As a mother-of-three recently back to work after a long time in my kitchen office, I have a soft spot for moms who seem to be able to do it all. And then there are some who can do it all and win awards along the way. Sabrina Baker is one of those women.
It has been an amazing year for the Bumblebee Toys owner.
Baker was just won the 2013 Influential Women in Business Award where she was nominated with the likes of Val Semeniuk of Kootenai Moon and Janet Skolka of Jilly bo Billy.
“What an honour to win this in the midst of so many amazing and influential business women,” says Baker. “I’m totally floored and it completely caught me off guard.”
Found at bumblebeetoys.com, Baker’s business also won six platinum and one gold awards in Kootenay Business’ first Annual DidiTech Awards handed out this winter.
Chosen for favourite overall website, e-commerce website, retail website, blog, Facebook page, eNewsletter and Twitter feed as well as favourite use of photography, the list of honours is long and impressive.
Baker was also nominated for MOMpreneur Award of Excellence put on by ParentsCanada last fall. Through all these accolades, Baker feels pleased she “can be an inspiration to others whether they are women in business, or hard working moms.”
“It’s been long journey with many mistakes and successes and I’d love to think I can help others follow their passions also,” she says.
Started in 2007, Bumblebee Toys offers a unique collection of natural toys, crafts and playthings “to inspire the imagination and nourish the senses,” says Baker.
Bumblebee Toys is a small family-owned and -operated online toy shop based in Nelson, B.C. The owner, Sabrina Baker, offers her customers a unique collection of natural (and often Waldorf-inspired) toys, crafts and playthings "to inspire the imagination and nourish the senses."
Bumblebee Toys was a multiple-category winner in Kootenay Business's 1st Annual DigiTech Awards, handed out in January 2013. We sat down with Baker to find out the challenges and pleasures of running an online toy shop.
Being that I'm an online store, my target audience are online users as well. It's the primary way I advertise, market and promote. With so many people being online nowadays, it's a very effective way to get your products/brand out there.
There are many challenges in selling any products online, and with toys . . . people love to browse rather than always going into a store with the one item in mind they want to buy. Because of this, online toy stores need to make the website enjoyable to shop at, beautiful to look at and interactive, engaging and easy to use. Another extremely important element is to have excellent photos of the products. Because the customer can't hold it in their hands, the photos need to be detailed, appealing to look at and large. We work on achieving all these goals—and thanks to our fantastic web developer, he's made our website beautiful and very functional too.
To be honest, the busier my store has gotten, the less time I have to blog. But I love to be able to share with my customers. Because my target market is parents, the topics are endless—from parenting to recipes to funny stories about children.
One iPhone, one iPad and one Kindle
I use Pinterest, Facebook and Paypal apps for my business all the time. Any other apps mostly belong to my kids.
I get a ton of my business advice, learning and more from following my competitors, and cross-competitor friends on Facebook. I sometimes stumble upon various blogs on the Internet, but rarely do I read anything for leisure—it's always for the business. Because I have a large Facebook following, I do a lot of reading on Facebook from other like-minded businesses, customers and business resources.
It would be a good thing to see more local businesses online with appealing websites. A lot of shops don't even have an online presence, and I think it's time for people to realize that customers use the Internet more than a phone book these days.