I’m a Step2 Brand Ambassador and this trip was paid for by Step2. All opinions are mine.
The Step2 Company recently flew me and the other brand ambassadors to Cleveland, OH to visit their headquarters and factory. Cue the “I’ve Got A Golden Ticket” song right about now, because I realize that I’m one lucky and blessed gal! Is visiting a toy company really my grown up job? Pinch me! The brand ambassadors stayed at the beautiful Renaissance Cleveland hotel, where this mama got 3 blissful nights of uninterrupted sleep. In between meetings, we got a little taste of Ohio at Michael Symon’s Lola (I recommend the beef hanger steak and Lola s’more) and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I also made sure to sample some Buckeye candy, which is like a peanut butter cup but way better. In the words of the natives – Cleveland Rocks!
It wasn’t all play, we got in a few meetings too. Meetings at a toy company’s headquarters. So, it technically was all play, but I digress. The folks behind the scenes at The Step2 Company are all so passionate about what they do and genuinely love their products and company, which was great to see. Before picking our brains on some new concepts in product development and meeting with the marketing team, we got to tour The Step 2 factory. I can now cross “visit Santa’s workshop” off my bucket list, because that’s totally what it felt like. No cameras were allowed, and I’m pretty sure I had to sign over the rights to my first born child (sorry Logan) to get in, but we got a sneak peek at the rigorous safety testing they do and how everything is made. And guess what? Everything is made in the good ol’ US of A! I just loved that giant flag at the entrance of their plant.
My favorite part of the tour? Visiting the design team and seeing their creative process and passion. It was fun seeing how they played around with foam and cardboard, creating new toy ideas that popped into their head. I loved how they kept their old toys that didn’t quite make it to production for whatever reason, but they just couldn’t bare to throw them away because they put their heart into them. I enjoyed seeing the first prototypes of certain toys, many crafted out of duct tape and cardboard, and it reminded me of my little creative inventor back at home. It was everything I hoped it would be and so inspiring. We also got to play around in the Step2 showroom, which houses many of the up and coming toys. My favorites, which are available now, include the Thomas the Tank Engine Toddler Bed and the Love & Care Deluxe Nursery. The 2-in-1 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is also pretty cool (stay tuned for a review)!
While I was in Ohio, my kiddos were being spoiled rotten by the grandparents. It was my first time away from my littlest, which is always tough. As much as I detest pumping, it was a nice way to have a long distance connection to her. I found a local Cleveland mom of a NICU graduate that can only tolerate breastmilk to donate my pumped milk to. It was nice being able to pay it forward, when we needed to utilize donor milk when Amelia was born. As much as I missed my babies, I was grateful for the opportunity to get a behind the scenes look at a company I love. I left The Step2 Company with an enormous amount of respect. They truly care about the safety of children and adhere to strict guidelines that go above and beyond the norm. They are also researching and developing ways to make their product more sustainable, which I admire. I’m proud to be affiliated with a company that makes quality product, right here in the US. Thank you Step2 for a fabulous time!