Mimitoys Facebook Competition

November 12th, 2014

Like our Mimitoys Facebook Competition and win The Kidkraft Magnolia Mansion worth €154.95

Terms & Conditions

  • This competition is in no way organised, supported or sponsored by Facebook. When entering this competition you are providing your information to Mimitoys not Facebook.
  • After entering each participant has complete release abilities.
  • The competition winner will be selected by random selection of all likes and comments received on this post.
  • Competition entries end Midnight 19th November.
  • Dollhouse will be delivered to winner at no cost to winner.
  • Only adults above 18 years are permitted to enter this competition

 

 

Late Late Toy Show – Mimitoys Opinion Piece

November 30th, 2013

Late Late Toy Show – A Mimitoys Opinion piece
I havent shared this publicly but normally I dont watch it. I always thought it had no purpose only to indulge the urges of individual children, parents and toy shops.

Spokes Trike from Mimitoys

Ryan on the Mimitoys Spokes Trike

This years Late Late Toy Show in my opinion was utterly different. It felt like after the intermission on the last Ireland hosted Eurovision ie riverdance.

It was a full show, highly entertaining and sprinkled with creative ingenuity.

The cup dance & song routine was breath taking aswell as the opening shot with the audience creating the roof of “London Town”. The quality of dance and song was out-standing and the set gelled the whole event together.

I think someone at an RTE programme level put a lot of thought into this years event which demonstrates that less cash and more creativity sometimes can create brilliance.

Magnolia Mansion by Kidkraft

Magnolia Mansion from Mimitoys

I am inspired and that team deserves profound congratulations.

Photos around this blog detail our toys that got some screen time.

Although there was more emphasis on high play value toys than previous years, I still think there should be more reviews of toys that give long term play value to children, which after-all is value for money. Rather than pure entertainment toys that are quickly ignored and often get binned by Summer.

….but then again I would say that – as I sell those longer term engaging toys !!! – Mimi

Spokes Trike - From Mimitoys

Live show review of Mimitoys Spokes Trike

Extraordinaries from Mimitoys

 

The Late Late Toy Show and Mimitoys

November 29th, 2013

We have had a wonderous nice experience with the team from RTE’s Late Late Toy Show.

As I was preparing our marketing for the end of the year I popped a personalised letter to RTE with a few piccies of the toys we do – ie traditional toys with a focus on learning / development.

We got a call back from The Toy Show Team and were asked to present at their facilities in Donnybrook. I stuffed various toys into the family carrier – they were big heavy pieces such as assembled Dollhouses and Kitchens and drove into RTE’s car-park.

 

I was a bit nervous as I had visions of carrying these bulky items for hundreds of meters through corridors / swinging doors / stairs / through canteens and chatting groups of people.

Not a bit of it – 3 of the researchers came out to the car to help me. It was a big gesture massively appreciated.

Since then we have been in regular contact – with a final request yesterday for some extra toys to fill the background of the set.

Personally I’m looking forward to seeing Ryans co presenter from Monaghan – he seems like a character.

The toys you see here are the main items we sent up to them.

You simply don’t know what gets reviewed – so fingers crossed. Anyway lets see tonight if any of our toys get some TV time.

Our Toys at the show are

Click Here for Magnolia Doll House

Click Here for Spokes Trike

Click Here for Mega Ramp

Click Here for Race Car Spinning Top

Click here for Extraordinaries

Click Here for Tap Tap Vehicles

 

Traditional Toys and play

October 22nd, 2013

When toys are great, they are much more than just fun.

Mimitoys has this year again compiled a choice of great toys to fuel kids imagination and get them to play, have fun and learn at the same time.

We believe in toys that are engaging, good quality and promote kids natural sense of play.
Why do kids always end up playing with the box? Toys shouldn’t be complicated and don’t have to be trendy.

I think the best toys don’t even need electricity! All it takes is kids imagination…

Traditional Toys

Traditional Toys

Good old fashioned traditional toys such as Jack in the Box or Spinning Tops have always been our best sellers.

Kids are as much amazed now looking at them as we were in our childhood…

Picking the right toy is always difficult, particularly for Christmas when there is so much financial pressure out there and kids are able to come out with
these amazing long lists for Santy!

