TDmonthly Magazine!
August 2011 | Vol. X - No. 8


10 Manufacturers Share Their Keys To Success In the Toy/Juvenile Products Industry you're thinking about getting into the toy business or are looking for some guidance, who better to get advice from than people already in the industry? TDmonthly spoke with manufacturers and asked them what they think are the keys to success in the toy/juvenile products industry.

Keep an eye out for full-length interviews with many of these companies in future issues of TDmonthly; any previously published interviews are linked to the respondents name. Companies'whose status could not be confirmed are in smaller font at the end of the article.

What do you think are the keys to success in the toy/juvenile products industry?

David Rolls, Founder, MasterPieces Puzzle Co., Inc.: You need to listen to what the marketplace is telling you. There is opportunity out there, however, it doesn’t necessarily come easy... It is a competitive market, therefore we will need to continue to offer a superior product and at a fair price. Our primary goal is to continue to offer the broadcast range of puzzle and games in the market place in order to take care of all of our customers needs.

David Schreiber, President, Uncle Skunkle Toys, Inc.:
Think about why you want to be in the toy industry. If it is to become rich, become a stockbroker. Yes you can make money in this business, but there are a lot of easier ways to do it. The industry needs more people who really care about our children, and less people trying to make a quick buck with short cuts.

Monica Lucas, Mindtwister USA: Three things. 1.) Listen closely to those who have been in the industry for many years, both who have a history of success and failures; it will save you lots of time. 2.) Be flexible and realize that just because you think it’s a great idea, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s marketable. 3.) If you don’t have a love for the industry and the tenacity to see your vision to the end then you may want to rethink why you want to do it in the first place.

Lea Culliton, President, HABA USA/HABERMAAS CORP.: Do your homework. Depending on the products, I would definitely recommend that [new companies] join ASTRA and/or TIA and start making connections. The entire industry is in fast-change mode and what worked yesterday may well not work tomorrow. The online distribution channel is now one of the critical markets that can make and/or break a brand.

Julie Al-Maskeen, Games Under Construction: Be patient, and have faith in your product - no business is successful overnight - I have to keep reminding myself of this everyday!

Katherine Huck, Co-Founder, The Happy Kid Company: Research everything you possibly can. There is so much you can find out now with the Internet. You will be able to determine a lot as to how well you will be able to build your business given the market and the unique facets of the toy industry.

Laura Lind, Fun Furnishings: I believe products that strengthen families will always be in strong demand.

Janis Fenton, Co-Founder, Bear Mill: We learn by listening to our customers and are always striving for new designs...Our customers are the key to our success. It is their knowledge and experience we draw from when introducing new products.

Stephen Poreda, Founder, Mystik Toyz: The key to success is getting our toys played [with] and demonstrated in the stores.

Laurie Norton, founder, Lucon Kids: Keeping up with new technologies is probably our biggest task. As parents we want to provide a safe, healthy and imaginative learning environment for our children. A good product is one that is useful, not just a distraction. When parents see the value in it, they want it. When kids like it, they ask for it. Those remain our highest priorities as parents and toy makers.

Justina HuddlestonWriter's Bio: Justina Huddleston graduated Magna Cum Laude from Emerson College with a BA in Writing, Literature, and Publishing in 2009. After graduating she was the on-site director of the Boston Children's Museum gift store for a year, selling educational, developmental, and creative activity toys that tied in with the museum's exhibits. Justina also interned at children's book publisher Candlewick Press before moving from Boston to Los Angeles, where she is now Editorial Director of TDmonthly Magazine. Read more articles by this author


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