What to buy? Do my kids really need it? Where it is even available? How long until a neighbor or classmate or older sibling spills the secret about Santa Claus and takes away much of the magic anyway?
When it comes to the actual shopping process, I have to admit that the whole experience tends to leave me feeling rather stressed, frustrated and disappointed. It seems like no matter when I go to any of the local big box stores, the lines are long, the crowds are ornery, and the somewhat-generic gifts that I'm looking for are often out of stock.
Not to mention that finding any sort of customer service can feel like the elusive needle-in-a-haystack kind of search. And, although I have no doubt that the employees are knowledgeable and hardworking, I seem to have a knack for hunting down the ones that aren't extremely eager to help or don't actually have the answer to my question anyway.
While that doesn't bother me all that much when my list includes things like deodorant or dishwasher detergent, when I'm shopping for just the right gifts for the children in my life, I was something... more. A store that doesn't just carry the fads or the "in" things, I want a store that offers high quality, entertaining, educational, unique items that are sure to be a favorite in just about any household for years to come.
Which is why this holiday season, I couldn't be happier about being introduced to a specialty store on a mission to not just assist but delight the shopper: Brilliant Sky Toys & Books.
The first Brilliant Sky Toys & Books was founded by a husband and wife team in 2002 in Lansing, Michigan with the singular goal of being the finest upscale specialty toy store in America. In today's day and age where customer service is often a computerized telephone voice, Brilliant Sky began with the goal of bringing back service with a smile.
Inside every retail store (there are currently 15 and counting), customers find an enchanting place where shoppers, toy manufacturers and franchise owners wake up every day ready to play. From the inviting, interactive atmosphere to the high quality products that give children a gateway to physical, emotional and cognitive development, Brilliant Sky provides a unique, warm, friendly, engaging shopping experience.
Unfortunately we don't have a Brilliant Sky Toys & Books in our area just yet, as I have a feeling that the girls and I would spend a great deal of time there. With more than 10,000 high-quality specialty products, I could lose myself in browsing the special, educational, interesting and innovative toys for sale, while my kids would be thrilled with the toys, art supplies, books and more that are on display to sample.
I'm not sure which would be better, knowing that my children are happily engaged while I shop or experiencing Brilliant Sky's genuine, friendly customer service from staff that is passionate, caring and really knows what it means to believe in their products.
Because truly, this is one store that doesn't just sell toys, they really do believe in them. They know that the right playthings can teach, inform, enlighten, reinforce and enrich and that they have the ability to foster self-esteem, non-violence, patience, sensitivity, diversity, and tenacity.
And Brilliant Sky doesn't want to just live and breathe it for themselves, they want nothing more than to share it with the rest of us.
In their effort to be the best and select just what items make the cut, Brilliant Sky works with hundreds of toy manufacturers. And, although an item has to be pretty amazing to make it into one of their stores or onto their website, they have also coined their own annual best of show, the Brilliance Awards, where a handful of specialty toys and toy makers are applauded for rising above all others.
The award-winners represent the very ideals that Brilliant Sky Toys & Books was founded upon — the importance of quality, the value of open-ended play and the simple beauty of a child's fascination and delight. This year, seven distinct toys, ideal for preschoolers to tweens, made the 2012 Brilliance Award list (along with four honorable mentions) with prices starting at $16.99
Whether your child prefers art, music, games, science or more, this diverse list of products has something for everyone. From Tobbles, a stacking toys for toddlers, to a Boogie Board paperless drawing tool (we own this and think it's great!) to a Candy Cottage for reusable gingerbread house fun, the Brilliance Award winners are excellent suggestions for kids of all ages.
As my girls are into just about anything that involves crafting, we were excited to receive the award-winning Loopdedoo, a spinning tool that allows for endless design possibilities of the friendship bracelet.
There are no batteries required with this innovative toy, as kids simply guide any of the 18 included threads into the kid-powered machine and the spinning tool does the rest. The resulting creativity and inspiration is exactly what Brilliant Sky stands for and users can easily create a tremendous variety of stylish, personalized jewelry.
Retailing for $34.99 and designed for ages 8+, the Loopdedoo is a beautifully made craft toy that is such a great way to allow kids to express their individualism and personal sense of style!
Overall, it's difficult to find something not to love about Brilliant Sky Toys & Books. Their unique, beautiful gifts allow kids to express themselves through imaginative play and their passion for customer service can't be beat. If I could change one thing, it would be to open one of their retail locations in my city so that we could enjoy the complete experience ourselves!
For now, it's easy to visit Brilliant Sky on their website for all of my gift-giving needs and check out their free app to quickly find maps, events, savings and more if I'm in the area of one of their brick and mortar stores.
Brilliant Sky Toys & Books has a passion for play, a commitment to fun, and a dedication to helping every visitor find their way to play, so this holiday season and beyond, take their advice and discover, experience, explore, interact, and enjoy. That's the Brilliant Sky way!
(Other than the Loopdedoo that I received from Brilliant Sky Toys & Books, I was not provided with anything or enticed to do this review in any way. This review is solely my honest opinion of this store and this product.)