The festive season is well and truly upon us and no doubt you’ve been bombarded with toy adverts, even if you don’t have children. While there are some toys that will never go out of fashion (Playmobil and Lego, we’re looking at you) there are others that perhaps don’t quite stand the test of time so well. 

Either way, and if you’re like us, the gift giving season has probably got you speculating about what a lucrative business toys are. From injection molding services to 3D printing of toys and modern marketing methods, it’s best to be well informed if you’re thinking of entering this trade. With that in mind, here are 4 IDEAL tips for starting your own toy business.

RESEARCH

There are hundreds, no, thousands, no, millions of toys out there. The first thing you need to do is research the market and validate your toy idea; to both check if it already exists elsewhere, and to see if it’s an idea which would appeal. 

Overlooking the importance of conducting thorough market research is a common – and all too often fatal – mistake which aspiring entrepreneurs commit. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, commit yourself to researching the market in a depth and breadth you think preposterous on paper. By doing extensive market research, you get to know your competitors and protect yourself from investment losses. You’ll be able to determine if there is a demand for the products and services you intend to sell based on consumer responses, and also analyse the key demographics in the supply and demand chain.

GET YOUR PROTOTYPE 

This is relatively simple but pretty much compulsory; send some sketches of your toy to a 3D modeller and they’ll model up the sketches to give you a prototype. Having one is vital. A lot of toys out there are fully 3-D printed, scaled and tangible, but another, often more affordable, way to make toys is by injection molding. This is a formative manufacturing process; to create a part, plastic is melted and then injected into the cavity of the mold. When the material solidifies it takes on the form of the mold. And in doing so, a prototype, or part of one, is born.

WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN 

Creating a business plan is vital, no matter how small you anticipate your trade to be. An effective strategy, done with due diligence and detail, will define the total expected costs, technology required, level of marketing, staffing, and manufacturing needs …basically, everything. Within that plan, be sure to cover the two main aspects which require detailed strategising; how you intend to market your products and services and how you intend to sell them.

A detailed plan will not only assist you during the initial phase of business, but it will also act as a guide in making smart decisions that will lead to growth and development later down the line. In the toy business, those predictions of growth and any identification of expansion and diversification opportunities is vital.

MARKET, MARKET, MARKET

We don’t need to tell you that you need a website and a good online presence in this day and age. But we’re going to say it anyway; you’re going to have to go that extra mile to raise exposure of your toy online, since there are so many on the market. You’ll also need to channel the energy of more traditional marketing methods to reach maximum exposure. 

The type of toy you want to create will determine your market strategies. For instance, baby toys can be shown off at baby fairs and expos. Educational toys for toddlers can be taken to child day care centres and nurseries, as well as schools. Toys for slightly older kids can be advertised on TV or actually within toy shops, with eye catching packaging or a prominent position in the display window. Play to your strengths, and you’ll be rewarded with sales.