A few weeks ago we said goodbye to Ben Sung, the former manager of Wellesley, but never fear: he’s left the store in exceptionally good hands. When Ben stepped down, Nicole, who was Assistant Manager, stepped up – if you shopped at our Wellesley store, then you’ve probably received some superb product advice and customer service from Nicole already. This Q&A will let you get to know her a little bit better!
Q: Tell me a bit about what you do at Magic Beans.
I do a little bit of everything! I help customers shop for stellar toys and baby gear, merchandise to keep the store in shape, and a ton of behind the scenes work to keep everything in order on our sales floor.
Q: Tell me a bit about how you got started at Magic Beans, and your trajectory up through the company.
I was hired as a sales associate about two years ago at the Brookline location. I worked there for only a few months before transferring to the Prudential location and took on the role as merchandiser and operations assistant. Within a few months I was promoted to the Assistant Manager of the Prudential. Due to a change in living arrangements I was given the opportunity to transfer to the Wellesley location as the Assistant Manager and Merchandiser, where I have been working for the last year or so.
Q: Describe a bit about your training process. What was your favorite part of learning about baby gear and toys?
Training never stops at Magic Beans, there is always something new to learn. I had quite a few years of toy specialty store experience but I didn’t have much knowledge about babies when I first started, so I was a clean slate! Learning about baby gear in general was awesome for me. When I first started I was most intimidated about baby carriers, but now they are one of my favorite products to demonstrate.
Q: What do you think makes your Magic Beans store extra-special?
The passion the staff has for the products we offer, and the dedication we have for our customers. We build long-term customer relationships because we love to make our customers happy. Anyone on staff at any one of our locations will easily spend three hours helping first time parents or even fourth time parents find the perfect product to suit their day to day lifestyle needs.
Q: Let’s get a bit into some autobiographical details: where did you grow up? Are you from Boston? If not, how did you wind up living out here? What do you love about our town?
I grew up in Walpole, Mass. Still my favorite town in the world, but who doesn’t have a soft spot for their childhood town? I love the city of Boston and Massachusetts in general, it’s so beautiful and rich with history.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of work?
I really enjoy archery. I have been practicing with the goal of entering competitions. I also love video games. I have fun searching vintage toy shops for old Nintendo games in my spare time. I hope to collect all the games I had when I was a child.
Q: What’s your favorite TV show of all time?
I don’t really find myself watching TV very much. I would have to say my favorite TV shows would be either Friends or 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Q: Do you have any special babies or kids among your family or friends who inspire you at your work?
My niece and nephew have always played a large role in my life. They are almost adults now, but they still get excited about toys even at 17 and 18. I can always bring a new board game home and play with them to have a better understanding of it.
Q: Let’s talk about your favorite products: what’s your favorite stroller at Magic Beans?
That’s a tough question! I am torn between the Bugaboo Bee and the Bugaboo Donkey. The suspension and maneuverability of any Bugaboo stroller is amazing. Not to mention all the cool unique functions they have. I also love that I can essentially customize the colors to match my personality. If you’ve never been behind a Bugaboo stroller, you should totally come test drive one!
Q: What other baby gear do you always recommend to new and expectant parents?
A Zen swaddle – who doesn’t want the opportunity to get more sleep! The Nuna Leaf and toy bar are great for soothing and feedings. And the 4moms Breeze travel crib is fantastic. I love the high bassinet position and the super easy fold.
Q: What are your go-to toys to recommend for customers shopping for birthday presents?
Loopdedoo or Spirograph for girls, super fun and easy to use. A magic set or Scientific Explorer set for a boy. Squigz or Tegu blocks for boys AND girls!
Q: What toy at our stores would you have been begging for as a little kid?
I loved science when I was little. I grew up on a lake so I always wanted to try and find creatures and specimens to look at with my microscope. So I would have totally flipped out over the Aquascope by Educational Insights!
Q: What’s your favorite thing about working for Magic Beans?
There are a lot of things I love about working for Magic Beans. The encouragement and involvement from the owners of the company really sets this business apart from the rest. I’m excited to go to work every day, help our customers, and make new connections.
And helping people get exactly what they need is so fantastic. Seeing the looks of relief on the faces of new expectant parents once you’ve helped them pick out a stroller and a car seat is so rewarding. And digging through a bin of plush just to find that one little animal a child has been wishing for and making their day is what working for Magic Beans is all about!