Homegrown Business: Stacey Greenberg, owner of Ode to Toy

Ode to Toy is a Toronto eco-friendly business that sells toys. We spoke with Stacey Greenberg, owner, to find out more about them.

What is your business called and what does it do?

Ode to Toy is a new eco-friendly small business that sells pre-loved and new toys, children’s books and sporting gear for up to 70% off of retail prices! All items are sanitized, cleaned, and ready for your kids to love. Nothing is over $100. We reuse all packaging, try to deliver on foot/by bike, and deliver for free for a $60 minimum. Ode to Toy is anti-racist, anti-xenophobic, anti-hate, and feminist. We are pro-love; and LGBTQ, multi-culturalism and pluralist friendly. We are building our children’s book library to reflect all of these values.

What made you want to do this work? What problem did you want to solve with the business?

For your wallet. For the environment. For their joy. I’ll explain a bit further.

When I had my beautiful baby girl in 2019, I quickly became overwhelmed by toys and books.

· They were so expensive! Sure, I could scour Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace for deals, but let’s be real, who has time for that as a new parent? And to go all the way to pick up, and get there, and learn the quality wasn’t what I wanted?

· They were so terrible for the environment! I sucked it up and bought some stuff. They came in packaging. Wrapped in packaging. In another layer of packaging. Urgh.

· They were quickly discarded! Does my daughter have the attention span of a flea? Yes. Is that developmentally appropriate at this point? Also yes.

· The stores throw out returns! Did you know that many big box stores throw out returned toys? What a waste – perfectly good toys, often in NEW condition, going to the landfill!

So here I was, stuck with a bunch of costly, environmentally burdensome toys that were played with for a few minutes (ok months). I could sell them once she tired of them, but again, new parent – who has time for that? I prefer to use my “spare” time sleeping and eating.

I knew I wasn’t the only one with these issues.

What if I could give these toys a second life? What if I could ensure that you’re not mortgaging your firstborn for Magformers? What if I could assure you that the quality is there: puzzles have all their pieces, games are complete, and dolls have all of their limbs. What if you could get your toys dropped off directly? What if you could sell with almost no effort on your part – picked up from you (for free!) when your little has outgrown their current interests. What if we could save BRAND NEW items that were about to be trashed from a landfill?

Well, that’s exactly what Ode to Toy is going to do. We will bring your little ones joy, as all toys and books do (well, at least temporarily). But we’re also going to bring YOU joy. You’ll save your hard-earned cash (nothing is over $99.99), do our part for the environment, and get that old stuff out of your house quickly and easily.

We will all play it forward.

Who are your clientele/demographics?

Parents with kids, grandparents, people giving gifts…everyone.

How does your business make money? How does it work?

It’s a retail site.

Where in the city can we find your profession?

We are an online-only store, but we deliver in the GTA for free with a $60 purchase. You can also pick up at St Clair & Oakwood.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services? Give the answer as well.

Why would I buy from your business when I could buy on Kijiji or Craigslist?

We sanitize your item, guarantee their completeness, and guarantee their quality. We also deliver with a $60 purchase, so there’s no more leaving your house to see an item that’s not quite as described and leaving empty-handed. Plus, our prices are comparable!

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

I get to make kids happy, and because the kids are happy, I get to make their parents happy too. There’s no real worst part, though lying awake at night dreaming about how to scale the business is a challenge.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

Every Friday I list a “kids joke” on my Instagram, vaguely related to toys. It’s called “Funny Fridays” – here’s a good one.

What kids of balls don’t bounce?

Eyeballs.

Womp, womp.

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another local business that you love?

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