So interesting. I had a friend over to the house the other day and after showing them Eli's nursery, they asked why we had toys from other wooden toy makers on his shelf and not just our toys.
It really made me think, and I wanted to share what is on my mind.
We don't compete with other wooden toy makers. We just don't. It's not who we are and we don't think it's a healthy focus for Bannor Toys. Every minute we spend worried about what someone else is doing is time we are not focused on where we are taking Bannor Toys! We aren't the toy shop who brags about our products or uses fancy words to promote ourselves. We just don't operate like that and it makes us tremendously uncomfortable. Jesse and I love what we do. We love our customers. We love being able to give back to our communities. We love that our toys make kids smile. We love to think outside the box and try new things. That's it! (We also love to support other small American made businesses!)
When we opened Bannor Toys, we could count the number of wooden toy stores on etsy on less than 5 fingers. We worked incredibly hard to be unique and different from what was already out there. That being said, there is only so much you can do with wooden toys, designs that will pass safety testing, and wood types that are locally and responsibly harvested. Now, there are more wooden toy shops on etsy than I can count on two hands, two feet...I could keep going. The first time we saw a new toy store pop up that looked exactly like ours it not only made us angry, but broke our hearts. But you know what? How great that people can go wherever they want to get a American made toy! It's awesome that people have options! Can you imagine shopping at one store for the rest of your life?! No way! But we pay attention to what WE are doing. It's extremely intentional on our part. Paying attention to what everyone else is doing takes away our creativity. Our vibe goes away. We're no longer special or unique...we're just like everyone else. So we do what we do and that's it!
In the past month or so we have found some awesome (awesome) partners that we are going to collaborate with. We are so excited to promote other small (and big) American businesses and announce their accomplishments when we can. For us, it is part of the entrepreneur community. We aren't getting paid to love their businesses, they aren't asking us to promote them, but they are AMAZING and we want you to love them like you love us.