Wonder Works – A Toy Story
If you live in Charleston with kids and you’ve never heard of Wonder Works Toys, then your living under a rock. One of the nation’s most successful, independent, locally owned toy stores is right here in Charleston, and Christine Osborne is the mastermind behind it all. With the first store opening up 27 years ago, it has now expanded to locations in Kiawah, Mt. Pleasant, West Ashley, downtown, as well as a thriving online business. Christine is a very passionate advocate for supporting local businesses and is always generous with her time to talk to aspiring entrepreneurs including toy makers. Her stores are an incubator for local authors, inventors, and manufacturers of toys. It’s like Disney World for my boys and they beg me to go to Wonder Works whenever we’re in the area of one of the stores. My oldest Mateo realizes the importance of shopping local because he appreciates the knowledgeable and helpful staff, and has met Christine on numerous occasions. Making the connection with the owner of a business makes more of an impact and you want to support them to help the community grow.
Mateo and Sebastian had a blast testing out all of the hot new toys at Wonder Works. What I loved the most is that it got them outside and off of their devices. Their favorite was the LASER X DOUBLE BLASTER PACK ($49.99) . Now you can play laser tag in your own backyard day or night. My boys could play this for hours!
Wonder Works also has gifts adults can appreciate as well. This blanket made by local company Charleston Green is the softest thing you’ll ever touch and it’s made out of recycled bottles. Do your part by helping to save the environment while you snuggle up. I also love that it’s reversible.
The PICTAR ONE PLUS ($65.99) attaches to your iphone so you can shoot it like a camera. The easy app gives you options to shoot like a DLSR camera does and the video quality is pretty amazing. Mateo got the swing of it quicker than I did of course.
My boys loved playing the SLIMEBALL DODGETAG and I loved it because it was only $24.99!
The PARTY 2 GO GOLD MICROPHONE SET ($49.99) is tons of fun for the whole family. The microphone hooks up by bluetooth and plays anything from your phone with the built in speaker. It also comes with a battery operated disco ball. Who needs a karaoke bar when you have this set up at home?
THE AMAZING STAR CUBE PUZZLE ($15.99) is a toy that I found myself playing with too because it’s the new version of the Rubik’s Cube. It’s a 3D puzzle that’s perfect for the kids who love fidget spinners and makes a great stocking stuffer.
View more to see what’s on our wish list from Wonder Works Toys and a Q & A with Christine Osborne.
Photography by Libby Williams
The GEOMATRIX 15 PIECE SET ($29.99) is great if your kids like Legos and those fidget toys. The magnetic pieces gives you endless options to build on your imagination.
The ZIPES SPEED PIPES PERFORMANCE PACK ($59.99) is a remote control car that whizzes through tubes. You can create your own pipe structures and it glows in the dark.
If your kids like toys that transform and of course Transformers then they’ll love the AUTO MOTO TRANSFORMING ROBOT CAR ($49.99). You can use the remote control or voice activation to make the car turn into a robot and it spins all around.
Another great stocking stuffer is the PLUS-PLUS MINI MAKER TUBE ($7.99). If your kid likes Legos then they might like this even more because each piece is the same size so you have endless options on what you can create.
I know owner Christine Osborne has stories for days on her experience of being a veteran in the toy industry but here’s a few questions I had to ask –
What do you love about being a business owner? Having a store that brings out the inner child in all of us. Customers have an opportunity to experience play , which brings about joy, laughter, and literally makes the world a happier place. Also helping toy entrepreneurs from a young age to major toy manufacturers bring new products to the marketplace,make a difference ,and sustain the industry.
What do you love the most about the holidays? The ENERGY, JOY, and MAGIC…it really is there..just look for it…everywhere!
How many employees do you have? We employ close to 45/ 50 full and part-time Magic Makers during the holidays.
What’s trending in toys? Tactile items that you can fidget with, such as fidget spinners, sequin items that change images, and slo-rise squishy toys. Also, The Reveal collectibles , which are less about the actual toy and all about how you reveal what’s inside. It’s the unboxing trend taken home.
What charities do you work closely with? Many of the children’s charities started by children that help children’s causes. Hugs for Harper, Keys for Hope, and Abby’s Friends kicked it off for us over 10 years ago. I find all the children philanthropists to be so inspiring for individuals of all ages. One Child Does Make a Difference!