Winter in Maine - Bella Luna Toys
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A New Year at Bella Luna Toys

HAPPY 2012!

When I became the new owner of Bella Luna Toys in 2009, my vision was not just to operate a retail website, but also to share my experience and expertise as a teacher, mother, and author on topics such as child development, play, and parenting.

To that end, I created Moon Child in order to communicate with our customers, and to connect with parents of young children seeking a different, more natural way of raising their children.

I envisioned the toy store as a small home-based business, and a way to bring in some income to help support the work I am passionate about – writing and sharing my love of Waldorf education.

Everything was going nicely, all according to plan. For about a year.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Thanks to the support of so many of you, Bella Luna Toys grew. And Grew. And GREW!

By early 2011, it was clear that we had outgrown the confines of the small barn next to my home here in Maine from which I was operating, and, even with my family’s help, I found myself trying to do at least three full-time jobs.

It was exciting seeing the business grow, but writing began to take a backseat to the day-to-day operation of Bella Luna Toys. By the spring I knew that it was time to make some big decisions.

Last April, Bella Luna Toys moved out of our cozy little barn at home and into a real warehouse in the nearby coastal town of Rockland, Maine (recently voted one of America’s coolest small towns), where we can walk to Main St. for lunch, and feel the ocean breeze.

Here, we have a spacious shipping area, I have my own office, and we and lots of room to grow. My husband Max, a writer, is very happy to have his home office back to himself where he can again compose his thoughts in peace, and not find himself covered with packing peanuts at the end of the day!

I also realized I needed more help. During the course of the past year, I hired my three “Shipping Fairies” – Liz, Jessie, and Sarah – all of whom did an AMAZING job keeping up with an extraordinary number of Christmas orders last month.

Now Sarah Reilly has become my full-time, Right-Hand Angel (some might call her a “manager”), in order to free up my time to the things that I love most: writing for the blog, discovering unique new natural toys for children, promoting the importance of play, and sharing my love of Waldorf education. (We hope that two Sarah’s won’t be too confusing for our customers.)

So my resolution for the New Year is to post more frequently, and to engage more fully with all of you.

In addition, we have some pretty big plans for Bella Luna Toys in 2012, which marks the 10th birthday of the company! We will have more giveaways, and some very special announcements during our 10th anniversary year. If you’re not subscribed already, be sure sign up for our newsletter so that you’re among the first to hear!

Thanks to those of you who have been a part of Bella Luna Toys’ growth this past year. We are filled with gratitude for your support and many kind words. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Wishing you and your families many blessings in 2012!

Warmly,

 

What changes did 2011 bring you and your families? What are your hopes and dreams for the coming year?

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15 Comments

  • Reply Deborah January 23, 2012 at 9:37 am

    It’s so great to hear this news, Sarah! Thanks for every update!

  • Reply Amy January 23, 2012 at 10:25 am

    not sure where to comment on your blog for the giveaway! :)

    • Reply Sarah Baldwin January 23, 2012 at 7:07 pm

      Sorry for the confusion, Amy. The Giveaway was on Bella Luna Toys’ Facebook page, and required leaving a comment there. But we have a very special giveaway coming up here on the blog shortly, so stay tuned!

  • Reply Monika January 23, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Wow Sarah!
    I can’t even begin to imagine moving all of the inventory during a Maine winter. Must have been something. I so appreciate all that you do for parents and Waldorf education. As a Waldorf teacher I teach parent-child classes, and use your resources frequently. Thank you so much for all that you do – seen and unseen.
    Warmly,
    Monika (in Kansas)

    • Reply Sarah Baldwin January 23, 2012 at 7:11 pm

      Aww, thank you so much for your kind comment, Monika! I’ve been an admirer of all your contributions to the Waldorf Early Childhood Teachers list over the years.

      Actually, we made the move to the new warehouse last spring (during mud season, which is only a small improvement over winter!). I just used the snowy photo of my home (from which moved) as my “happy new year” photo.

  • Reply Cindie January 24, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Sarah,

    Thank you so much for all you have done for me and my girls. We still use the story of “Tippy” the brush for painting. I am really looking forward to all of your future blog posts!!

    Warmly,
    Cindie

    • Reply Sarah Baldwin January 24, 2012 at 10:53 am

      Warms me to hear that, Cindie. Would love to see photos of your girls’ paintings!

  • Reply Mariza January 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Congratulations! I enjoy reading your blog and I love all things Waldorf.

  • Reply lynn January 24, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    2011 saw few dramatic changes for my family. The biggest was our oldesst son beginning first grade. The simple changes include a stronger focus on our nature table as it follows the change of seasons and continues to hold things the boys like to play with (rocks, acorns, pine cones, etc.) as well as longer hikes in the woods to gather items from nature to add to our table and to, as my boys put it, “make cool stuff.”

    For 2012, I want to continue to encourage my sons to love nature and learn reverance and stewardship for natural resources. Personally, I aim to embrace my life for what it is and what it isn’t. Right at this moment, I am embracing 2 little boys who are pretending to be on a quest to drive away giant pretend snakes with their beloved wooden swords. Never fear neighbors, two knights in shining armor will protect us all 😉

    Thank you for continuing to provide wonderful products and inspiration for us all. I look forward to your upcoming blog posts.

    • Reply Sarah Baldwin January 27, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Thanks for sharing your changes and dreams for the year, Lynn! Your comments make me miss those early years with my two boys — taking walks through the Maine woods, gathering treasures from nature, becoming dueling knights with their wooden swords.

      I know it sounds like a cliche, but it really does feel like yesterday when my eldest son started first grade. Now he’s a sophomore in college! And I know that some mothers of young children hate to hear it, but I can’t hep but urge you to take time to relish the magic of these days.

  • Reply Heather January 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    As an adoptive, first-time mom who will be bringing our son home in the next six months, I’m so happy to have your website at our disposal. Helping him catch up with his motor skills, cognitive development, and ability to ‘play’ will be a huge priority and these are exactly the types of products to assist with that. The eco-friendly nature of them is a bonus, as he is asthmatic and we need to be mindful of harmful off-gassing.

    Congrats on your growth over the past year. Though we’re based in NY, we summer near Rockland and dream of ending up in Maine someday!

    Best,
    Heather M., NYC

  • Reply Sarah Baldwin January 27, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    What an exciting time for you, Heather! Where will you be bring your son home from?

    Hope you’ll come visit us when you’re in Maine!

  • Reply Kristin February 4, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    I just found your website today through facebook and I had to post a comment telling you how amazing everything looks! It seriously brought tears to my eyes to see all of the wonderful toys you have available. They remind me of my childhood toys that were handed down to me from my parents and grandparents. I don’t have any children yet, but my fiance & I are hoping to start a family after we’re married, and I will definitely be buying my children’s toys from you! Thank you for making my day! :)

    • Reply Sarah Baldwin February 5, 2012 at 9:58 pm

      Thank you, Kristin, for your sweet comments. So glad you found your way here! Best of luck to you and your fiance. Sending warm wishes to you and your future family! ~ Sarah

  • Reply Karla February 15, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    2011 brought me to Waldorf, so it has been a very productive year for this homeschooling mom of a kindergartner. We are still “crawling” but we are growing so much and you are such an inspiration…

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