With a key emphasis on traditional toys, Karen Dorn owner of online store The Forgotten Toy Shop, aims to bring imaginative toys and games to the young and ‘young at heart’. Here she speaks to Jade Burke about managing her online business alongside a market stall and her hopes to one day open a physical store in the future.
Tell me a bit about your business and how the online store began?
The Forgotten Toy Shop is a small independent business that I grew out of the desire to help bring the magic of childhood back, bringing the best quality traditional toys and games for the young (and young at heart).
After returning from travelling around Australia, I needed a job. With the help of friends and family I set up my online store, which I run alongside my market stall.
What types of toys do you stock online and on your stall?
We sell traditional wooden toys, puzzles, retro games, puppets and pocket money toys.
How important is it for you to sell traditional toys?
It is really important to me to sell traditional toys to customers as we start to see a generation of children becoming more and more absorbed into the life of electronic devices, shutting themselves away from others.
Traditional toys can help enhance children’s development and also rekindle those memories for parents and grandparents, reconnecting them with the magic of childhood.
What do you look for when sourcing new toys?
I am always on the look out for high quality products that inspire children to create, discover and use their imagination.
What would you say is having the biggest impact on your business at the moment?
The biggest impact on my business is the arrival of my baby boy, Zachary. Becoming a mother means that I have recently had some time off on maternity leave. However, having the time to adjust has inspired me to go further with my business.
What services do you offer your customers online?
The services I offer each of my customers is the opportunity to buy quality, traditional toys that trigger memories and nostalgia, while also offering excellent customer service.
Can you tell me a bit about the market stall you run?
I have a weekly market stall in the historic market town of Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, which I put together on a Tuesday. I have a presence there every week, with weather permitting.
This is where I originally started the business, and I also get a lot of great comments about my stall. People come up and say how great it is to see the old traditional toys and how nice my stall looks, which is a real compliment as it takes a while to set up each week.
Are there any physical toy stores that customers can find your products in?
Yes, I have a small range of products available to buy at two children’s boutique shops. One is isobel&henry in West Bridgford, Nottingham and the other is Snuggles & Kisses, which is based in Beeston, Nottingham.
Do you plan on expanding your business into a physical store in the future?
My ideal dream would be to have my own physical store in the future; it just comes down to being able to find the funds and the perfect place to have it.