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Forums > Other Toys > The "next big thing" ... maybe ...

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SpringHeel


newbie


Total posts: 15
Posted:Hi,

I have designed and prototyped a new skill toy that I have high hopes for - basically it's a piece of equipment that can be used for juggling, frisbee-style toss and catch games and also a team sport. I seriously think that it has a lot of potential, both for fun/skill development and performance.

However, I have virtually no experience with manufacturing, retailing, marketing, etc. and don't know where to start with the business side of things. Any help, contacts, advice? I'm based in Wellington, New Zealand.

Thanks,

SpringHeel


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[noodles]


[noodles]

*Property of Pigeon Wigeon*
Location: Locked In Pigeons Chimney

Total posts: 893
Posted:Might be able to help a little...
Patent it first and foremost unless you want someone to steal your design.
Give prototypes to spinny juggly people to test and give you feedback. Then once your definately settled on the final design, work out what it will cost to make and ship etc then your ready to sell.
Ebay works well for a lot of things and has relatively low overheads so might be an idea.
You could also start your own website, although e-commerce software can get a bit expensive.
The other option would be to contact shops that sell juggling stuff and see if they would be interested in stocking your product. Bear in mind you will need to offer it to them at a lower (trade) price than you would to the general public because they will need to sell it on at a higher (retail) price and make a little profit to make it worth their while.
Hope this helps you in someway. biggrin


Could somebody stop the room please... I'd like to get off

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SpringHeel


newbie


Total posts: 15
Posted:Cheers!

I'm getting conflicting advice about patents; some people say they're necessary, others note that it's easy for manufacturers to change the design just enough to avoid problems with patent laws (not that I could afford to take a big company to court anyway). Basically, I expect the design to be ripped off by someone pretty quickly, so I'm hoping to make a big enough impact early on that the whole project will be profitable.

I definitely intend to get some skilled jugglers to have a go with the toy - I'm long-retired from the scene and my hand-eye co-ordination ain't what it used to be.

Also, I don't know whether to go the DIY route and make the things myself as a cottage industry, or approach (sub-contract to?) a company that is already set up to manufacture this sort of toy.


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Suibom


Suibom

addict
Location: Oregon, USA

Total posts: 577
Posted:Great set of info there, noodles. Props to you on that reply!

Definition of poi- A Hawaiian food made from the tuber of the taro that is cooked, pounded to a paste, and fermented.

Ahnold discussing poi - "It is naht a toober!"

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polythene


veteran
Location: London/ Surrey

Total posts: 1359
Posted:If you don't want to go the patent route, you may wish to copyright the name and any other copyright-able bits smile

The optimist claims that we are living in the best of all possible worlds.
The pessimist fears this is true.

Always make time to play in the snow.

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Lemonkey


Lemonkey

Stalking amidst the desert, carrying an oversized scalpel...
Location: Huddersfield + Hull Uni... UK.

Total posts: 1019
Posted:Written by: SpringHeel
basically it's a piece of equipment that can be used for juggling, frisbee-style toss and catch games



A juggling ring?!?

They double up as frisbees. wink


Willy - is bad for your health...

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SpringHeel


newbie


Total posts: 15
Posted:I do want to copyright the name and any associated material (instruction pamphlet/website text/whatever).

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SpringHeel


newbie


Total posts: 15
Posted:Written by: Lemonkey

Written by: SpringHeel
basically it's a piece of equipment that can be used for juggling, frisbee-style toss and catch games



A juggling ring?!?

They double up as frisbees. wink



Nope, not a juggling ring ...


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UCOF
SILVER Member since Apr 2002

UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel


Total posts: 15414
Posted:Is it a frisbee?!?

They double up as juggling rings. wink


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SpringHeel


newbie


Total posts: 15
Posted:Aagh.

It does not resemble a frisbee or a juggling ring. Nor a pie-plate, hula hoop or Captain America's shield. Not even a family resemblance. Not round, is what I'm saying.

No more hints!


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Fine_Rabid_Dog


Internet Hate Machine
Location: They seek him here, they seek ...

Total posts: 10530
Posted:CAn we have a picture? ubbangel wink

The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."

