Monthly Archives: March 2013

As seen in Australian Mother & Baby Magazine

Some of Entropy’s musical toys were featured in Mother & Baby Magazine’s special Making Music focus this month. Being exposed to music at an early age is said to have benefits for coordination, creativity, brain activity, memory, concentration and even vocabulary skills for little ones. Definitely good reasons to get thumping, tinking and tapping!

Find Discoveroo’s Fruit Music Set, Fun Factory’s Egg Maracas, and Haba’s Whirligig Clutch Toy on our website. You will also love Janod’s Wooden Pullalong Tattoo Xylophone, Wonderworld’s Rainbow Sound Blocks, and Haba’s Big Sound Workshop.

Easter toys a long-lasting alternative to chocolate

The Townsville Bulletin’s Growing Families segment interviewed our Chief Poobah Dr Deborah Latouf about ways to add extra play value and magic this Easter. The article also included Entropy’s Top 5 Easter Toy selections. Why not work some extra eggcitement into your Easter Egg Hunt by alternating chocolate eggs with little toys, or having a fun Easter toy as the ultimate find at the end?

The Entropy Elves’ Great Easter Egg Hunt overall winner announced!

For the past week the Entropy Elves have taken great pleasure in hiding Easter eggs all over our website – some were easy to find, but sometimes the elves got very tricky indeed! We hope everyone who entered had fun searching and cracking the clues.
After awarding a prize each day, we have just drawn the overall winner… DRUM ROLL please – a very big congratulations to Esther Martin who has nabbed the bumper Easter hamper featuring $150 worth of goodies (modelled here by the lovely Elves Bec and Michaela)! Here is a breakdown of what’s in the basket in-case you spot anything you love:

Haba Dancing Eggs Game, Sylvanian Families Cottontail Rabbit Family, Djeco Cockadoodledo Puzzle, Chicken Shuffle Game, Folkmanis Mini Rabbit in a Hat Puppet, Folkmanis Mini Chick Puppet, Schleich Farm Life Chicks.

Also, here are our daily winners and the prizes they nabbed.
Day One: Jane Earle – Micador Early Start Egg Chalk
Day Two: Gay McCauley – Moulin Roty’s Small Wonders Kaleidoscope
Day Three: Marieke Bauer – Haba Wind-Up Scampering Rabbit
Day Four: Edwina Lee – Djeco Hearts & Beads Jewellery Kit
Day Five: Sharyn Williams – Janod Magnetic Alphabet Book
Day Six: Georgie Westley – Seedling Top Secret Spy Kit
Day Seven: Agnese Stead – Haba Biofino Vegetable Crate

Once again – thanks very much for being part of this competition and we hope you enjoy an Easter egg hunt of your own on Sunday!

The Entropy Elves 🙂

As seen in My Child Magazine…

As you know, we just LOVE German toy guru Haba here at Entropy. So we were pleased that Haba’s Antiquity Master Builder Set made it into the latest issue of My Child Magazine. This stylish wooden set is great for a room decoration, but also a fantastic way for budding architects of all ages to foster their creativity. This Greek Temple can be fashioned out of 42 pieces with seven different shapes and – just like the real Parthenon – the quality wooden building blocks will stand the test of time.

Haba’s Antiquity Master Builder Blocks are $89.95.

Evan loves his Wishbone Bike

As one of the recent entrants to our Favourite Entropy Toy competition, we heard all about gorgeous little Evan and his love of his Wishbone Bike.

Wishbone BikeA present for his second birthday; nine months later Mum Andrea describes her son as a little “Speedy Gonzales” on the popular wooden balance bike.

“He absolutely loves it – we take it out nearly every day and he can keep up with me and his sister Nadine… we live on the Gold Coast near the beach so it’s perfect,” says Andrea, who – as a bike rider herself – was keen to get her children in the saddle early.

Evan’s Wishbone Bike was a gift from Grandma, and a lot of research was done before the family made the investment. “It’s the only one we could find that went from a trike to a balance bike and, since having it, we have been really impressed with the quality,” Andrea tells. “People stop us all the time to ask where we got it from – someone even asked if I made it… I wish!”

Wishbone Bikes are available in a standard model, high gloss (red and green) and limited editions Apple and Alphabet ABC, plus have a series of great accessories like stickers, nameplates and seat covers.

Toy and Gift Fairs – done! Now the real excitement starts…

Our toy-finding missions in Sydney and Melbourne are complete and we have returned to Elf HQ with plenty of inspiration. Here we chat to our travelling elves to find out about their trips and what their treasure-hunting adventures have yielded.

What was the most ‘wow’-inducing product for you across the Toy Fair and the Sydney gift fairs?
Deb: We found hand-felted items (puppets, play food, room décor) that are fashioned in small villages in Nepal. I have a love for handmade items with a great story, and these tick both of these boxes.

Grace: Djeco’s new construction toys with the metal diggers and interchangeable heads. Also I love Theatrix’s Hippie Sticks – they let me take one home and I’m obsessed with it!

Bec: Definitely the Fairy Doors – I got just a little bit excited! I’ll be setting one of these up in our craft area as soon as they come in.

Carly: Oooh that’s so hard! Really liked Seedling’s Spy Glasses though – avert your eyes sideways and you can see behind you. Also loved Petitcollin’s new dolls – they are so beautiful and stylish.

What are the top three things you learned from the recent trade show trips?

Elf Deb – Chief Poobah
1. It’s vitally important for suppliers to ensure that the staff who attend their stands are knowledgeable and enthusiastic: On occasions fantastic product can be ‘let down’ by a rep or staff member that does not have the knowledge or personality to do it justice.
2. No matter how far you have walked, or how many people you have spoken to, you still need to pay attention to each and every stand as the hidden gem could be there.
3. The more I do trade shows and the better my knowledge, the longer it takes me to get through. I think you assess items with a different level of detail.

