Here it is folks, another Valhalla Toys blog!! Today’s topic hits home with me and I am sure it will be all too familiar to many of you.
I have been an in-box toy collector for about a decade, long before we started Valhalla Toys. Over the years I have spent over $100,000 putting together a collection that would be allocated in two ways. The first is my personal collection which consists of hard to find items from all the major lines and items that serve a nostalgic purpose. The second, and more important, the stock I was building served as the foundation for Valhalla Toys. I contributed about 80% of the items that I had been collecting so we wouldn’t have to solely survive on buying new inventory.
Through all the years and all the money, I’ve been on the receiving end of damaged items that were thrown into boxes with no packing material, put in boxes far too small for the item which crushed corners and bent cards and the crow pleasing, just ship it in the factory box so the items have no protection. At Valhalla Toys, we place such a great emphasis on packaging items properly. We bubble wrap the item, use packing materials, and use appropriately sized boxes so that there is distance between the box wall and the item without the item sliding around. I like to tell people that it will essentially take someone stomping on the box for the item inside to be damaged. While I say that in jest, it is largely true. In the world of toy collecting, there are few things more disheartening than spending your hard earned money on an item, only to open it and see that the company didn’t respect you enough to package it with care.
You may be asking where this blog/rant is coming from, here’s your answer. I purchased a $300 Sideshow 12in Boba Fett with vintage coloring. This was my first purchase from Sideshow directly, so I was unfamiliar with their packaging methods but given their size, I gave them the benefit of the doubt. They simply shipped Boba Fett it in the factory box which left no margin for error in the shipping process. To my disappointment, when I opened the box, I found multiple points of damage. The type of damages that would probably have been prevented/mitigated had they simply placed Boba Fett in a larger box with some bubble-wrap, air bags, or even packing-paper.
For some people, these damages may not seem too terrible but for me, it fails to meet my personal standards, which happen to be the same standards I set for the company. We have a strict standard regarding what is sold through valhallatoyshop.com. Read the “Our Promise” section of our website if you are not familiar with our standards. Our goal is for the customer to receive the item in the same condition as when we packaged it. That is why we place such high importance on using packing materials and appropriately sized boxes. That is why we store our items with care and we treat our inventory in the same manner in which I cared for my personal collection over the years. Consumers shouldn’t have to worry whether or not the company they buy from is going to take care of the item and package it with care, it should be a given.
It seems to me that many of the big-box stores and many Ebay sellers are willing to just send damaged and/or poorly packaged items to their customers and don’t care about their company’s reputations or the fact that their customers are spending hard-earned money in the hopes that the item they ordered comes in unharmed. It is not only poor business practice to send poorly packaged items to folks, but I believe it is disrespectful to the customer. Essentially these companies don’t care on a personal level.
Valhalla Toys does not take that approach. Yes, we are a new company but myself and the other managing partner have been collectors for years so we know how important it is to have a great reputation in the toy community, to be trusted, and most importantly, deliver items to our customers that meet the standards of in-box collectors.
In five days, Valhalla Toys will have been in business for one year, and in that year, we have not had a single return due to items being damaged or not meeting the in-box collector standard. That is an accomplishment that we are extremely proud of and we hope to continue that run into our second year. We will not always be perfect and there may come a day where we accidentally overlook a flaw, but the difference is, we accept responsibility for our mistakes. We will always package each item with care. It does not matter if your order is $5 or $500, we are going to package each item with the same level of care because as our customers, we respect you too much to take short cuts.
We deeply appreciate each and every one of you that has helped to make this company successful in our first year and we look forward to many more years of serving the toy community!