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Oh, Happy Day!

Friday, February 10, 2017 3:45:17 PM America/Los_Angeles

The joy of a first grandchild.

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Posted in General By Anne Stewart

It's a Bolo Party!

Thursday, September 1, 2016 2:16:00 PM America/Los_Angeles

Time to celebrate the 4th annual Novel Toy Red Solo Bolo Cup Tournament.

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Posted in General By Anne Stewart

Delivery Problems

Thursday, July 7, 2016 5:44:13 PM America/Los_Angeles

I have been using Canada Post for all my deliveries ever since I took over running Novel Toy.  I didn’t do this blindly but with thought and research. It was the best answer to my delivery needs.  And I still believe that to be true.  Other than in a few cases where someone required a shipment very quickly I have relied on Canada Post.  I am now facing the reality of a potential mail disruption and it will have a big impact on my business. I can’t wait for the lockout to hit Sunday night before I make alternate plans for my deliveries.

For the past week I have been busy contacting various courier firms to see if they can handle my business and reach all my customers.  This is a big country to cover!  There will be no increase in cost to my customers for the switch in delivery service, it is all a part of doing business.  Due to the heavier customer load the courier firms will be carrying there may be some delays in getting goods to their destination.  If you are a customer that currently has shipments sent to a P.O Box  they will now be sent directly to your street address.  If you are business that operates in the Lower Mainland and wish to pick up the shipment yourself please contact me about that.   I hope you will all bear with me during this time and look forward to a speedy resolution to this lockout if it happens. 

thanks,

Anne

Posted in General By Anne Stewart

So Many Toys, So Little Time

Monday, May 23, 2016 4:34:32 PM America/Los_Angeles

The large order of toys from the Las Vegas convention order have arrived. The driveway is full of boxes, ready to be inventoried.

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Posted in General By Anne Stewart

Convention Time

Friday, March 18, 2016 5:24:04 PM America/Los_Angeles

Novel Toy services a niche market in the toy and novelty world.  We provide items for people to GIVE away so obviously our customers want those items at as low a cost as possible. Quite a bit of my time is spent sourcing out goods, not only the toy items but all the bags and boxes and other items that go into the shipping process. Costs are constantly rising for everyone, our suppliers, our shippers, our catalogue printers to name a few. To help with this issue Fred and I attend the ASD Market Week  in Las Vegas. It is held twice a year but we only go to the one at the end of February.  It is held at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the largest convention center in the world, 2 million square feet of exhibit space.  That’s a lot of stuff to see!

Toy Show

 

This year a couple of friends decided to tag along on the trip and make a party out of it. We all chose to stay in the Fremont area, the old part of Las Vegas, off of the strip. It’s a different atmosphere there, less glitz, more grit, more our style. It was nice to have friends to relax with in the evenings after our long days spent in the convention center.

 

Limo group vegasVegas badges

Riding in style from the airport in Vegas                                                     It's official, we are retailers!

Fred and I walked to exhaustion for two days trying to see everything at the show.  We don’t actually purchase goods at the convention but we try to find new items to add to our catalogue and strike deals over items I buy often. Sometimes the deals I can get there on shipping costs alone help a great deal. Since Novel Toy purchases most of its goods in U.S. dollars the terrible exchange rate of the last few months has made things difficult.  I don’t want to pass on those higher costs to my customers so I try to find other ways to save and hope that the dollar will soon bounce back.  Even as I write this the dollar has improved slightly and that is a relief to see.

Most of my competitors are Canadian branches of large American companies who are not bothered the same by the drop in the Canadian dollar. Their Canadian sales are only a small part of their business. I want to thank all my customers for their loyalty and their support of an individual Canadian business owner. Being smaller I can be more attuned to my customers’ needs. I am always happy to source out something specific someone might want and discuss what I can do better  for them. Please call or email me with any suggestions or requests you might have.

Pabst man

It wouuldn't be Vegas without some neon.

 I won’t mention the details of our weekend in Vegas because as we all know, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas! ;)

 Anne

Posted in General By Anne Stewart

Holidays

Sunday, March 6, 2016 5:28:54 PM America/Los_Angeles

A downside to running my own business is trying to get time off, especially time off with Fred as he is my right hand man in Novel Toy. It seems every year that the best time for us to get away is over Christmas and New Years. Many of my clients close their doors during the holidays and therefore demand on the business is down.   Unfortunately it is also the busiest and most expensive time of the year to travel!  For the last several years we have gone to Mexico for a warm and sunny break over the holidays but this year we decided to do something different. We planned a trip to New Orleans and San Destin, Florida.

 Prior to leaving we always host an early Christmas dinner for our family which includes our parents, our children and their spouses and an occasional friend. I always cook a turkey with all the trimmings and make it as Christmassy as possible despite the date. Stockings full of small gifts are exchanged and funny hats are worn.  Part of our tradition is Christmas baking and most years that includes gingerbread men… and women.  I grew up icing gingerbread people in our kitchen at home and have kept that tradition alive with my kids. It was a great dinner this year, full of fun.

