Local Business Highlight: Pixie Toys
SMALL TOY SHOP BRINGS BIG JOY TO BIXBY KNOLLS
By Lindsey Goodrow
Toys have always played a fundamental role in Heather Daykin-Rasmussen’s life ever since she can remember. She grew up in the south bay and was practically raised in a toy shop in Hermosa Beach called Enchanted Elf, which was run by her mother. She says it felt much like her second home, and would often nap within its magical walls among the dolls and train sets.
Although living in this world of make-believe would only last until she was seven years old, which is when her mother’s toy shop closed, it would set into motion one day owning her own toy store, Pixie Toys, years down the line.
When Rasmussen was twenty years old, she was attending El Camino College with a great interest in children’s psychology and teaching, but with dreams to do something magical with her life. She was working at yet another toy store, called Toy Jungle, organizing inventory and backstocking. With pretty much a life up to this point led in and out of toy shops, she was suddenly struck with a fantastic idea.
Almost jokingly, Heather told her friends and loved ones that with all her experience she should open her own toy shop business. Much to her surprise, her friends and family wholeheartedly agreed with her.
With a small amount of money she had saved, matched by money from her loved ones, Heather rented out a small space — just a wall of shelves — in a knitting studio called Banana Berry in Long Beach in 2007. This was the beginning of Pixie Toys.
THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF OWNING YOUR FIRST BUSINESS
Without formal training, Heather had to rely on her open heart and eagerness to learn in order to grow Pixie Toys into a thriving business. With an attuned eye and a finger on the pulse for what was hip in the market, she stocked her shelves with brands and products unique to the industry. Her toy store history came in handy, as she was able to offer her customers items that couldn’t be found at larger chains like Toys ”R” Us or Target.
What she was doing at that yarn store on Wardlow was working well, as she began to rent out an entire room, followed by two rooms in the store. Her toy products were taking over the space, and Rasmussen soon found herself needing to move locations in order to run a proper business.
PIXIE TOYS MAKES ITS HOME IN BIXBY KNOLLS
Patrons looking for incredible toys that suit children of all ages now flock to Heather’s shop at 3914 Atlantic Ave. There, a sea of toys grouped by theme, like Dinosaurs, Garden, and Mermaid Art, wait patiently to be played with. Once your precious toy has been selected, Heather or her staff gift wrap it and include a personalized card, which is a small gesture that goes a long way.
Having now operated Pixie Toys in Bixby Knolls for a decade, Heather feels at home in the amazing community she found here. Bixby is a city filled with residents and business owners who want to see each other thrive and Pixie Toys has done just that.
Something to attribute to this small business’s success is First Fridays, a monthly event that takes place in Bixby Knolls (much like Fourth Fridays on 4th Street in Long Beach) which offers small business owners like Heather Daykin-Rasmussen an incredible opportunity to promote her store by surrounding it with people. The event brings the entire community together with food, drinks, art, and live music. The entire city celebrates the surrounding businesses and helps support them.
STAYING CONNECTED DURING THE PANDEMIC
The pandemic hit small businesses hard, and Pixie Toys wasn’t immune to this struggle. Without a real online presence, Heather was unable to reach her customers for a short period of time. But like magic, she found a way to bring toys and joy back to her community.
Her loyal customers would call in orders for toys, and Heather would personally deliver them to the family’s doorstep, bringing comfort in a time of need.
Pixie Toys was already stocked full of puzzles and fidget spinners, which were all the rage at the height of the pandemic, keeping children smiling as well as Pixie Toys afloat.
The pandemic may have rocked Heather’s business for a moment, but it also instilled a greater sense of importance around what this toy shop truly meant to her.
“I play a ton of games with my family. We try to do at least one a day. Some are super silly, like ‘Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza’ but they all bring us together”. For the latest toy trends, Rasmussen is known to refer to her ten-year-old son and eight-year-old daughter for their knowledgable insights.