 

 

 

 

Here are a few pointers,

  • make sure the toy is age appropriate, often kids are attracted by what they see on telly and we tend to ignore the suitability of the toy for our child.
  • Find out what your kids like to play with, if they spend all day at school or with a minder, it is worth asking them for their advice.
  • Ask yourself, would I like to play with that toy? Would I like to watch my kid play with that toy?
  • Parents too love to play, and toys such as dolls houses, play kitchen, car playsets are a good way to get into your kids world and get to play with them.

Mimitoys has 10 years experience selling toys to parents of children from young age to 12 years old, we are passionate about what we do, the toys we sell and like to share that with our customers.

We offer a Christmas Club to make Christmas purchases easy. All toys available online at www.mimitoys.ie, delivery nationwide, call us at
1 890 520 025.

Most Modern Toy Website – www.djeco.com

June 28th, 2013

Earlier today I posted a facebook entry on our most innovative toy supplier Djeco.  Their toys are copied the world over particularly in China, but they in my opinion are still 2 years ahead of everyone.
It appears to be a company that encourages strong innovation.

Further proof of this innovation is their main website www.djeco.com – which is innovative to the point of being utterly unique.

enter website address www.djeco.com
Wait for the site to load to 100%
Click English
Then click collections
Then click enter
Then click on the toys in each room
Then “turn The Wheel” to see new rooms again click on toys displayed within each room

Firstly this is a site mainly for Toy Shops to see at an easy glance what their full range is.

And initially when I saw it first I thought it was irritating and distracting. But ….then…..as you play with I began to see its genius.

I think you need to distinguish between 2 types of customer behaviour when they are on an e-commerce website.

In my experience customers are either browsing or buying. If you are browsing you are looking for ideas and information – the browser feels no compulsion to buy – they are only at info retrieval stage. If you are buying you have your list eg “I want a Kidkraft Dollhouse” and you are on that e-commerce website in order to consider a purchase using least hassle and least cost criteria.

So the genius that I see on this website is that it appeals to that browser I mention above.
These browsers want to visualise they don’t want lists. This animated approach perfectly gives that visualisation e.g. you are in your daughters bedroom, you might consider puzzles, blocks, wall hangings & art kits.

Now the next step in this approach I believe is where the browser sees interesting products and clicks on them to add into a grand wish list basket.
The next time that person returns to the website you then have the option of browsing further as above or going in to your wish list to buy some or all items previously added to the wish list.

What do you think, would this method of e-commerce browsing work for you. Is it too irritating or can you see this approach helping you make considered rational purchase decisions.

Let me know.

Planning for Family Holidays with Young Children

June 15th, 2013

Mimitoys – Family Holiday Ideas

Its mid June here in Ireland – so that means the secondary schools are already on hols whilst the primary schools (5 – 12 years) have until the start of July before their long days lounging on freshly mown lawns.

Except of course to many Irish parents, where both parents work outside of the home, children’s Summer holidays is a real juggling challenge. Where brothers / sisters, parents / parent-in-law, neighbours or the older sibling mind the younger ones until an adult gets home from work.

The other challenge these last few years is affordability. Nearly all families in this recession are working with less disposable income than in the past. For many this means taking a holiday at home.

Holidays at home or away, if they involve children, they need planning. Particularly back – up planning.
What are you going to do if it rains, is someone has sunburn, if every-one refuses to go for that walk / swim.
What child activities are planned for evening-in, evening out or long car journeys.
What happens when yourself and the other adult want to get 1 meal alone, 1 walk together or 1 sleep in !!!

You need to plan child entertainment. Child entertainment cannot only be electronic entertainment. Children will get very cranky if they are gaming for hours on-end.

To have a balanced menu of back up child entertainments, you need a selection of options. Yes e-games but also more traditional toys and definitely yes to social all family all age games.

