TDmonthly Magazine!
December 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 12
Sponsored by:
http://toyfestwest.com/



Article Tools:

Munipals Puts Fay Graphic on Track

New York Subway Trains Spark Interest From Other Cities


“We were looking at this not so much as a business, but more ‘Let’s do this and see if it generates revenue.’ ” Stephen Fay, Fay Graphic Design Ltd.
Incentive to get the wheels in motion for a line of wooden toy trains modeled after the New York subway came from a son’s question at the dinner table. At the time, Stephen Fay had recently left his artistic director post at the “Wall Street Journal” to strike out on his own. He thought the subway trains could be a nice addition to the other endeavors of his fledgling company, Fay Graphic Design Ltd.

“My son was a big fan of the wooden trains, and he was also a big fan of subways, like a lot of children in the city,” Stephen told TDmonthly Magazine. “I actually had fooled around with making my own set for him. … But it was really about a year or two years after that that he brought it up again at dinner and said, ‘Dad, when are you going to make those wooden subway trains?’”

SUBWAY TRAINS SNAG LICENSE

Stephen put together some drawings and presented his idea to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Transit Museum Shop. Not only did they like the idea, but the Munipals line also ended up with an exclusive license with MTA.

Most of Stephen’s family and friends advised against the endeavor. But, he figured it was natural for them to think, “‘If it’s so obvious, then why has no one done this?’ But we were looking at this not so much as a business, but more, ‘Let’s do this and see if it generates revenue.’”

The best advice he got was from a friend who said the trains were “a winner” and that Stephen should “lay the money down and be prepared for success.” That same friend also advised him to get the MTA license and a lawyer.

Stephen approached the product as a “consumer designer,” with the goal of a quality wooden train retailing for $9.95 that can be used on standard wooden tracks, like the ones in the Thomas and Brio lines.

“What you hear from parents is that in the wooden train market everything is so expensive,” he told TDmonthly. “We wanted a product that adults could buy multiples of and give as a gift.”

DESIGN HEADS TO CHINA

Stephen initially sought a U.S. manufacturer but settled on one in Shenzhen, China.

“Either the price was wrong or the prototypes the people proposed were not what we had designed or had approved from the MTA,” Stephen said.

He had initially wanted the trains to be inspected to ASTM standards before they left China, but a glitch in communication didn’t have them inspected until they arrived in the United States.

“Now we have our stuff tested in China by a third party — SGS,” Stephen told TDmonthly. “It’s a voluntary standard, but why not? And then the whole lead paint thing came down, and it turned out to be the right thing to do.”

SOLID RIGHTS AND STARTER SALES

A bonus of the Munipals status with MTA is that Fay Graphic doesn’t have to worry about intellectual property theft. “All the rights to all of the graphics belong to MTA, so their legal department handles all of that,” Stephen said.

Munipals also get free advertising in the subway, and are sold at the Transit Museum store and through its website. Fay Graphic has begun selling its trains online through Yahoo! Inc., too.

But, Stephen said, one of the best things about this venture is the responses he gets.

“We get these great emails from kids,” he said, “suggesting changes we should make, asking when the new trains will be available. … We get a lot of that love-letter stuff. It’s new to us, coming out of publishing.”

The prospects look good for Fay Graphic’s wooden train undertaking. Now there’s interest in versions of Munipals from other subway systems, including attention from Los Angeles and a deal in the works with Chicago.

See some Munipals subway trains below:




MSRP: $34.95
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Rail Roads & Trains
Wooden Toys



Munipals' first train and track set is a great starter set for any subway fan. The set comprises two 42 Street Shuttle cars and 19 track pieces, enough to build ovals, loops, and straight shuttle runs over 6' long. Being the only IRT shuttle in the system, the real 42 Street Shuttle carries nearly a quarter million people every week. It runs on tracks only 20' beneath the street, with each of the three shuttle trains making an average of 360 runs each day.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20952      (added 10/16/2008)
.
AD


MSRP: $9.95
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Rail Roads & Trains
Wooden Toys



The F-Train runs from 179 St. in Jamaica, Queens into Manhattan, and then down to Coney Island in Brooklyn. This F-Train 6 Avenue Local train is based on the R-64 model. Features a solid hardwood upper body with magnetic connectors to play on all standard wooden railway tracks. Realistic signage--just like current in-service subway cars. 5-inches long. Safe, sturdy and fun for ages 3 and older.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20949      (added 10/16/2008)
.
AD


MSRP: $9.95
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Rail Roads & Trains
Wooden Toys



The 1-Train runs from Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, all the way to the South Ferry at the southern tip of Manhattan. This Broadway/7 Av Local 1-Train is based on the R-62 model. Features a solid hardwood upper body with magnetic connectors to play on all standard wooden railway tracks. 4-inches long. Safe, sturdy and fun for ages 3 and older.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20951      (added 10/16/2008)
.
AD


MSRP: $9.95
Age Range: 3 and up
Gender: Boys And Girls
Category: Rail Roads & Trains
Wooden Toys



The A-Train runs from Inwood at the top of Manhattan, to Far Rockaway in Queens; more than 31 miles, the longest line in the system. This A-Train 8 Avenue Express is based on the R-143 model. Features a solid hardwood upper body with magnetic connectors to play on all standard wooden railway tracks. Realistic signage--just like current in-service subway cars. 5-inches long. Safe, sturdy and fun for ages 3 and older.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 20950      (added 10/16/2008)
.
AD


Catalog Request Form


Sheri JobeWriter's Bio: Sheri Jobe has been a journalist for more than 15 years. As a freelancer, she splits her time mostly between the Midwest and New England. She has been published in business journals and regional newspapers. She also writes fiction. Read more articles by this author

Popular Stories

Request Information


THIS BANNER IS AN AD:






Back to TDmonthly's front page

Advertisement:

Advertise on TDmonthly


Recent Products

LEGO Mixels Series 6
By LEGO
» More Information

Calico Critters - Seaside Cruiser Houseboat
By INTERNATIONAL PLAYTHINGS LLC
» More Information

Shopkins S3 Mega Pack Of Shopkin
By Moose Enterprise
» More Information


Related Articles
·Retailer Spotlight: Totally Thomas' Toy Depot
(8/1/2010)
·Trucks and Trains and Autos and Planes
(7/1/2007)
·Chugging Along to the Future
(8/1/2005)
·A Safari Into the Imagination
(2/1/2010)
·Zoobies Unfold With New Themes and Licenses
(3/1/2010)
·HABA's New Dolls, Games, and Costumes Make Great Gifts
(6/1/2012)


Also See
·Interview with Alexandre Pariente, CEO of Safari Ltd®
(11/1/2014)
·Will American Kids Want Some Tsum-Tsum?
(9/1/2014)
·TDmonthly 2014 Top Toy Debut Award Winners: Dolls, Plush and Collectibles
(5/1/2014)
·Q&A With Will Haughey, Co-Founder of Tegu
(1/1/2013)
·Q&A With Cheryl Shaw from Little Colorado, Inc
(1/1/2013)
·Safari Ltd® Supports Neighborhood Toy Store Day
(10/1/2012)
















Advertisement:



Magazine Home     Contact TDmonthly   Advertise Here 
Editorial Calendar   Events & Trade Shows   Media Kit   Request Product Information   PlayZak®

Look up Manufacturers at ToyDirectory.com®

Disclaimer  Privacy Policy  Career Opportunities  Feedback
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use.
Copyright © 2015 TDmonthly®, a division of TOYDIRECTORY.com®, Inc.