday shopping season. We’ll also have a holiday shopping guide in our Resource Center soon, so watch our social media pages for announcements!