Source: Camp/the Toy Book

Kat Druback Director of Merchandising of Camp talks the future in the Toy Book’s annual State of the Industry Q&A

The Toy Book: How did Camp cope during temporary store closures? What new initiatives did you implement in order to ensure a safe shopping environment for consumers when stores reopened?
Kat Durback: While it was a difficult moment across the industry, it forced us to think differently about how and where to meet our customers. Ultimately, we went through a shift from a family experience store to a family experience company that existed beyond the four walls of our brick-and-mortar stores.

Just days after we closed our stores, we began offering free virtual birthday parties to our Camp families, an offering we would have hosted in our stores. From birthdays, we quickly expanded to all kinds of virtual experiences for families, from end of the year school celebrations to summertime tie-dye parties. Meeting our customers online through virtual events allowed us to expand our customer base way beyond the communities surrounding our physical stores. From that moment on, the entire Camp team company was focused on how to help families answer the question: What should we do today? And, throughout the past year, we have been delivering on that in several new ways — both online and in-store.

During our store closures, we partnered with Walmart to create Camp by Walmart, which included more than 100 episodes of interactive content; CAMP launched and celebrated 20,000 virtual birthdays; we created digital activity books that were downloaded 500,000 times; created socially distanced mobile airstream experiences filled with toys, food, and activities; created DIY tie-dye kits; launched an exclusive private label Father’s Day collection, and held virtual scavenger hunts.

Since reopening, we’ve taken a lot of measures to ensure our customers feel comfortable in our stores. For example, we designed a new themed experience with COVID-19 safety in mind. In September, when stores started to reopen, we launched “Art Camp,” an immersive exploration of the arts. In this experience, we encourage play and creativity at socially distanced activity stations, and all of our crafts kits can be used in-store or at home. We then launched crafts to-go at all of our locations — families can either create something in-store at socially distanced tables or take them home. In October, we hosted a Trick or Treat Off The Street at Hudson Yards Mall. At this contactless Halloween scavenger hunt, thousands of families searched the CAMP store and the mall to find tricks and treats in a fun and safe way.

In addition to constantly adapting our store experiences, all of our stores have strict safety procedures in place. For example, we require employees and customers to wear masks, provide sanitizer stations, limit the number of guests in our experiences at any given time, and enforce social distancing.

This State of the Industry Q&A response was originally published in the February 2021 edition of the Toy Book. Click here to read the full issue!