Why I buy what I buy

If I were to point out the main difference between my job and that of say, a dentist, I would say that it’s that I look at toys all day long and a dentist pulls teeth. I look at toys for a living — I play with them, I think about them, I try to break them and then put them back together, I set them all out and decide which I would choose to buy and play if I were making a purchase — it’s a pretty awesome job.  In an effort to keep the Marbles assortment fresh and new, I bring 30 new products every four months and, I must say, I don’t think I have been more excited about a batch of new products than I am about the products being released today. As a part of the new release, I thought I would share generally how I go about choosing products for Marbles and specifically why I chose some of the newest additions.

There are literally hundreds of thousands of products out there that Marbles could potentially carry.  I traveled to a Toy Fair in Nuremberg, Germany this year and there were thirteen convention halls, each three football fields big, all filled with toys and games. My job is to wade through everything out there and to handpick the 250 products that are perfect for Marbles. To do this, I’ve created a Marbles smart filter, a five level system that weeds out the cheap stuff, the commonplace stuff, the boring stuff, the ugly stuff and the mindless stuff. What’s left is what you see at Marbles: the highest quality, most innovative, interesting, attractive and brain worthy products on the market.  Rather than show you everything that’s out there (junk and all) and make you do the filtering — an overwhelming and frustrating experience — we curate the best products for you, so that you can have fun…because buying a game shouldn’t be like pulling teeth.

Here are a few of the newest products and why I chose them:

Piperoids and Pepastars: I first saw these clever Japanese folding toys in a contemporary art museum and I knew immediately that I had to have them at Marbles. You take the geekiness of origami and combine it with the nerdiness of Japanese robots, and you get a SuperGeek toy that is perfect for our store. I loved putting them together (hard enough to make your brain strain just a little, not so hard that your eyes pop out) and, as witnessed by my little photo shoot, probably enjoyed playing with them a little too much for a grown adult. Altogether a solid find.

Charley Harper Memory Game: Finding products that are appealing to young and old alike is always my goal and this new take on the classic concentration game fits that perfectly. The artwork is by Charley Harper, an American Modernist Artist specializing in minimal realism. I love the way that each piece of art on the cards is broken down into the fewest possible elements, elements that your eyes can scan and recognize and that your memory can then process and retain. It’s a microcosm of what we do everyday as we process the world around us and recognize/remember patterns. It’s a beautiful and fun game and if you appreciate style and good old fashioned fun, this should be on your coffee table.

Staccabees: I love when games take a classic concept and then add a little twist. It’s that twist, the change from the norm, that we are always pushing for at Marbles. Science shows that when we do something differently from the way it’s always been done our brains grow the most. Staccabees takes the Jenga concept of stacking and removing and adds the twist of different sized blocks and a spinning top that determines whether you are adding to or removing from the stack. On top of the great game play, it a beautiful all wooden game, one that I can see lasting generations. I love heirloom games and Staccebees is our newest and best.

I hope you have fun exploring all of the great products on our site. If you have any suggestions for products that you think we are crazy not to be carrying, please let me know.


Scott Brown
Director of Product Development

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One Response to Why I buy what I buy

  1. Ryan says:

    Sounds like you are Willy Wonka but for toys – keep up finding these great brain toys!

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