Growing up in Malaysia in the 70s, we have never had so much luxury like how kids are enjoying these days. A simple half day picnic at Genting Highland to enjoy mama’s excellent home-cooked Fried Mee Hoon paired with deep fried chicken drumsticks over the highland’s chilly breeze made up some of the awesome day trips we have had growing up. Overnight trips were rare, at most to attend weddings of our relatives up in the North.
When I was about seven years old, my parent took us to Penang for a short visit over a festive holiday. Apart from memory of us staying over at the local YMCA lodging because every lodging on the island was all sold out prior to our arrival, my vivid memory of this particular trip was of a Pink Panther plush toy that I had my eyes on that was sold at a road side stall. While I may not have demonstrated my affiliation with pink colour my whole life, THIS was what I really wanted on THAT day.
Now being a third child and as I suspected, magically “unplanned” as well, I do not have many toys bought for me. I was surrounded by hand-me-down story books, stationery and toys that my older siblings no longer wanted to play with and so, immediately I felt that I really needed the Pink Panther badly, like I could die if I didn’t get to own it on the spot. After much pleading and shedding of some dramatic but cheap tears, my mother unwillingly bought me the doll for RM20, which was a lot of money back then. I was so touched by her act that I slept and played with and took the best care of the plush toy for a few good years until its tail gave way and when I then inherited my first Barbie from a good friend who had the fortune of owning two Barbie dolls as a gift from her rich uncle.
A well-loved toy in a child’s life is like a friendship bond that never really goes away. In my case, I still love that Pink Panther of mine after more than 30 years! Imagine now, all of the toys one gets to see in one big, magical store that offers the best of toy selections to every child who dares to dream and to play!
For more than 250 years, Hamleys of London has played the part of this magical place every child in UK knows and loves as the finest toy shop and in recent decades, loved by children all over the World and of all ages.
Hamleys’ rich history began with William Hamley (oh, I love that man for his vision), a Cornishman from Bodmin, England. In 1760, the first Hamleys store was opened in Holborn, London and in 1881, it was moved to Regent Street.
Today, Hamleys’ flagship store in London has thousands of toys across 7 floors with over 40,000 different toys!
Hamleys walks into a child’s heart with its famous in-store entertainment, toy demonstration, colourful and engaging store design combined with fantastic Hamleys’ own brand toys. Every year, millions of families walk through Hamleys doors greeted by Hamley and Hattie bears, watch a puppet show or take part in a magic trick.
Behold peeps, Hamleys is bringing good news to Malaysians! The first flagship store will open its door to the public in One Utama on the 30th of November at Lot F319, 1st Floor at I Utama Shopping Centre.
I love that besides giving customers a fun and unique in-store experience, Hamleys is committed to toy safety, in that all of the toys are functionally and laboratory tested in order to comply with the relevant Toy Safety Directives.
Regardless of locations, all Hamleys toys for sale outside of Europe are required to meet the same international requirements.
In fact, suppliers of Hamleys toys must agree and sign the MOU with the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI). This is a measure Hamleys takes to fulfill their commitment towards promotion of toy safety standards and social responsibility such as environmental concerns, fair and lawful employment and workplace safety.
The local partner in Malaysia, GRV Toy Store (GRV) aims to open at least 5 Hamleys toyshop in the next 5 years. Mr Kim Manaf – Director of GRV Toy Store said, “Every day is a magical day at Hamleys and we want to keep our customers excited with the various activities, competitions, character and showbiz visits. By regularly visiting our Hamleys store, you’ll never miss any of the action!”
The types of toy available in Hamleys are arts & crafts, actions toys, build it, dolls, games, outdoor, preschool, soft toys and vehicles. The brands you will see in-store are Hamleys’ own brand as well as the established toy range from Marvel, Star Wars, Transformers, Nerf, Hotwheels, Disney Princess, Megablocks, Sylvanian Families, Baby Alive, Monster High, Barbie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, Playskool, Fisher Price, Leap Frog, Thomas & Friends, Play-doh, Hasbro Gaming Upin & Ipin and many more.
In conjunction with the opening of the first Hamleys flagship store in Malaysia that spreads over 20,478sq. ft., the first 500 shoppers will receive an Angry Bird card games worth RM20.90. On the opening day, there will be Ben 10 Bloxx character walkabout, free popcorn sampling and many other exciting opening offers.
Although I am hoping that my kids will encounter the magical experience at Hamleys, I will just visit the store alone on its first days. You just may never know when the kids will use back my patented “Pink Panther” dirty tricks on me like i did on my own mama. I want to be prepared first before they storm into Hamleys and cart back everything they lay their eyes on. *Wink*