Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The "See Me" Tunnel from Discount School Supply

Hi! My name is Lori Craig and I am one of the Buyers at Discount School Supply. I am responsible for these product categories: Open-ended Arts and Crafts , Active Play and Sand and Water.
In case “Open-ended craft” is a term new to you, these are crafts in which children receive materials but may create any end result; this is the opposite of a craft intended to have every child achieve the same result. For all of my categories, my job is to develop new and exciting products and to search for products that will enable Discount School Supply to offer the best assortment for you.

I wanted to share an interesting story about one of the products that we carry in Active Play, the See Me Tunnel. Although this is not a new item, it has been popular for several years. You may already know how fantastic it is. The tunnel is all fabric with a mesh top, which allows you to see the little ones as they crawl through the tunnel. In addition, this tunnel will not get hot like some of the plastic ones on the market. I bought the 9-foot one for my daughter to play in and to share with her friends at home. They all love it. They like to twist it into a circle so that both ends meet, and it becomes a never ending tunnel! This activity is great for at least a good hour of free time for me!

I have recently discovered the how durable this tunnel really is when we left it out in the living room one night. I kept hearing all of this ruckus in the living room, so I got up to see what our newly-adopted kitten was getting herself into. Lo and behold, it was the tunnel! In and out, over and over again, she played for at least two hours. She would play with the string attachments, run through with her ball and back again and she loves to rock it from side to side, making it roll with her inside. This new game has become an evening activity for both my daughter and the new kitten to play together. The kitten even pesters us to bring the tunnel out in the evening if we’re not getting to it fast enough! I am pleased to report that the tunnel is holding up great and not tearing, even though we all know that 3-month-old kittens have razor-like claws and like to shred!

I hope my story has entertained you a little and that it inspires your creativity to make up all sorts of games and different activities with our products. I would love to hear your stories!

Thanks for your time!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Help Haiti

Hi. I’m Judy McGuinn from Discount School Supply (DSS). Like many of you, we at DSS have been watching the horrific reports about the terrible tragedy in Haiti. Our hearts go out to the victims and to their families and friends in Haiti and around the world. We are inspired by the immediate, dramatic outreach of so many organizations and individuals.

We want to help, too. This weekend, Discount School Supply will contribute a portion of all sales at its website, , to the Red Cross for assistance to the earthquake victims in Haiti. Shop any time on Friday, January 15 until midnight PST on Sunday, January 17 to participate. If you’re a frequent DSS customer or if you will be visiting us for the first time, shopping with Discount School Supply this weekend will bring one more very important benefit.

Our staff and our customers have demonstrated a wonderful capacity for giving in the past. We hope you will join us now. Thank you.

Product Development at Discount School Supply!

Hello, my name is Cyndi Gonzales and I work in Merchandising at Discount School Supply. I am the Product Development Manager. My job is so much fun! I get to create many new items and concepts for our Catalog . It can be challenging producing new ideas. My boss and I usually brainstorm, read parent/child magazines, visit classrooms, or set up focus groups with teachers. This helps us determine if there is a particular need for something in the classroom or if something need improvement. Once I have a concept in mind and it is approved, it takes almost 6 months to one year to develop. When I am done, it is always rewarding to see the final product in our Catalog !

It is great to experience and try out new concepts with my 3-year-old nephew. His name is Kraemer. He means the world to me. I have learned so much from him. From a work stand point, it is very rewarding and educational to play and interact with him. As he has grown, he actually has taught me what he knows regarding his ABC’s and counting, and what enjoys playing with etc…I watch his manual dexterity skills and his eye and hand coordination improve. When he was a baby, it was great to watch and interact or play with him to see his likes and dislikes to certain colors or shapes. Above all, I love Kraemer and he is a very happy child and always a pleasure to be around.

I know how important it is for educators and parents to feel that the product is a good value and made well. Once Kraemer and I were using a prototype together, and it was extremely hard for him to squeeze. It was great because it showed me that I need to use a softer plastic so his little hands could manipulate it easily.

Aside from experimenting with some of our new product ideas, Kraemer really enjoys our existing arts and crafts materials. He loves to paint and create! He is a “natural” when it comes to painting. On a recent visit, we took all the BioColor® Paint. and spread them out on the floor. Then we got out a selection of Super Super-Safer Droppers.
Kraemer loved the droppers. I believe this was because he was able to manipulate them easily and was new to him. He loved to be able to just suck up the paint with the dropper and then let it blob out slowly or quickly onto the paper. After placing lots of paper on the floor, it was just a matter of minutes before we were painting his first masterpiece and having the time of our lives!!