Elf Grace – Operations Manager
1. Stands that have the best lollies/choccies are always ones that you’re more willing to spend more time on.
2. You forget you’re wearing the elf ears until you start attracting lots of very curious looks.
3. The confirmation that we really do have the best toy selections – the absolute cream of the crop, especially when you are faced with so many plastics, licences and throwaways to sift through.

Elf Bec – Retail Store Manager
1. The reminder that there’s a lot of hard work and strategy that goes into selecting our toys, puzzles and games.
2. Building relationships with suppliers is vitally important, as well as taking note of the way they have merchandised their stands.
3. The realisation that there’s nothing better than comfortable shoes, a wheelie bag and a soft bed at night!

Elf Carly – Publicist and Senior Writer
1. Understanding the ‘back story’ of each product and supplier was valuable for me in order to appreciate the context and the particular strengths of various brands/ranges.
2. Walking while Facebooking/Instagramming without crashing into moving and stationary obstacles is truly an art.
3. Realising that we are already investing quite significantly in our social media/communications and are on the right track (perhaps compared to other retailers who are just starting to dip their toes in the water) – there are so many opportunities!

You’ve most recently returned from Toy Fair 2013 – how did it compare to previous events?
There was more new and interesting product at this fair than there has been in the past five years, and a team of three of us battled to get through it in three days. We have a very established range, but the time was in meeting with existing suppliers and seeing what fab new additions they had, plus visiting each stall to see if there was anything that would really add to our current line-up. Now we’re back, we are going to have a brainstorming session to see where we are doubling-up and where there are opportunities for new brands and products. Once we have decided what our customers will love the most, we will start introducing the treasures over the coming year. If you’ve told us you love something, we’ll let you know when it arrives!

Was there a particularly memorable experience out of the whole trip?
Elf Deb: Sometimes it’s good to go to these shows to reinforce the fact that we are doing a good job in bringing our customers great items across the whole spectrum of age groups we work within.
Elf Grace: I won’t forget the amount of Redskins, Minties, and lollies consumed, as well as the number of Noah’s Arks we saw (we have a running joke with our Chief Poobah about her attraction to this toy – we currently have five in stock!).
Elf Bec: Spending time with our Elf team outside normal working hours – it was still work, but a lot of fun too.
Elf Carly: Getting our elves to pose in all sorts of situations for the sake of reporting back to our customers. They got their revenge on me on the last day though by insisting I crawled into a tiny tent. Twice.

Melbourne: Toy Fair – Day Two

Another productive and fast-paced day in the world of sourcing wonderful toys! We think these pictures speak for themselves…

Images from top left, left to right: T-Rex is on the prowl; Elf Grace with the great magician Elio Simonetti; Ragtales’ gorgeous new tooth fairy; new construction toys from Djeco that are just made for sand pits; Papo‘s new Galactic Adventure range of figurines; Dion with a fab wooden catapult that medieval-lovers can build and play with; Bruder’s life-like cattle truck and cow; Robert and John get excited over I’m Toy‘s wooden cleaning set; a demo with Thinkfun‘s latest and greatest games; Folkmanis‘ gorgeous new Alpaca puppet (yes, he is as soft as he looks); a whole village from Sylvanian Families (lots of new additions on the way); Heebie Jeebies‘ Flick demonstrates her favourites, including a set of eyes that turn your hand into a puppet and the ‘unpredicta-ball’; Sonia Hartmann’s stunning boy dolls; and Terra Kids‘ wooden critters have a life of their own.

The final day of our pilgrimage is tomorrow, then the elves head back to Entropy Elf HQ to deliberate what beauties we will bring to the line-up and when. Don’t worry; you’ll be the first to know when they touch down!

Melbourne: Toy Fair – Day One

The elves have packed their bags and donned their most comfy walking shoes again to head-off on another toy hunting escapade. This time we’re in beautiful Melbourne for the annual flagship event for our industry — the Toy, Hobby & Nursery Fair (aka Toy Fair).

It’s like Santa’s workshop on red cordial with aisles and aisles of stalls spruiking this year’s latest arrivals to hit the market (and — if you ask really nicely — secret stashes of lollies and Tim Tams for extra toy-hunting energy). But for us Entropy Elves, we are obviously on the lookout for very specific and special products to bring to our loyal toy lovers — we only pick high quality toys that get minds and bodies active, have a distinct ‘wow’ factor, and long-lasting play value. We certainly found a few new treasures to add to our trove, but it was also a big day outside of the halls.

For one, our honorary Chief Poobah was voted in as a board member on the Independent Toy Specialists of Australia (ITSA) — an organisation that’s dedicated to championing traditional toy retailers. We are sure she will be able to offer plenty of pearls of wisdom with her award-winning business prowess! Also, ITSA announced the Toy of the Year winners across several different categories, as outlined below. These are great performing products that us elves can report have received fab customer feedback. Then, to top off a big day, we have just returned from a networking dinner at Melbourne’s Water Rat (great food!) where we shared ideas from the wonderful world of toys, including favourite finds. Basically, being a bunch of big kids, we couldn’t resist cracking out a couple of new board games and giving them a trial run on the dinner table.

Off to recharge the batteries now — looking forward to another action-packed day tomorrow.

Gold Award – Mini Micro Scooter

Silver Award – Theatrix Magic Hat (see here for mini versions)

Bronze Award – Djeco craft kits

Windspeed Kites (bit of trivia – the Molly the Dog kite actually features Windspeed Kites’ owner Chris’ real dog Molly – she is 14 now, but the design is from a photo taken of her as a puppy – nawww)

Rory’s Story Cubes

Eco Torches