Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Not to mention that shopping ends up more and more stressful, frustrating and disappointing as the lines are long, the crowds are ornery, and the somewhat-generic gifts that I'm looking for are often out of stock. And when I do need help? I cross my fingers that I'll find an employee that is interested in helping, not to mention that they'll know more than only how to scan an item to find its price.
Instead, when it comes to shopping for just the right gifts for the children in my life, I dream of the perfect toy 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, sold with concierge-style superior customer service and free gift wrap.
Which is why this holiday season, I am happy to know about a specialty store on a mission to not just assist but delight the shopper (and the little recipient): 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, 12 distinct toys, ideal for preschoolers to tweens, made the 2013 Brilliance Award list with prices ranging from $12.99 to $84.99.
Whether your child prefers art, geography, games, science or more, this diverse list of products has something for everyone. From Lego City Brickmaster, fun for the future engineer, to Gobblet Gobblers, an early strategy game, to the Switch & Spin Magnetic Gear Board for a unique twist on magnetic toys, the Brilliance Award winners are excellent suggestions for kids of all ages.
While my kids would adore playing with an easel, darts, a toy treehouse, chubby vehicles,a circuit board, a world map puzzle and more, there was one particular toy that sparks imagination that I knew would be an especially big hit.
Considering how much Big Sister E has been interested in magic ever since seeing a magician's act a few months ago, I knew her eyes would light up at the ability to put on a performance of her own with the Deluxe Magic Set by Melissa & Doug.
There are no batteries required with this innovative set, as magic works on brain power, wonder and imagination, of course!
The amusing illusions and crafty slight-of-hand tricks are just right for my young magician to practice and perform and she has adored that these easy-to-learn tricks are the same ones used by professional magicians.
The 10 classic tricks provided include: Disappearing Ball, Magic Coin Box, Secret Silks, Great Escape, Magic Number Prediction, Money Maker, Egyptian Prediction, Vanishing Zone, Cylinder Squeeze and Vanishing Coin... and I love seeing my daughter's confidence soar when she performs one or more of them correctly!
Retailing for $34.99 and designed for ages 8+, the Deluxe Magic Set by Melissa & Doug is a beautifully made, durable toy that holds up to rehearsal after rehearsal and provides creativity, laughter and imagination each time — exactly what Brilliant Sky stands for!
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 Magic Set 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.