The Toy Book caught up with Kat Druback, senior buyer at Camp, about the retailer’s innovative approach to experiential retail and how it keeps the experience fresh and exciting for consumers all year long.

How is Camp different from a typical specialty toy store?
Where to start? Camp is a family experience store. All of our stores are designed to be explored and actually played in. Camp locations are permanent, but we change themes every few months. This means families might be dancing in a disco cabin during “Basecamp” and jumping on a trampoline that looks like a grain silo at “Cooking Camp” a few weeks later. When a theme moves out of one Camp location, it moves to another store to be enjoyed by families in another city. Since our experiences are created for families, we carry apparel and gifts for adults, too! We also have a ton of daily activities that include sing-along performances and slime-making classes. I would encourage anyone who hasn’t visited Camp to pop in and experience the magic in person!

What does the future hold for experiential retail?
People will always leave their homes and seek out things to do with their families. The future of retail will be about creating authentic experiences that bring people together, create memories, and enable guests to discover unique products. We design all of our themes with this in mind, blending play and product throughout our stores. I love walking into Camp and seeing families actually playing and having fun together!

How do you choose what product assortment to carry?
At Camp, we are all about discovery and delight — presenting our families with unique products for the first time. We are always looking for new trends, working with vendors to make sure we are on top of their latest launches, and constantly seeking out new vendors and products to introduce to our guests. We also bring in products that help us tell stories within our themes. For example, during “Cooking Camp,” we brought in fruit plushies and kids’ shopping carts as part of the assortment we carried in the “grocery store” section of the experience.

This State of the Industry Q&A response originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of the Toy Book. Click here to read more!