One of the pleasures of my job is getting to know families from all over the country. When we first started the toyportfolio we started with friends and family…but that quickly grew to families that we didn’t know–from all spots on the map…Alaska, California, Florida. Long before facebook, I feel like we developed a wonderful network of both moms and dads that I know only through emails. Over the course of our conversations, I quickly learn which families love games, hate puzzles, feel strongly about complicated instructions and dread noisy toys! I even went through the angst of the college admissions process with one mom as both of our oldest kids were applying to schools!
Really great testing families take the process seriously (while having fun of course). Last year we had a family leave New Jersey for Hong Kong…another to London. I miss these families and their wonderful feedback. When Joanne and I go through toy fair, we often will discuss the kids that have particular interests–knowing we found a product that will probably be perfect for them to take a look at.
Some of our testers also have joined me for segments on the Today Show. The Denny family has been doing this for several years–and they’re always up for some fun on the set–and do a great job passing time in the green room waiting and waiting…for the time to go up the stairs to studio 1A and play.
So it was with very mixed emotions that I learned that they were leaving the city — opting for more space in the suburbs. I totally get it–and now it means they will be able to help me with more outdoor toy testing, But I will miss seeing them!
Below is a picture of Betsy and her kids Jake and Josie…her older daughter Annie (a seasoned toyportfolio tester) insisted on going to school instead of being on the Today Show. As Betsy and her husband tried to convince her to change her mind…they laughed, realizing that their daughter had her priorities in order.
So happy trails to the Denny family…and a big thank you to all of our testers that provide such valuable feedback – and make our process unique and ultimately really valuable to other consumers looking for objective information about children’s products before they buy.