From the Mimitoys facebook page dated 15th June we have put together an album of traditional toys and games that are suited to family holidays.

https://www.facebook.com/Mimitoys.Ireland

Mimitoys at justforkidsshow 2013 in RDS Dublin

May 27th, 2013

Hi – we had a great weekend at our RDS show.
Our outdoor swings, slides and see saws were very well recieved. We met loads of really interesting companies that are definetly worth a look if you are in the market for educational / interesting child activities.

http://www.kumon.ie
Spoke with the head guy who detailed how successful this maths programme was. Pointing to a young teenge girl who had successfully completed the exam of Year 1 – Civil Engineering maths paper.

http://zen.coderdojo.com/dojo
Apparently attending is free – there are locations all over the country.
This is the one for Navan – my local area

http://zen.coderdojo.com/dojo/207

I spoke at length with the lady who designs and prints educational posters. Really very impressive artwork.

http://www.woollypublishing.com/

I didnt speak with these fellas – but a fantastic concept to assist children with dyslexia in their reading

http://www.readassist.ie/

Mimi spoke at length with the lady who runs Pinatas Pinatas. She has a great high quality product

http://pinataspinatas.com/

I spoke with a lady who has built an app that encourages and assists children to improve their 3D drawing. Very very impressive

http://www.sneakyvegetables.com/

Then I spoke with the crowd who do Gaelteacht for sea sports. – Wow fab idea !!!

http://uisce.ie

Eamon – the director of Zippit – and I had a chat. I’ve seen the videos and I’ve done this with the Kids in France. Whens its in a wood or forest it so much more enjoyable. These fellas have some runs that are very long indeed.

http://www.zipit.ie

Anne O Connor from Secret Valley Park in Wexford was beside us. She is one dedicated lady and talked warmly about the Racoons, Lemurs, Pigs, Ponies and other animals she has on her open farm

http://secretvalley.ie

All in all a great concept of an event. I really found the exhibitors very interesting and sort of kindred spirits with a vision and now looking for new customers.

How to estimate Value for Money in a Toy

May 20th, 2013

So here is an interesting thought when considering a big toy purchase.

How to you calculate value for money.

Is it their actual price ie is a 59.99 dollhouse better value than one at 134.95. Is it the relief from the ongoing pestering. Is it the beauty, cuteness or design.

As a parent and toyshop owner I reckon its cost per hour of play.

Let me explain my approach. We have a brood of 4 children. Ages 13 to 5 who have standard toy tastes.
Last week, as the 3 of them were jumping away on our 2 year old 14ft trampoline (yes we are bad parents allowing 3 in at the same time) – I got to wondering how much the trampoline costs per hour of play.

Three of them are in that trampoline at least 20 minutes each per day (now that the weather is drier) and 10 minutes during the winter.

If we call each season 180 days – then hours per season would look like this for Summer
180 X 3 X 20 mins or 180 hours of play
….and for winter
180 X 3 X 10 mins or 90 hours.
Together 270 hours per year.
Lets take in the 2nd year of play. Thats 540 hours of play.
A long lasting tough 14 foot Trampoline costs 490 from http://www.mimitoys.ie/category_20160_Trampolines.html – lets say 500.

So that works out at 92c per hour of play.

Do the same maths on a long lasting Dollhouse that we do eg The Deluxe Townhouse http://www.mimitoys.ie/product_5228_Kidkraft-Deluxe-Townhouse.html at 169.95
Thats a play environment normally for 1 child. Perhaps 15 minutes per day over 2 years. Thats 180 hours in total.
Which is Euro 1.05 per hour – cheapere in price but more expensive in cost per hour of play.

So if you have a few chislers then a toy that grabs everyones interest, makes the most value for money sense.
And a long lasting trampoline is one of the few toys that does grab the undivided attention of children.

 

 

STEP2 Toys – Who are they?

July 3rd, 2012
STEP 2 Neat and Tidy Cottage Bright

STEP 2 Neat and Tidy Cottage Bright

All companies are run by people, and a few companies have people with capability, vision and respect . For me as a toy shop owner, STEP2 are within that small group of companies that have a real story.

STEP2 are the market leading manufacturer of “rotational” plastic toys.  Rotational plastics is the process of manufacturing hollow plastic products such as this Step 2 Neat and Tidy Cottage.