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JauntyJames
SILVER Member since Dec 2004

JauntyJames

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Hampshire College, MA, USA

Total posts: 3533
Posted:Of course not, s/he's worried you're going to steal the idea because it hasn't been patented yet. wink

-James

"How do you know if you're happy or sad without a mask? Or angry? Or ready for dessert?"

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Fine_Rabid_Dog


Internet Hate Machine
Location: They seek him here, they seek ...

Total posts: 10530
Posted:Shhhhh you fool, we could have been rich!

wink


The existance of flamethrowers says that someone, somewhere, at sometime said "I need to set that thing on fire, but it's too far away."

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Lipstick_With_Cheeeeese


newbie


Total posts: 2
Posted:Bienvenue a la maison de poi, ou nous tripotons les batons.



Tu est tres tres belle, et je vais m'indenter dans ta cullotte. Ce Sera magnifique, est ca sera vraiment pleasurable parce que vous etes une salope.!!!!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!!11!!!!!!!!



P.S Ton mere c'est tres Nul je veux un remboursi.

FromAGGGGGGGGGEEEEEE


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Lurch
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon

Total posts: 929
Posted:It's a trademark for the name. Trademarks do simple text/titles/slogans and keep people from using it elsewhere. Copyrights are for creative and artistic forms of work such as literary works, movies, musical works, sound recordings, paintings, photographs, software, and industrial designs.



Copyrights are technically created as soon as the piece is created. Meaning an artist has a copyright on a photograph for example as soon as the image is taken. While you have a copyright, you don't really have any legal recourse if someone attempts to steal it, unless you can prove you designed it first, in which case you *might* be able to force them to stop using it, but you won't get any compensation from them unless the copyright is actually registered.



*edit* To clarify, that is for the US, I'm not sure about other laws.

EDITED_BY: Lurch (1133178089)


#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

Warning: Please Do Not Jump On The Seals

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SpringHeel


newbie


Total posts: 15
Posted:Ah - good point about the trademark, thanks.

That's basically the problem I have right now. It's an original design, but I know that once it's "out there", people will copy it no matter how I try to protect it. So the worry is that I won't actually see any profit from the concept, except what I could make before the big boys with the $$ start turning out their own versions of the toy.

I've been reseaching this and I know that there are "toy agents" in the USA who can represent this sort of design to the industry, which is probably the best way to go because it guarantees that (assuming a toy company sees the potential and actually buys the idea), the design would benefit from their legal protection, marketing know-how, etc. I would still receive a royalty on each item sold; it wouldn't be as much of a profit per item as if I was manufacturing and selling them all myself, but the fact that a toy company can produce in bulk should (I hope!) more than balance that out.

Anyone know a good toy agent?


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Lurch
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon

Total posts: 929
Posted:You could always be your own agent and try and pitch ideas to various companies on your own. If this is going to be for a fairly small crowd, than there are probably a small number of companies that you'd be interested in. You could go about it a couple different ways at that point, attempt to outright sell them the rights to the idea for whatever sum of money you deem appropriate, at which point you walk away with a wad of cash and never think of the product again, or you could retain the rights to it, and basically lease them the right to manufacture and sell it, with kickbacks to you of course. You could also produce it yourself, and sell them your inventory, or produce them yourself and put them on consignment at your local toy shops or websites.

If you have a well thought out, functioning product it will most likely be cheaper for a big company to buy you out, and take the product as is than to waste the time and money developing their own copycat product.


#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

Warning: Please Do Not Jump On The Seals

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fNi
GOLD Member since Mar 2004

fNi

master of disaster
Location: New York

Total posts: 3354
Posted:Pertaining to the toy industry, one way I've seen work is for the inventor to pitch the toy the big companies with a prototype, etc, and then if one company decides they like the product, they buy the rights, and do all the legal work in terms of copyrights and trademarks, etc. (relatives are toy inventors biggrin ) It is important to keep in mind that when you show them the prototype, its a sales pitch, so you need to explain why the company should put time and money into producing it.

SpringHeel, its not whether they produce in bulk, its whether people buy it.

