Many of our first memories of desires can be pinned down to an experience in a toy store. Whether it was pleading your mum for some Sea Monkeys or your first Bratz Doll, there was nothing like the excitement of walking through aisles of unattainable toys and writing your next Christmas wish list.
The newly renovated Toyworld in Myer Centre Adelaide is any children’s dream…. Parents approach with caution and prepare to be inundated with a vast array of options to spoil your little ones.
Toyworld is a locally owned business carrying the largest offering of toys, games, puzzles and indoor activities of any business is SA.
Toyworld owner, Claire Modra, agrees that even from an adults perspective it’s hard not to get excited upon stepping foot into this toy wonderland where you are instantly surrounded with the biggest, broadest, most colorful range of products for all ages and sizes.
We chat to Claire to find out more about what it takes to own a business and juggle three children:
What did you do before owning Toyworld?
I was a primary school teacher.
What sparked the idea?
It was six years ago and I was coming to the end of my maternity leave with our first child. My husband knew I wanted to stay at home and raise our family myself, and he also knew that Simon was looking for a change of scenery, so he came up with the idea of us being business partners. It was a huge risk, and totally uncharted territory for all three of us, but we dove in head first. We were incredibly lucky to inherit a team of staff who guided us through the first crazy Christmas!
What was your favourite toy growing up?
Definitely LEGO. And I never went to sleep without a bed full of teddy bears.
Who helps out with the business? What family members are involved?
Simon my brother-in-law does all of the operational side of things, and works full time in the store. Trav my husband keeps an eye on the finances, and I potter around with the bookkeeping, marketing, HR, and any community/charity work that we can get involved with.
What’s it like to own a toy store and have three kids? How do you juggle everything?
It’s hectic, and messy, and most of the time I feel like I’m dropping the balls rather than juggling them! There are lots of late nights and busy days, but I try and stay relaxed. When I get uptight about the messy house, or the 118 unread emails, the kids feed off my anxiety and it all becomes harder.
Do your kids get to test out a lot of the toys?
Not as many as they’d like! If I want to showcase something on social media, I’ll bring home a sample for them to muck around with, and we often end up adopting the broken and damaged stock, as I can’t bear to throw it out. Our backyard is like a shelter for unwanted and wonky toys.
Favourite product/toy that you have in-store right now?
I’m a big fan of the simple things – valuable play happens when the child is doing more than the toy! Open-ended toys are always going to inspire more authentic engagement and light up the imagination. Another firm favourite is games (old school games). We are huge advocates for putting away the devices and connecting in a fun and real way. Regularly playing card games and board games with our kids is incredibly important to how we operate as a family.
How many products does your store have?
Oh gosh, it’s hard to keep up. Probably four or five thousand!
Check out Toyworld’s extensive range: