'Wide-eyed wonder!' - a chat with the duo behind Bargain Boutique

This week we sat down with the fabulous duo behind Bargain Boutique. This sensory toy business was created by Tobias, aged 9, with the assistance of his mum, Laura.

They are hoping to raise enough money to open a penguin sanctuary in the future. But for now, they are working their hardest to keep going and expanding.

They are also offering 10% off your first order (not including shipping) when you mention The Butterfly Patch when ordering.

Details of how to order and get in touch are below. But first, let’s find out a little more about the business!

1. Tell me a bit about yourselves and your business

Laura: I’m Tobias’ mummy, and I help him in the business. He does all the shopping, and we do stalls in the garden. So, Tobias is the sales manager.

But on a day-to-day basis, Tobias does all of the shopping, I do all of the social media side of it, because he’s only 9 so I don’t really want him to be stuck to a phone.

The background behind it – I’ll let Tobias tell you…

Tobias: In lockdown, I used my pocket money to buy some fidget poppers and in 2 weeks I sold 300. So, mummy said here’s your pocket money and I said no no, I want to continue doing this.

All the money goes towards building a penguin sanctuary.

2. So, are penguins your favourite animal?

T: They’re my favourite animal! Some species are endangered and there are lots of different species. Some actually live in Africa and warmer countries.

Some live in colder countries but there are lots of threats to them.

And there are already penguin sanctuaries and like charity shops for penguins, but I don’t want to just donate to that, I want to make sure the job gets done.

3. How has setting up the business gone?

L: It’s literally gone from these fidget poppers which we sold on Facebook and then Tobias turned around and said that he wanted to continue, we were like ‘right okay, let’s set up the page’!

And it’s literally gone from 0 to nearly 2k followers now, it’s unreal!

He’s got probably about 15-20 orders a day. We’re providing a lot of schools and a lot of special needs schools as well. We just have to keep on top of it.

My background is a PA (personal assistant), so I’m quite organised, lu

T: Our biggest order was shipping to America!

L: Yes, and Ireland and Wales!

4. How do you pick the toys you sell?

T: We get them from all over, we look for loads of new things coming out every week, so we try and get new stuff.

But some people are still new to this, they like the fidget poppers - so we still have to get the old stuff.

L: We’ve also joined wholesale toys companies, so I’ll get it up on my page and I’ll be like ‘right you just choose what you think’.

And so far there hasn’t been one thing that he’s chosen that hasn’t been a big hit!

But as Tobias said, some people are still new to this we sometimes hear ‘oh what’s a fidget popper?’.

You really do have to cater for everyone and one of the biggest people we cater for is for autistic children.

We’re really passionate about that, it’s just amazing. So that’s why the range is so big because we’re catering for the trend but also catering for the autistic spectrum.

T: We do the garden stalls because people that are autistic like to see and feel everything.

5. And do you have a favourite from the items you sell?

T: I definitely have a favourite – the reversable octopuses.

L: They’re probably mine as well.

T: They come in so many different sizes and colours and they’ve even got ones which have different eyes, they’re just so cute!

You can also use them to show your emotions.

L: Tobias loves cuddly toys, so the reversable octopuses they’re really good because they show whether you’re happy or sad.

A lot of autistic children can’t actually talk so it just helps the parents know ‘I’m in a good mood’/’I’m in a bad moon’. But Tobias just loves cuddling them!

He’s got reversable penguins as well!

But I also love the timers. The liquid timers, they’re things that you turn upside down and then the liquid slowly moves down.

T: It works because of the density of the water and oil. So, the coloured oils inside, because of the density of the oil and water, the oil moved through the water so it just looks empty with something going through it. It doesn’t even look like there’s any water in there!

It just looks like there’s oil moving around – it’s really clever how it works.

L: Tobias loves science, he wants to be a scientist.

T: I don’t know what I want to do but I know I want to work in science!