Today we feature Maziply Toys & Collectibles in Kingston, Massachusetts and asked owner Scott Mazerall a few questions about how he got started.
How did you get into the toy industry?
My wife, Kerri, and I were both bankers. While we enjoyed it, we wanted something that would fulfill all of our passions, while giving us the freedom to be in control of our own future. We started selling toys online, with the agreement that if we did a certain amount in sales per month, my wife could quit her job at the bank and work full time from home.
After five months, we hit that goal and made that agreement a reality. Shortly after leaving her job, our business exploded in growth. However, there were two problems. 1) Our home was being taken over by inventory. 2) Kerri terribly missed working with customers (she’s amazing with customers). We solved both of those problems by opening a retail store at the Kingston Collection, which was about 10 minutes from our home. Now, we had our own store, a place to truly call home to our still new toy business. Since then, I gave up my job as a VP for the largest mutual bank in the US, so I could join Kerri at our store each day. Ever since I was 15, I always wanted to own my own store… and now I do, thanks to the support and hard work of my wife, Kerri. We first learned about ASTRA when our vendor partners kept asking us if we were ASTRA members. It wasn’t very long after that before we realized the amazing values that ASTRA offers.
We became an ASTRA member because of the values that are provided. To be honest, we first joined because it gave us discounts with so many brands that we worked with. But the true value was discovered when we joined and started to discover the network of people, information, insights, classes, and so much more. Any toy store that is not an ASTRA member is missing out… big time!
What do you enjoy about being in the toy business?
It gives me the ability to truly enjoy my inner child (which I always have, but now I have an excuse). We also have the most amazing and loyal customers that any company could ask for.
What has been your proudest moment as a member of the specialty toy industry?
We have had many proud moments. It’s hard to pick one. There was the time my wife was able to leave her job to focus on our business. There was the time that I was able to transition from full time banker to full time “Fun Specialist.” Most recently, we were honored by Boston Parents’ Paper’s Family Favorite Toy Store Award (blew me away that we won that, being a small toy store an hour from Boston and up against some amazing toy store such Learning Express, Magic Beans, and many others that we really look up to in the industry). But my proudest moment is when I look back at the day that Kerri and I made the decision to start a toy business. Many people dream about it, but I’m so incredibly proud that we took that step forward and took action.
What has been your biggest challenge in this business?
Our biggest challenge is that neither of us worked in a retail store before. Every day is a learning experience for us. What we discovered is that it’s just like anything else. Know your product and build relationships and friendships with your customers and community.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
I’m pretty transparent, so there’s not too much that people don’t know about me. However, one thing that tends to shock people is that I can be somewhat nervous about being in large groups of people. People find this surprising because I speak at events, address large groups and am highly involved in the community that we live and work in. If you’re looking for something a little more fun that that, my wife and I were both performers. I performed in musicals while my wife was a professional dancer.