              Our real family at Christmas dinner and ......................................................our gingerbread family

Christmas familyGingerbread men

 

 

 

Once the clean up from dinner was done and the extra gingerbread put in the freezer Fred and I made our escape to New Orleans. We had never been to New Orleans and really enjoyed the different feel and energy the city has.  After a few days of exploring we rented a car and drove to Florida along the Gulf Coast.  Disappointingly we caught the outside edge of a tornado and suffered through torrential rain. Rain so heavy we couldn’t see the landscape we were driving through. Nothing to be done but stop, have a beer and some oysters and hope to wait it out.

Anne in Florida

The rain continued to follow us all the way to San Destin. While warm, it was awfully wet for much of the time. That was the chance we took going to Florida, especially in an El Nino year. We did our best to enjoy the sights and the wonderful seafood that region has to offer. Next time we’ll wait for spring!

 

Fred at New Years

Happy New Year and Gung Hay Fat Choy! Its the Chinese lunar year of the Red Monkey and the monkey is my favourite animal.  I am looking forward to the appearance of more monkey toys around Novel Toy headquarters.  I can't resist monkeying around :)

Our next trip is a weekend in Las Vegas for a big toy show in late February. I’ll keep you posted.

Anne

Posted in General By Anne Stewart

Family Matters

Friday, March 4, 2016 5:50:12 PM America/Los_Angeles

Small businesses take a lot of time and energy. I love what I do and most days I don’t have enough hours to get everything done. That’s where family comes in.  Over the years I have relied on and appreciated many hours of work, both paid and unpaid from my extended family.  I have employed my sister, my two children, my step daughter and my nephew as well as getting help from my brother and sister in law and other assorted friends and relatives.  Whether it was the initial set up in my townhouse in Richmond or the two other moves I have gone through I could not have done it without everyone’s help. It takes a lot of shelving and boxes to house Novel Toy’s inventory and many hands make light work.

 

 Fred putting up shelving.                                                                     Organizing, organizing, organizing.

Fred on ladderkids on driveway

 

 Through it all my most reliable unpaid help has come in the form of my mother.  My father died over six years ago and left a big gap in her life. She and my dad had run their own women’s wear retail business for many years and had employed me as a teenager. Through that I was able to see firsthand the effort and enjoyment that came from being  self-employed. They loved what they did. So now it was my turn to return the favour.

Every Wednesday for years my mother, June has come into Novel Toy, usually armed with lunch for me and has given me an extra hand and moral support.  In the last few years she has had a companion, Frank who also comes to lend a hand.  Frank ran his own auto parts business for many years and loves to see someone else be “hands on” in their own business.  So at the ages of 86 and 89 they have been my oldest helpers but probably the most reliable! Last month they moved to Vancouver and the distance is now too far for them to come in every week.  They will be missed. Thanks, Mom!

My mother, June with Frank

mom and Frank

Family is so important to me and such a big part of my working life as well, I can't imagine doing what I do without them.

Anne

Posted in General By Anne Stewart

Helping with the Hard Hats

Thursday, November 19, 2015 3:31:04 PM America/Los_Angeles

The weddings of my children are over and fall has fallen. It is back to work as usual at Novel Toy. Fall is a busy time with us as many of my clients offices fill up with children when the new school year starts. Dental appointments, vision testing and the like all come to the forefront in the fall when everyone is back into their regular routine. Although a large part of my business is providing small toys and games as rewards for children having a dental check up there is another side to what I do. I am often asked by a group, such as a bank, a charity or a school to provide a large number of items to help them with a special event. Sometimes its a large amount of one item such as the bright yellow hard hats I was asked to find for a school in BC that was having a ground breaking event to celebrate a new performing arts centre being built on the property. The staff assembled the student body outside, all outfitted with their hard hats and took a picture during the ceremony. I was delighted to see it in my inbox.

GNS hard hat day

 

They required 850 hard hats in all and I was happy to be able to get them for the school. Other times I have been  asked to provide smaller amounts of many different items when a school or church is having a fair or themed event. I am always up for the challenge of finding something at a price that is suitable and making sure it gets where its going on time. 

If you have an event coming up and require some items please consider Novel Toy first before spending hours searching the internet or the dollar stores for it. Let me do the research for you. Drop me an email or call me on the phone. I'm usually the one that answers and will be pleased to discuss what your needs are. 

Anne

Posted in General By Anne Stewart

Wedding!

Monday, June 8, 2015 11:41:48 PM America/Los_Angeles

The story of two weddings in a year. What Novel Toy can provide for your wedding.

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Posted in General By Anne Stewart

Let Me Introduce Myself

Monday, June 8, 2015 11:40:50 PM America/Los_Angeles

This post is to introduce myself and tell you a little about my history with Novel Toy.

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Posted in General By Anne Stewart

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