I opened Rock Paper Scissors in 2011 when my two boys were 6 and 7 years old. I have to be honest, there was a lot going on in my life at the time. Many thought I was crazy to do this. I had no retail experience and hadn't worked in a store since my college days. I had been running a successful marketing and PR firm for over 15 years that brought in a decent salary. Why was I leaving this to start a pretty risky venture at a time when retail was declining and on-line sales were increasing?
The year before I opened my store, my two boys became ill. We had been seeing specialists throughout New England to try and figure out what was going on. No one could figure out why they kept getting worse. Over the course of a year we had seen so many specialists I lost count. And the appointments I had to coordinate was almost a second job.
We finally got a diagnosis that fit, PANDAS. (To learn more about PANDAS you can visit http://www.nepans.org/ ) It took us on a pretty tough journey with tons of ups and downs. Some of the terms thrown out at us were overwhelming - Sensory integration, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, anxiety disorder, language delay, non-verbal learning disorder, developmental delay. But we are lucky, our boys are doing amazing and are healthy today thanks to our tenacity and finding the right diagnosis.
So why tell you all this? What we went through as a family was life changing. I had appointments with therapists to work on these issues once a week for an hour. But what about the rest of the time. It was up to me to help my boys. And when I went to toy stores near me and asked for help they really couldn't help me. I would want to know what toys could help my boys with social emotional issues. Were there any toys that promoted reading skills? How about toys that helped with anxiety? Anything that could help with fine motor skill development or motor planning?
With a lot of hard work and research, I learned about toys that could help my boys. Then I knew I wanted to open a store where I could help others. And I wanted a place where parents could come and feel free to ask me for advice with no judgement. When my boys became ill and I entered a world where I truly felt alone, I knew I wanted to open a store where I could help others.
I am not a teacher, I am not a therapist, I am not a doctor. I am a mom that has lived though a challenging journey and learned a lot along the way. My advice and recommendations on this website are based on my own experiences as a mom and from running my store. I hope you find my ideas and suggestions helpful and I appreciate your support of a small, local business.