And then inevitably another company will look at the new product, change 1 thing, call it new, and produce it. But that won't affect what you get or not. And by no means let that discourage you.


kyrian: I've felt your finger connect with me many times
lou kitten: sneaky little meatball..
ezz: please corrupt me more

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SpringHeel


newbie


Total posts: 15
Posted:Hi Lurch,



that's an attractive idea, but from what I'm reading on toy invention websites, most of the big companies won't deal with independent inventors, just with professional agents bound by confidentiality agreements, etc. - like movie companies not dealing directly with actors, I guess. The perceived risk to the companies seems to be that if an inventor presents a new toy idea, and then the company independently comes up with something similar, they open themselves to lawsuits, so they prefer not to deal with inventors. I'm still open to being my own agent if I can find a company that I can trust, though.



Without going into details, I think the major strength of my design is that it has legitimate cross-over appeal to three markets - kid's toy, adult skill-toy (jugglers, etc.) and athletes/weekend outdoor recreation (the toss-and-catch version of the game, and also the team sport version). Of those three I reckon the kid market is probably the largest, but also the most competitive in that any kid-range toy is competing with things like Barbie, the latest movie tie-ins, Playstation 2, etc.



The prototype works perfectly - it isn't a complicated design, just a new application of some well-established principles. I'm not worried about playability, etc. because it's already proven (but I realise that I'll still have to sell the whole thing properly).



My first thought was to manufacture them myself but I'm not set up to do that equipment-wise and have no experience in manufacturing or marketing. It would also run the risk that once the design is "exposed" someone will just appropriate the idea.


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SpringHeel


newbie


Total posts: 15
Posted:fireNice,

have you seen inventors representing themselves to the companies, or do they go through agents? Do you know of any skill-toy friendly company or companies that will deal directly with inventors?


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TheWibbler
GOLD Member since Apr 2003

old hand
Location: New Zealand

Total posts: 920
Posted:Well if you show anyone without making them sign a legally binding document (one written by your solicitor) they the idea becomes "common knowledge" and you probably can't patent it.

Patents are really expensive and many patented products never earn more than the cost of the patent. Plus they'll still make them in china so it's almost worthless unless you are planning on making millions.

I designed a cool cd case a few years ago and went through all these same issues. It's very hard. A good trick to make sure you can prove you came up with the idea is to send yourself a prototype version by registered mail, put the envelope (unopened) into a bank, that way if you end up in court you can prove the date you made it. Then talk to a solicitor before aproaching a company you think you can trust with the legal backup. If they say they won't sign before seeing it then walk away.

Going it alone is extremely hard. The advertising costs alone would mount up just to make people aware of this cool new thing.

I'm down in christchurch at the moment, if you need any advice pm me. But i never made my cd case a full on product. But i did see it out there about 5 years later, so i'd say if you believe in it then you gotta give it 110%

Good luck,

matt


Spherculism ~:~ The Act of becoming Spherculish.

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TheBovrilMonkey
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

TheBovrilMonkey

Liquid Cow
Location: High Wycombe, England

Total posts: 2629
Posted:Written by: spherculist

It's very hard. A good trick to make sure you can prove you came up with the idea is to send yourself a prototype version by registered mail, put the envelope (unopened) into a bank, that way if you end up in court you can prove the date you made it. Then talk to a solicitor before aproaching a company you think you can trust with the legal backup.



I'd be very wary of doing that as there are ways around it.
For example, post yourself an empty and unsealed envelope and all you need to is put something inside and seal it - it looks exactly the same as if you'd posted the envelope with the contents sealed inside during posting.


But there's no sense crying over every mistake. You just keep on trying till you run out of cake.

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Lurch
BRONZE Member since Nov 2003

Lurch

old hand
Location: Oregon

Total posts: 929
Posted:It's called the poormans copyright for a reason wink It won't stand up in court too well, but it might be enough to scare someone out of doing something they know they shouldn't be doing.

#homeofpoi -- irc.newnet.net Come talk to us we're bored frown

Warning: Please Do Not Jump On The Seals

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SpringHeel


newbie


Total posts: 15
Posted:Thanks folks ... I'm not really thinking in terms of patenting the design anyway, because it simply costs more than I could afford to pay. That's why I'm aiming to sell or lease the idea directly to a good manufacturing company, which will have more resources re. legal protection, product promotions, etc.

Are there any juggling equipment manufacturers who have a good business and ethics rep., and who might be willing to take a chance on a new idea?


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