Sign up Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment   Page 3 of 3      Prev   1   2   3
AES

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 191
Reply with quote  #31 
To add to my last post:

3. I assume that John and Cynthia's goal is to sell as many plans as possible, hence his original post asking for feedback on this new set. If so, surely the market he's aiming at is as broad as possible, so presenting what is substantially the same plan set but modified to allow the buyer a choice of Euro or US "styles" will surely add to the overall market appeal?

__________________
Kind regards
AES

ctowne

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 1,054
Reply with quote  #32 
Good point AES - kids will play with anything but the big kids want something more like what they see.  Many of my sales are to the big kids and they want something because it is the car or truck that they drive.  I would say half of my sales are to the big kids.  They want it sitting on their desks.   They give them for presents to clients.....  It does help the maker if they are familiar with the look to also make alterations to the plan for what might really work in their area. 
john lewman

Avatar / Picture

Owner, ToymakingPlans.com
Registered:
Posts: 2,805
Reply with quote  #33 
AES, I like the idea of a world view of design styles for wood toys and have been giving this a lot of thought since your suggestions on the Peterbilt. Being the one and only designer on the design staff and Cynthia being the only other employee, it is a challenge to meet the needs of a world market. We are determined to continue to find just the right mix for all of our customers. Please continue to give feedback. It is priceless to us as we move forward.

john lewman

Avatar / Picture

Owner, ToymakingPlans.com
Registered:
Posts: 2,805
Reply with quote  #34 

Still, Bruce and AES make a very important, appreciated and worthwhile point. Why not design the toys to be realistic and also have great play value? Going forward this will be our goal. And it is input from everyone on the Forum that helps us clarify our direction for the future. The Powerful Petes are already out of the gate so we will leave these as designed.

Based on Bruce and AES's input and input from all of the other comments, I will be designing all new sets of toys to be both realistic, as true as possible to the original and sturdy enough to be a toy for kids or adults. And I hope to create both USA labels and other labels from around the world. It has taken me a long time to "see the light" but I am really excited about the possibilities.

BadBob

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 1,617
Reply with quote  #35 
As you make the designs more realistic at some point it stops being a toy and becomes a model. If your doing it for a hobby this might be great. If your making them to sell the more complex they get the smaller target market is going be. At some point you will be loosing money. There has to be a sweet spot.

This set of plans is pushing the limit for me. I like them but I'm looking at 40 or more parts I have to make. I'm not convinced I could make money selling these.

To illustrate my point, The guy in this video says he makes about $5.00 US/hour making these trucks and selling them for up to $2500 each. I can make more than that as a greeter at Wal-Mart.

Perhaps I'm completely wrong headed about this. If you think I am please enlighten me.





__________________
Advanced techniques are the basics perfectly applied.
Odin's Toy Factory Etsy Store
Facebook
Pinterest
Blogger
Forum Photo Album

LinkedIn
YouTube
Google Photos Toys Album

john lewman

Avatar / Picture

Owner, ToymakingPlans.com
Registered:
Posts: 2,805
Reply with quote  #36 
You make a good point BadBob. I have had good luck selling the simpler toys like the Powerful Petes. I do better with my time when I cut out at least a dozen of one design to finish as a group. I realize you have to sell a lot of toys to sell a dozen of each design but I have sold thousands of toys this way. One way I have enhanced my sales is to contact toy and gift shops and sell small quantities to them. I have had some success by selling toys through a commissioned salesman who contacted toy and gift shops with offerings of all kinds of things we made for their shop.

The late Ken Martin was successful selling toys from his website. A popular toy of his was the 1927 Vintage Biplane that he sold for $65. The planes were natural wood with Cynthia's paste wax finish. He had a great way to package and ship them safely that he developed over time.

I have not done consignments to retail shops successfully. It is too much record keeping and sometimes it is difficult to collect the money after the sale. I suppose with the right shop owner it could be successful.