STEP2 was founded by Tom Murdough in 1991. But the real interesting aspect is that Murdough previously founded Little Tikes which he sold to a company that is now owned by MGA Entertainment of Bratz and Moxie Girlz fame.
After 5 years managing Little Tikes, he then left and 2 years later set up STEP 2 with five employees. It has now grown to its present 800-plus full-time employees.

Now if you look at the range of both companies, they are selling the same products to the same people through fairly much the same shops. However this didn’t get in the way of a good party as when Little Tikes held a 40th anniversary party, they had the generosity to invite the founder and former chairman, he had the generosity to accept.
Can you imagine the awkwardness during that party “So tell me Tom what did you do with all that money from selling Little Tikes!!!”.

There are two unique factors when considering a purchase of  STEP 2.

Firstly their plastics use a high content of UV stabilisers allowing the colours to remain clear and bright year after year.

Secondly as a result of manufacturing nearly everything in The US, they can innovate very quickly and test market new lines of toys without considerable expense and without huge time lags.

The feedback we in Mimitoys get from our Parent customers is twofold.  Firstly the excellent attention to detail that stimulates play and secondly the robustness of the toys – they last generations.  A Step2 purchase will be used by your children’s children. Just wipe off the mold and moss and it will still work.

These factors means I believe that it is a value for money toy.

What is Safe Play

May 30th, 2012
Can Playgrounds Elinate This?

Can Playgrounds Eliminate This?

The childcare sector is awaiting the deliberations of the Irish Goverment body “Pobal” on a grant scheme called the NCIP Grant. So in advance I got to doing some research on preschool insurance risks for outdoor play.

I spoke with Richard Webb of www.playsafety.ie – he inspects public play parks throughout the country and is also an active member of www.playireland.ie -an Irish charity that promotes outdoor play specifically with children that have various challenges.

Richard kindly pointed me in the direction of an excellent article on the risks and benefits specifically of playground play, but in fact the contents apply to all outdoor play. Full Article here.

In summary there is growing concern about how safe are public playgrounds. However the UK evidence details that of the two million or so childhood accident cases treated by UK hospitals each year, less than 2 per cent involve playground equipment.

In fact participation in sports like soccer, widely acknowledged as ‘good’ for a child’s development, involves a far greater risk of injury than that of playground play.

So how do you evaluate play ground risk ? You can’t eliminate it. The article poses a truth that if we as children didn’t take any risks none of us adults would have ever learned to ride a bike.  Playgrounds (both public & home based) aim to manage risk, not eliminate it.

So what are acceptable and unacceptable risks? Three factors are central to determining whether or not the level of risk is acceptable or tolerable:

1.    the likelihood of the child coming to harm;
2.    the severity of that harm on the child;
3.    the benefits, rewards or outcomes of the activity.

Judgements about the risk of a child-centred robust physical activity are not formulaic. Reasonable human judgement is a requirement. Specifically we need to make judgements about acceptability based on an understanding of the balance between risks and benefits.

For example a child hanging upside down by the legs from monkey bars

1 The likelihood of the child coming to harm in my opinion is reasonably high for a toddler

2 The harm incurred if they fell is also quite high – broken arm concussion etc

3 The benefits are greater co-ordination and leg strength

To me as a parent I would stop my toddler engaging in this activity. However lets look at a toddler paddling on the water edge at the beech under parent supervision.

1 Likelihood of harm is low but the parent may become distracted with another child so a possibility exists

2 The harm incurred is a possible drowning.

3 The benefits are sensory development – self expression etc

In this case although the risk is death, as a parent I am willing for the child to continue as the likelihood is so low.

Outdoor Climbing Frame

Outdoor Climbing Frame

We perhaps also need to add a cultural dimension or to put it more simply, you need to add in the child / attending adult’s perception of that risk. For example walking along the hedge of a field populated by cows can be interpreted by child and adult alike in two ways.

  • country children / adults could see it as a very low risk activity – they are familiar.
  • city children / adults could see it as a very high risk activity ie they are not cows – they see them as bulls ie they are unfamiliar and are therefore terrified.

So we are summarising that play should be evaluated on the severity of impact if the risk should take place, the likelihood of that risk taking place and the developmental benefits of that outdoor play.