For more than 60 years, Toys“R”Us has been helping kids be kids and grown-ups to revisit their childhoods by providing one of the largest selections of top-brand toys, electronics, games and everyday baby essentials. Founder, Charles Lazarus, revolutionized the toy business by modeling his stores after supermarkets, providing a variety of options to suit varying ages and interests and offering customers to help themselves and have fun in the process. Today, that sense of playfulness is evident at nearly 600 stores in the United States alone, including a flagship location in Times Square where kids are greeted by a 60-foot Ferris wheel, a 5-ton animatronic T-Rex, and a life-sized, 4,000-square-foot Barbie house.
Beyond everybody's favorite bikes, trains and video games, each Toys“R”Us store keeps its shelves stocked with the season’s must-have toys as well as nostalgic standbys that never go out of style. Time-tested brands such as LEGO, Radio Flyer, NERF and Fisher-Price share the shelves with an expansive selection of electronics for older kids, including Wii U and tablets. And though the company has inspired generations of boys and girls to try their hardest not to grow up, it also strives to ensure budding brains develop right on track by devoting a significant portion of its stores to “smart-play” with a wide selection of electronic learning toys and software.
Toys“R”Us—whose extended family of brands includes Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz—has earned a number of awards and recognitions through the years, including a spot on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies in 2012. The company has also drawn considerable recognition for its expansive charitable efforts, which include partnerships with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Save the Children. This year also marks the tenth consecutive year that the company has partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to collect new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations in its stores to benefit the organization.
Iso Beauty ships tools of the hairstyling trade to heads across the continental U.S., providing everyone access to the innovative products by brands such as Ionix and Prolix that have lined celebrity gift bags at red-carpet events. Proliss straighteners arrive to doorsteps with vibrant animal prints and ceramic-plate technology to reduce hair's exposure to heat, and Twisters harness infrared technology to shine and curl locks without cooking the cuticle. In-depth video tutorials grant users a step-by-step glimpse into the inner workings of the products and provide fashionable styling tips so that customers don't go out onto the town confidently sporting last season's 'do or attempt to use freshly cooked turkey legs to curl their hair.
La La Land Indoor Playground enchants future adults with an open floor filled with slides, tunnels, and toys and surrounded by a panoramic mural depicting a magical forest. During open-play hours, particularly feisty tots can get their wiggles out in the Excitement Zone, a netted enclosure where scampering legs can bounce on a small, cushy trampoline, and the space beneath a rainbow-patterned slide provides a concealed venue for under-the-table popsicle exchanges. Tiny conveyances and wobbling hobbyhorses pepper the playroom in the form of dogs, dinosaurs, and tricycles, as their Lilliputian riders emulate stoic cowboys or swashbuckling knights on their way to La La Land's medieval castle façade.
With ample seating, an open space with few blind spots, and WiFi spiraling throughout the room, La La Land offers supervising adults a chance at relaxation better than making the babysitter read Zen poetry aloud. The Indoor Playground also hosts kid-tailored classes and throws raucous birthday parties.
The key to Zazzle.com’s success isn’t a 3,000-strong stock of T-shirts, phone cases, and accessories—it’s the fact that customers can express themselves on products before they're printed and shipped, generally within 24 hours. The website’s user-friendly design interface allows customers to affix their favorite pictures to messenger bags, scrawl personalized messages on coffee mugs, or insert their favorite movie character into family portraits. Zazzle.com also showcases designs from creative customers around the globe and big names such as Disney, Marvel, and The Who. Each product is made to order and bears a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
The founder of online baby boutique California Cozy is a mother of two herself, so she carries products she's personally tested and adored. Perhaps not surprisingly, that's left her store stocked with items from award-winning brands such as Aden + Anais, Barefoot Dreams, and Melissa & Doug. Her celeb-approved collection has been featured in People and Us Weekly, particularly perennial favorites such as Little Giraffe's chenille baby blankets—which snagged Most Ridiculously Soft Baby Blanket in the 2012 Cribsie Awards. The diverse selection also includes mealtime essentials, furniture, and toys, which no doubt led to California Cozy's selection as a finalist for Red Tricycle's Most Awesome Baby & Maternity Shop award in 2012.