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14 Nov '13

Q & A with Brimful

Posted by Annie Messing in Behind the Scenes

The last few weeks of running the shop have been pretty exciting for me and Kari: new products were added, Design Mom hosted a Brimful giveaway, and many trips to the post office to send off orders. As we anticipate a busy six weeks ahead, we just want to thank you again for all the support you've shown Brimful in its first few months. We know you have many places to shop for baby toys, so it's pretty special that you chose our little shop!

As Brimful gains a larger audience and more web attention, we've also received more inquires about our products and where we source them from. One particular question struck me as one that would be relevant to share here on the blog. 

A customer recently wrote us asking if we carry any products made in China. 

"Many wonderful things are manufactured there, but I try to limit my purchases." she wrote. 

Here is Kari's response:

Thanks for your inquiry into our products sources. I'm happy to share that information with you. 
We currently only carry 4 products (links below) that are produced, in small batches, in China. 
I can assure you we would not have carried them had the quality not been exceptional. 

Mojo Monkey | Moogly Lion | Snorfy Giraffe | Soft Puzzle Blocks

Finding fun toys for little ones is easy.
Finding fun toys that are well-made is also relatively easy. 
Finding fun toys that are well-made and truly unique is not so easy.

Kari and I spend a lot of time researching products for Brimful. We purposely avoid any brand that has already saturated the market. That means if a product can easily be found at the many lovely independent toy shops across this country, it most likely does not make the cut for Brimful. I cannot tell you how many times we wanted to carry something and had to say no because we really wanted to offer you products that were from lesser-known brands, owned by small business owners like ourselves. 

The other aspect of how we choose our products is how well made it is. Just because a toy is made out of wood doesn't mean it's high quality! A few weeks before Brimful launched, Kari and I sent back an entire shipment of stackers because the quality was abysmal. Yes, they were wooden, and cute, and very popular, but we knew they would not hold up after a few months of play. The paint would flake, the wood would chip...and you guessed it, they were mass-produced in China. That being said though, there are toys that are made in small batches in Asia, that are of good caliber. The stitching is strong, the fabric is above standard, and the product will hold up after years of loving upon. Those are the kinds of toys we love and whether they are made here in the US or overseas, we want that kind of quality at Brimful. 

We have so much fun finding new things and dreaming about what you might fall in love with for your little ones. Remember that we are mothers of little children too! So if you have a question about how suitable a product might be or how it will wear over time, please ask us. We are here for you. 

xoxo,
Annie

 

02 Oct '13

How Brimful Operates

Posted by Annie Messing in Behind the Scenes
brimful owners

 

Today I want to share a little more about how Kari and I operate Brimful! 

When we decided to become business partners, one of the obvious questions we both had was how we were going to split the responsibilities. Because my husband is in the military and we move every few years, it made the most sense to have Kari be in charge of the order fulfillment and customer service.

For Brimful's branding, packaging, and shipping methods to all come together cohesively, Kari had to do a lot of research! She attentively puts together each order you receive...from our cute fox sticker to the brown kraft paper that protects the products...Kari has carefully considered every detail. In addition, most of our product photography was her work...and let me tell you, it's not as easy as you might think! Kari's strength is truly in making things look beautiful and I really admire that about her. 

Kari and I have an inside joke that while she's the "voice of reason" in our partnership, I'm the "lead foot". I like to get things done! So when it comes to communicating with our vendors, researching new products, and managing our social media outlets, I make sure time-sensitive emails, pins, photos, and status updates get completed. I can be a bit impulsive about decisions, which is why it's a GOOD thing Kari can slow me down when more thinking is required. 

The bottom line is, we love working together. Sometimes the fact that we live in different states and time zones, can be a challenge, but it also gives us the necessary space to have healthy boundaries with Brimful and our family time. We will always be friends first, business partners second. That means that if Kari needs to cut short a conversation about new products because her toddler needs attention...or if I can't FaceTime because I'm watching "Silver Linings Playbook" (again!) with my husband...that is OK. 

I hope you've enjoyed this peek behind the scenes of how we operate our shop. If you have any questions about our business or want further details on a product, please drop us a line at info[at]brimfulshop.com.

xoxo, 

Annie