The State of the Union blog post is a quarterly update about our company, our family, + our goals and achievements for the quarter. When we started Bannor Toys in 2011, we started to win fans and hearts because we were transparent about how we build our toys, where the materials come from, and so on. We also share about our family, and how we want to be a part of your families and we want to give to help other families. This reoccurring blog post is a way to do all of that and also to give you a sense of what we have been up to and where we are going for the future!
Most of you that follow us on Social Media know that we moved our home and our business this last spring. We used to lease commercial property close to downtown Des Moines and it worked out really well but we wanted to build equity in our own property instead of renting someone else's. We found a modest acreage about 30 minutes north of our previous location that has a beautiful home and several buildings that we have, and are still renovating to serve as our wood shop, storage, finish rooms + shipping studio, as well as an office of course. It has been a challenge but also a dream come true. We added some chickens and a four wheeler to the mix, so the kids are pretty happy with country life too!
We also started a new and improved wholesale program this year. In just 6 months we are already in over 70 stores which has been amazing! Soon you will be able to find your favorite teethers and state rattles close to home! If you have a favorite baby boutique that doesn't carry Bannor Toys, shoot us a message and we will reach out!
Stacey still runs our entire front end, everything from finish work on the toys, to shipping, to social media, and more. For the past year she has been working on a part of the Movers, Shakers, Mommies & Makers book that was just released, she is both proud and humbled to have a part of her out there among the other women in the book. With how busy we have been Stacey is thankful she has some new help now that we are settled in! Mardi is Stacey's new shop assistant, she is being trained now to help with the finish work and shipping. SO HAPPY to have her on board so we can be confident that Holiday orders will be shipped quickly. Dena still helps out making all of our teether clips and helping out elsewhere when needed. The biggest asset we have brought on this year is Kim. Kim works out of Chicago and is our new Director of Wholesale and Social Media Relations. She is the biggest Bannor Toys fan that I know! She owned most of our toys before we ever reached out to her about working with us. Not only is she super knowledgeable about Bannor Toys, she has a passion for seeing family businesses succeed, both the toy company and the retail boutiques that wholesale Bannor Toys.
I (Jesse) run the wood shop. I specialize in running our CNC machine although the hand tool work is my favorite task. Matt still works for us part time as a shop assistant, going on 4 years now I believe. We are also in the process of hiring a second shop assistant. In addition, we still work with Jacob who runs a wood shop in Illinois for us. He and his shop assistant also mill lumber and use a CNC to cut out a lot of our parts before shipping them here for finish work and assembly. Everything we do happens here in the USA, we believe in keeping the support here.
Lastly, our goals for the rest of the year are awesome. While other companies have been coming out with hastily made new toys almost weekly, we have been taking our time this year in designing and launching a few really incredible toys that we feel take us to a new level as a toy company and really allows us to stand out and set ourselves apart as a brand. You may have already seen the Interactive Cash Register, the beautiful Toy Wagon, and the redesigned camera toy. We have a couple of other toys and collaborations in the works so keep your eyes peeled! 2016 has been our best year yet, and we don't foresee anything slowing down!