Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Toddle: Thoughtful shopping made easy

We've been decluttering a fair bit these days, in preparation for our move. One of the areas that I've tackled are the kids' toys, since I realized that they have accumulated a fair bit, and their mess was driving me nuts! 

Sorting through their stuff and reflecting on their play habits was enlightening. I was reminded that the less specific the function, the more mileage we could obtain from the toy. That you generally need to pay for quality, and that wooden toys really last longer than their plastic counterparts. The hassle of having to donate or sell the toys that I cleared from their toy pile was a painful reminder that I needed to be very intentional when it comes to shopping for the kids. I know that I tend to go a little crazy when it comes to shopping for toys, and I can't resist good offers, even though the quality of the toys may be circumspect. 

Enter Toddle, an online shop that aims to provide a thoughtful shopping experience when you have to purchase kid-related items online. Some time ago, I was invited by Silviana, one of the founders of Toddle, to try shopping at their web-store. I admit I was torn on wether to take up the invite. On one hand, I wanted to say no, because I had enough of dealing with kiddy stuff after all that decluttering. On the other hand, who could resist shopping for stuff for the kids? 

I decided to browse the shop before giving her a definitive reply. I liked what I saw: The site was a breeze to navigate both on desktop and mobile, and each product listing was informative and detailed. However, the turning point came when I looked through their selection of toys. Toddle claims to carefully curate their selection of merchandise, and pick items based on their criteria which they have termed as Toddle Tags.  Their criteria go by the abbreviation "S.H.I.N.E" (for smart, healthy, investment, necessity and eco-friendly). 

The thing is, any shop can claim that they curate their toys and state a list of criteria. It's just like how retailers can box up any plastic thing that blinks and goes beep at a press of a button, and claim it aids in teaching hand-eye co-ordination and manual dexterity. But the true test in this case would be in the selection of toys they sell. A quick browse through their listings showed many of our favourite brands. I spotted Hape, a mid-range German brand which we loved because of it's affordability and their focus on sustainability, as well as Plan Toys, which uses organic rubberwood in their products. I also found many Melissa and Doug products, one of the brands that stocks the most affordable wooden toys. Toddle seems to take the business of curating products seriously, and there was not a single plastic thingamajig in sight. I really loved this idea of providing a thoughtful shopping experience, so I said yes. 

I really appreciated the efforts to equip buyers to make well-informed purchase decisions, from the detailed product descriptions, to providing more information on their blog and in their info guides. The folks at Toddle frequently share informative posts on their blog, which range from tips for choosing a car seat, to how to prevent mold from growing in baby's feeding gear. The site also provides info guides to help shoppers in their purchase process. I found that these were really well-written: each guide lists down the available options for the relevant type of product, tips on how to refine your selection, as well as features to consider. 

Toddle also prioritizes customer service, as can be seen from their 14-day return guarantee, as well as their fast delivery times. They aim to ship orders within 1-3 business days, and delivery is free for orders above $70. In our case, our item was delivered really quickly: we ordered our items on a Saturday evening, and the items were delivered on Monday afternoon!

Seeing how the whole shopping experience was so thoughtfully planned out made me curious about the folks behind Toddle. I had a chat with Silviana, who shared with me about how she and her partner Gabriel set up shop hoping to provide quality toys, to counter the problem of low-quality toys in the current market. Initially, the couple sourced their toys from China and other SEA countries, but found that the quality was still not up to scratch. Since then, they have spread their nets further, in order to bring in toys that meet their quality standards. Their goal for Toddle was to provide a wholesome shopping experience and value-added service, where useful information is provided on top of selling the physical products.

Silviana and Gabriel do not have kids yet, but what they lack in terms of parenting experience they make up by having a sense of objectivity, as well as innovativeness. Toddle boasts a buying team that is made up of a diverse group of people, all united by their love of innovative products for children. The shop frequently updates their range of products, and I noticed that they recently added great new selections such as Tegu blocks, Magnatiles and Cuboro. The couple are now working on partnering complementary businesses, medical professionals (such as lactation consultants and pediatricians) and educators to bring about new initiatives for Toddle. I love their drive and creativity, as well as their thoughtful approach to bringing up this "baby" of theirs. Indeed, as Silviana shares, their approach is embodied by their company name "Toddle", which is a verb - all good things start from the smallest of steps.

So what did we buy? We chose to go with a Hape Quadrilla marble run, since I figured the parts were simple enough for Small J to stack up, and the older two boys could use them to build complicated marble runs. I thought a marble run with wooden parts would be great, since it would last and the toy would have plenty of mileage, especially with four kids!

I loved watching them work together to build the marble run. The older two would help each other to balance the various parts while stacking the blocks. They tested the run again and again, and spent over an hour just taking turns to drop marbles into the run and watching as the marbles rolled along. 

It was great fun, and seeing them play reminded me about how good toys are those that can cater to a wide range of ages, and are open-ended enough to allow for creativity in play. This marble run is definitely something that will last, both physically (since it's made of wood), as well as in terms of engaging the kids (they can make a different run each time). 

Thank you Toddle, for reminding us to play hard, and play well! 


Toddle is offering a promotion for readers of this blog, where you can get 15% off purchases above $70! Just type in "JUSTINA15" at checkout. This code is valid until the 25th of June 2016, and cannot be used concurrently with other promo codes. (PS: This is a good time to grab those magnatiles!)

They are also giving away a "K's Kids Pull-Back Auto Vehicle Set" to one reader of this blog! To take part in this giveaway, please follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. For more information, please visit their website, and FB page (this is regularly updated with interesting links, so do like their page!).

1. If you can, do share about this giveaway with your friends (but this is not compulsory).

2. Do hop by to our Instagram account (@justtey) to join another giveaway to win a set of Plan Toys building blocks!

3. Please note that you have to like and comment on this FB post to enter, and all incomplete entries or entries using fake FB accounts (accounts set up purely to take part in giveaways) would be disqualified.

Disclaimer: We received shopping credits from Toddle for purpose of this review. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions are my own. This giveaway is not sponsored, endorsed or associated with Facebook.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...