The Story of the "Don't Play With That!" Community
In The Beginning
At the start of running our little shop, we were pleasantly surprised that people would submit footage of their own babies playing with everything but their toys. Occasionally, these images and videos planted the seeds of a new product in our mind, but mainly, the submissions made us laugh to no end.
We began receiving so many submissions, that pretty soon, we opened an Instagram page to share them. This account outgrew our more buttoned-up company account and quickly became our main (read: only) page. With that a vibrant community, of parents and people that love babies, has developed, where we laugh together at the adventurousness of children. Since then we've expanded to TikTok, where we found thousands more folks that enjoy a good belly-laugh.
Our content has spread in all directions that are related to our store. We still mainly share clips of children experimenting with things they shouldn't be playing with, but we'll share baby memes that dawned on us or were created by other community members, behind the scenes looks at interesting or entertaining elements of running a store, and, of course, the occasional product promotion (you gots to).
This family-like setup, even though it's quite uncommon for a business, actually has terrific business value. The reason is, of course, how keen a family is to see a shop succeed. This is translated into making purchases in the shop, but maybe even more important is the steady flow of encouragement, brilliant ideas and general word-of-mouth promotion.
For example, just yesterday, a TikTok video went viral starring a toddler cuddling in his sleep with... a whisk. Ya, the one from the kitchen. Our group is so tight-knit that 7 different friends messaged us or tagged us in the comments. We will definitely stitch an on-brand video with it, but to us the concept that 7 people, and counting, shared it with us is even more meaningful.
As we continue to grow, it's our sincere hope that we maintain our intimate relationships with each other. This has a lot to do with not becoming another dull, company social media conglomerate, where we have an advisory board suggest to post only certain, dry posts. We'd even prefer for a post of ours to fail dismally (in the likes department) than to become an overtly scripted enterprise.
We're a famously non-judgy group. So, if you're the type of parent that's uncomfortable with your little one making themselves at home with adult items, that's completely understandable. And if, on the opposite side of the spectrum, you're the parent that green-lights their baby to turn every meal into play-do, more power to you! Even if you're the parent that forgot how mischievous their kid is and didn't prevent them from sneaking somewhere they shouldn't to create a makeshift construction site mess, you're welcome as well! (The latter makes for the funniest material...)
We went into this venture with the hope of creating a small side-hustle with zero expectation to witness beautiful humanity. But we have. We've met some kind and cool individuals all over the world, whose friendship we value highly. The generosity of spirit found within people never ceases to amaze.