The Curious Bear Toy & Book Shop
The Curious Bear Toy & Book Shop, located in Fircrest, Washington, is owned by Jennifer Luna and is the sister store to Paper Luxe & The Crest Home. The retail locations are independently owned and operated by Jennifer Luna and Laurie Hicks, a mother-daughter duo. Luna is also the newest editorial board member of Stationery Trends, Gift Shop Plus’ sister publication.
This store’s mission is to “provide children and parents alike a delightful and enjoyable place to explore,” Luna said. Books, gifts, toys and puzzles of all types and price ranges are on hand for all ages. The brick-and-mortar offers an amazing in-store shopping experience, but it also sells merchandise on its website and on Instagram and Facebook.
“We take great care and pride at The Curious Bear in choosing the products we carry. You’ll find high quality books that excite, puzzles that challenge, games that inspire, STEM and Montessori inspired toys and…all the latest trends including Pop Its and Tonie Boxes,” she explained.
Luna shared that the most requested item right now is Pop Its. “All kinds and every kind. Unicorn shaped, game controller shaped. Keychain size, extra large size. Rainbow colored, glow in the dark,” she emphasized.
Overall best-sellers include: bath bombs, books, Glopals, magnetic toys, Pop Its, puzzles, rocks, Tonie Boxes and plush. Luna sources the magnetic toys from Magnatiles and Connetix and plush from Jellycat and Douglas. “We also sell a ton of balloon bouquets for parties,” she shared. She also admitted that she, like other retailers, is dealing with challenges related to sourcing product in the current climate and issues with the supply chain.
The Curious Bear provides seasonal displays at the front of its store, which are refreshed frequently. “The rest of the store has its designated areas so people can easily find what they are looking for,” she said. “Because we tend to buy more SKUS in smaller quantities, we have to consistently reorganize and re-merchandise each area. But that’s what we love so that things don’t sit long, can be easily moved around as needed and keeps customers finding new things each time they come in.”
The shop also offers bundled gift options to customers. “We love a good themed gift!” Luna said. “We have some bundles listed on our website (dinos, unicorns, rainbows, etc.) and offer quite a few more around the holidays. Our staff is trained in helping customers theme and bundle gifts and we wrap for free.” This approach makes it easy for customers to get help, grab a few items that pair well together and have a gift solution that is literally ready to go with the free giftwrap service. Her clients love that service.
Prior to COVID, Luna conducted events weekly and monthly. The weekly story times were a huge draw and its monthly coffee and donut play date were equally as popular — the parents were able to enjoy coffee and donuts while the children played. Additionally, it has hosted a local national soccer team to conduct a book reading and meet-and-greet after. Other events include local author book readings and signings. “People love an opportunity to get the kids out of the house somewhere that is easily accessible. We truly hope to begin offering these again soon,” Luna shared.
A “strong online and social media presence is absolutely key” Luna noted. She posts to Instagram and Facebook daily and conducts weekly and quarterly “lives” where customers can chat with staff to learn about new products or sales. “We also have fun making reels and TikToks and not taking ourselves too seriously!” she shared.
For more information, visit www.curiousbeartoys.com.