Hey Teach turns 4

Hey Teach started out as a way to blend two of my former careers – teaching and retail. I loved shopping for things to make my classroom perfect and thought selling them wouldn’t be too much of a stretch. Having spent summers working in a retail store (cause what single teacher can afford not to work during the summer), I had an idea of how to start the business. My sister Helen and I got together, filled out the paperwork, spent a morning in Trenton getting our retail license, and we were off. We started in a little flea market in Manahawkin, NJ and our first vendor was Carson Dellosa because they carried the stuff I used most in my classroom. After a year, we realized that teachers just weren’t coming to see us and the people who did come were looking for bargains (it was a flea market, after all). So we packed up, moved to Monmouth County, and decided to try to sell the remaining inventory on ebay, with the thought that if we got our money back, we’d be happy. We started with our posters from children’s literature – we put them on at 1/2 price and couldn’t believe it when we sold 3 of them overnight. We realized that we could continue doing what we loved, and sell world-wide. We moved the prices back to where they should be and from there, the techno-savvy Hey Teach was born. A year ago in June, we started an online store outside of ebay, http://www.heyteach.biz/, which has done amazingly well for us.

We do most of our buying from the International Gift Shows at the Javits Center in New York and have started going to the Toy Fair there also. Two years ago we joined the National School Supply and Equipment Association (NSSEA) and went to their show in Florida. This was doubly nice for us (two baseball geeks) – getting out of cold NJ in March to find cool new stuff, and getting in some Spring Training games. While there, we found this great company that carries Dr. Seuss and Suzy Zoo items for the classroom. How cool is it to have your entire classroom decorated in The Cat in the Hat???? Anyway, this past February, we found out how much The Cat gets used for Read Across America. We had people calling us from CA telling us how they were visiting children’s hospitals and our Seuss pencils and erasers were perfect for them to bring as treats to leave with the kids. We also had people from all over who were setting up special dates in libraries who loved our 5′ Cat as decorations – easy to put up and take down when they were finished. And I’m glad to say that Seuss is still doing well for the beginning of the year.

As we have grown, we have added things outside the specific “teaching” arena. We now carry lots of things for young children – educational games, plush, decorations for their rooms, to name a few, mostly revolving around illustrations from children’s lit (i.e. Wild Things, Curious George, and of course Olivia). A few weeks after our visits to the gift shows, our living room becomes maze central as the boxes start coming in. We unpack and get things put away as soon as possible but there are some days where you can’t see from one side to the other. Last night our Jellycat plush order arrived. 12 huge boxes full of plush (something very near and dear to our hearts). Hopefully, if this Christmas season is anything like last year, we’re going to need it all before December is done. Speaking of Christmas, we just got in our order of Christmas cards. I never thought of this in August before, but people buy them early so they know they have them on hand when the time comes.

If any of this sound interesting, please check us out at http://www.heyteach.biz/.

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