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Interview with a Toy Shop Employee: Joe

Interview with a Toy Shop Employee: Joe

Interview with a Toy Shop Employee: Joe

What is your name?

My name is Joseph but everyone calls me Joe!

I also regularly get called ‘Goose’ at home, not a nickname I chose but one that has been bestowed upon me by my little cousin!

How long have you worked at Grasshopper Toys/Curious Minds?

I think about a year and 7 months roughly. Wow, it’s longer than I thought!

What drew you to working at the shop?

The job I was in before coming to Grasshopper Toys did not suit me or my needs at all and I simply wasn't happy there.

It’s a totally different environment working at Grasshopper Toys and I really feel like I can be myself here. Grasshopper Toys offers a lovely atmosphere to work in and I get along super well with my colleagues which always helps!

What is your role in the shop/online?

I guess I’m a bit of a jack of all trades! My main roles are working in the shop helping customers with their purchases, and working in the packing room to get online orders out promptly! However, I also do a lot of work on our website to make it look as spiffy as possible.

Most recently, I’ve taken on the role of doing our window displays for the shop! I’m a little bit of a perfectionist with them if I’m honest, so if you see me standing on the street staring in the windows then just know I’m checking the symmetry!

Is there a day in the shop that stands out in your memory?

It would have to be when Holly and I did the Christmas fair at John Logie Baird Primary School last Christmas season. The extreme warmth of the gym hall mixed with Christmas jumpers and elf hats was less than ideal however we ended up having a really good time despite the heat!

The school kids were all super excited and it was a really fun atmosphere to be around. We brought lots of pocket money bits we knew the kids would love and we had a pretty busy little stand in the end.

It was a nice break from the norm and it was really lovely to do it together and work as a team!

You’ve been doing lots of window displays in the shop recently, do you have a favourite window display you’ve done and can you tease any coming soon?

Sometime last year, I did one that was dinosaur themed, that one's definitely a favourite of mine. We have such a wide range of dinosaur products across the board so I was able to make a really fun and diverse window with everything from Keel dinosaur soft toys to dinosaur excavation kits to dinosaur figurines.

The display pulled a lot of attention and we sold several items straight out the window so I was very pleased!

As for future windows, we’ve been doing a little series of monochrome windows which people have been really enjoying.

We did a yellow one, a blue one, a green one, and a rainbow themed one. Next on the list is probably red or purple, which should look super cool!

What was your favourite toy/s as a kid?

I really loved things like GoGos, Bakugan, and Pokemon when I was a kid – anything I could collect and trade! Not to brag but… I even had a couple of gold GoGos!

I was also a big fan of Gormiti but I’m starting to think I was the only one! We had some in the shop before but nobody really took an interest, I was heartbroken!

Down to the important details, what is your favourite range or product in the shop?

We only started stocking them at the end of 2023, but the Squishmallows have already become a favourite range of mine!

I have a Danny the Dinosaur clip-on Squishmallow on my keys currently so he’s probably my favourite we’ve ever had, however there’s a new yellow dinosaur keyring coming to the shop soon which has caught my eye!

Also, our arts and crafts range is a fairly new addition to the shop but it immediately took off. I think it was something we really needed in the town - craft supplies can be so hard to come by these days. Holly mentioned it as one of her best sellers and I’d have to agree with that!

You’re very close with your little cousins, what do they immediately reach for when they come to the shop?

Alasdair loveeees Schleich, especially the Eldrador series. Duncan too, they have plenty of dragons between them!

Alanna is a big fan of slime and fidget toys so our pocket money toy section is heaven for her!

Lochlan is super into Minecraft so I got him a Minecraft Lego set for his birthday. His favourite toy in the shop though is probably the whoopee cushions!

Do you think having that bond with your little cousins helps you in your job i.e. giving recommendations to customers?

I hope so! I’ve been giving recommendations left, right, and centre so I hope they’ve been of some help to people!

I live with 4 of my little cousins and there’s a decent age range between so I think seeing what they’re into definitely helps me to better serve our customers and answer their questions.

What is your dream range to stock in the shop?

I’ve recently discovered that there are Pokemon Squishmallows!!! It would be awesome if we could get some of those into the shop but I hear they’re super popular and often out of stock which makes complete sense in my opinion!

Personal dreams aside, I would love to expand our range of action figure type toys. My little cousin loves that sort of thing so I imagine other kids his age would like them too. Things like Minecraft or Fortnite figures would be cool!

We’re all big kids at heart so tell us, what’s your favourite way to engage with your inner child?

Living with 4 little kids means I engage with my inner child everyday hahaha! The kids always have some new fun toy or game they want to play together and I can’t lie… I have a lot of fun too!

I play Minecraft a lot with them and I also love to show them movies I liked when I was younger.

I do enjoy buying things like Lego or Playmobil Minifigures from the shop and displaying them on my desk at home!

What is one piece of advice you’d give to anyone working or looking to work in a toy shop?

I mean the most important thing is also the most obvious answer, just have fun with it!

Working in the shop and interacting with kids and parents every day, making a window display and seeing people stop to look at it, seeing what new toys we get in - these things are all pretty fun in my opinion!

Oh, and… take a gift wrapping class!

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