The adventure in to the retail world is new to me.

I’m the mother of three and had been employed full time by my children and spent nine years raising them. After seeing my youngest into JK, I needed to do something for myself. The lure back to corporate life, was just not enticing enough for me. I wanted to be close to home and still be there for my children. Starting my own business had been a lurking desire for a long time, all the stars seem to align itself in the period of two years.

The inspiration behind this store has been my children. It only seemed fitting to have the branding of the store incorporate their personalities. The playful characters of the brand are based on my children. Their opinion, suggestions and creative input has been and continues to be infallible. Their input and suggestions has been a very encouraging and a delightful process in sourcing and experimenting with the plethora of products out there. My wonderful husband has been my cheerleader, handyman and my sounding board. Through the entire process of the ‘light bulb’ going off in my head, to the inception of the store, we have made the entire process a family journey.

The world of toys is something every parent is well versed with.

The moment I discovered I was going to have my first baby twelve years ago, I wanted to be more aware of my world and become a more educated consumer.
Thus, began my journey into finding out more about what I wanted my child/children to be playing with, consuming and their overall well being.

I started sourcing toys that were safe, environmentally friendly, non- carcinogenic and fun for my children. The adventure soon lead me to realize all the dangerous materials that were being used, the over packaging of the toys and the constant outsourcing and recalls by some of the biggest toy manufacturers.

I tried to make a concerted effort to refrain from buying into the poorly manufactured and hazardous toys, but found that it was really difficult and at times impossible to not give in to the mass consumption of corporate advertising. Superheroes, die-cast cars and various other basics of childhood were all being manufactured with very little concern of materials, labour practices or quality.

My kids were growing up knowing that they couldn’t have certain toys because the toys had ‘bad plastics’ or ‘bad paint’.

I felt like I had some control over what my kids were exposed to, and then realized that I needed to know more and started to read and find out more about Phthalates, BPA, lead poisoning etc. Twelve years ago, the dirty secret of BPA was just starting to emerge and this really was very alarming. I started to look into more of the alternatives out there and found a whole world of other like minded people who were also feeling like they wanted to know more and see a change.

My continuing journey and adventure into the toy world after 12 years still continues. I decided that I knew a little to start my own toy store concept and introduce it into my little community of Unionville.
With hopes of the concept reaching a wider audience.

Thank you, for taking the time to read about my objectives for the inception of Hodgepodge Toys

Shafina Hayat CEO/Founder