This trip was provided by Step2. All opinions are my own.
For the past two years I have been incredibly blessed to be one of the ten Step2 Ambassador. You already know how much I love their products, but sometimes it’s hard to put into words just how much I adore their behind the scenes workings and ethics, and just how much respect I have for the company as a whole. Two weeks ago I hopped on a plane bound for Ohio and spent three incredible days hanging with the people that make up Step2, and let me tell you, it was an amazing experience. From meetings and dinner with the CEO himself to enlightening discussions with the marketing and R&D teams, and even a day of blissful pampering at the spa, I can confidently say it has been the highlight of my year!
Being an Ambassador for Step2 truly means the world to me. Not only do we work closely with the brand throughout the year and help share fabulous new kids products, but we are actually one (however small) part of this amazing brand. They listen to us, they want to hear our opinions, and they respect us because aside from bloggers we are first and foremost parents. We are the people that use their products every.single.day. and have real-world experience with them. You can read all about last year’s trip here, but now let’s get on to this year’s trip. (*You know how much of a perfectionist I am with photos, but lots of these photos are from my phone. Because hey, I was having so much fun the last thing I was thinking about was whipping out my 6lb monster of a camera.)
From the moment I arrived I loved every minute of it. They put us up in the swanky Metropolitan at the 9 hotel in downtown Cleveland, and oh.my.gosh. it was gorgeous!
We had meetings with the CEO, R&D team, and marketing team on the first day where we got to talk about upcoming product lines, get a first hand look at new partnerships and even weigh in on prospective new toys. One thing I will say coming out of that meeting is, guys, is you ain’t seen nothing yet. After visiting both this year and last year (which you can read about here), I can see the growth and drive of this brand, and under the new CEO, Chris Quinn, the sky is the limit for these guys. Their focus is on the products, and all about delighting moms (and dads) in all things. Every concept they have, everything they do, is to make the best product they can for families. I can’t tell you about all the new products they have planned for the next few seasons, but believe me when I say I can’t wait to see them become a reality! We also got to see fully constructed products that we had only seen in foam models and concept drawings last year, and one of those I can show you, so check out the brand new Wonderball House. Isn’t it a toddler’s dream?!
Day 2 was full of meetings with the fabulous people behind the brand, a super fun brainstorming session, a walk through R&D, and a great talk about where this amazing brand is headed. We got to explore the showroom and play with their current product lines, and for me I was like a kid in a candy store. I am already familiar with what they offer, but to be up close and touch them for myself was a really fun experience. A few of my favorites were the Thomas bed and of course the water tables. I’m a huge fan of water tables because they offer really great sensory stimulation options. Plus you can put anything in them – sand, beans, and more!
We got a production tour, where we got to see how each product is made and tested. Did you know that Step2 proudly manufactures right in their own backyard? Well they do, and it’s literally in their back yard – it’s on the same property as their headquarters! This was super fun for me – I loved seeing how their plastics start out as powder and then turn into the toys my kids play on. As a mom, I really appreciate the extensive safety testing each and every item goes through, even for things that I wouldn’t ever even think of!
And of course there’s this cheesy selfie in the midst of the biggest collection of toys I have ever seen in my life. Seriously, this is like one corridor out of ten.
The trip wasn’t all business though. They treated us to a tour of the Cleveland Indians stadium where they have a gorgeous kids club furnished with Step2 toys, followed by an evening game which was super cool!
We had some amazing meals, but my favorite would have to be from Melt. See this? It’s a giant vegetarian meatball grilled cheese sandwich. Oh.my.gosh. Serious food heaven!
To round out the trip, they treated us to a spa day on the last day, and let me tell you, this mama needed it! We got massages, facials, manicures, pedicures – the works. My full body massage was heavenly, but my favorite was the facial. I have never felt so relaxed in my life! We all posed for a manicure shot before heading to the airport, and I headed home filled with excitement and a renewed sense of love for not only Step2 but for what I am doing in my own life as well. I feel like I have a purpose, and I’m incredibly grateful to this brand for bringing me along on their journey!