I have had large orders from specialty retailers who found me through friends and customers. My largest order for one toy was for 25,000 toy elephants sold to Luzier Cosmetics as a promotional give-away for large cosmetic orders received from their customers. The toys were made of furniture grade fiberboard  and were finished with 5 coats of bright colored gloss lacquer. We used a dipping process to paint all the toys and wheels which was fast and very successful. The toy was 10" x 10" x 4" with 3" wheels which were made with a custom wheel cutter I designed and had machined at a local machine shop. An industrial grade old drill press was used to make the 100,000 toy wheels.

A local high school kid ran the wheel cutter drill press for me and it took him several weeks to make all the wheels. I used other high school kids to cut out and paint the toys. A local sheltered workshop for Down's Syndrome handicapped young people assembled, cleaned and packaged the toys and placed them in the large 40 toys per carton shipping containers which were loaded on the big semi trucks for delivery to Luzier.

The handicapped kids were way more skilled and careful than anyone I had ever worked with on a project like this. Some of them could only make rasberry noises with their tongues and were unable to speak any words.  They were talented young men and women. It gave me a new respect for the handicapped. And they loved earning their own money. Their example of having the ability to concentrate and focus on their work is something that has stuck with me every day of my life.

We made our goal of 400 toy elephants per day - all packaged and ready to ship. We used 7 normal high school kids and 12 handicapped kids (all were ages 17-25) to successfully complete the order. 

I have designed and made thousands of wood toy trucks, cars, farm sets, airplanes, outer-space toys, puppets, doll houses, educational toys and riding toys. And it has been profitable to me. I retired from all that in 2009.

Cynthia and I started this website business so I can concentrate on documenting the hundreds of designs that I have developed over the years. I could not do it without her. She is a genius business manager and a computer wizard. I design the toys. She proofs all of my work, runs all of the business and keeps the computers operating. It is a great partnership.

I have completed over 350 toy plans for the website. I have also published a couple of dozen plans I had other designers complete for me. I prefer to do all the work myself so going forward I am not using anyone to help me create the manuscripts for the toy plans.

I have hundreds of additional wood toy ideas to finish. I hope to get them all into toy plans before I cross the great river. It will be my legacy. I want others to enjoy what I have enjoyed for my entire life starting at about 3 years old. I was so excited every morning to get at it that I would get out of bed at 3:30 AM and head to my little workbench. It drove my parents nuts!

I still wake up at the same time with the same enthusiasm and can't wait to get at it again. It has been that way every day of my life and the designing of toys has been the joy of my life. Sorry about the rambling. I guess I never grew up.


BadBob

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 1,617
Reply with quote  #37 
Keep them coming John I want to see them all.

I'm kind of in the boonies. There is not much in the way of craft shows within 150 mile radius of me. I'd have to make a lot of money to drive that far and spend a night or two in a hotel. We do have one big show local at Christmas every year. It's a big one taking over the fairgrounds for the weekend. Everyone I have talked to that works this show makes money. If I can get together enough toys I may give it a try.

For the most part it's the internet or nothing. Fortunately, I have computer skills and lots of experience with the internet. When I started using the internet there was no web. It was text only. 

I understand completely about making a lots of pieces at once. It's a lot easier to make a lot of some thing at once. I've spent entire weekends making wheels. I wind up with lots of extra parts doing this but they seemed to get used.

I'm hoping to make the Etsy store work for me. I've pretty much got a handle on the SEO thing down.


__________________
Advanced techniques are the basics perfectly applied.
Odin's Toy Factory Etsy Store
Facebook
Pinterest
Blogger
Forum Photo Album

LinkedIn
YouTube
Google Photos Toys Album

john lewman

Avatar / Picture

Owner, ToymakingPlans.com
Registered:
Posts: 2,805
Reply with quote  #38 
Etsy can be a lot of fun and many crafts folks are very successful with it. Feel free to post the link to your new Etsy site on your forum posts. We get around 400 to 1000 visitors a day to the forum. Most do not participate but spend hours searching the forum for answers. Many of those folks could be potential customers.
gazz

Registered:
Posts: 126
Reply with quote  #39 
My thought on making the toys more realistic and European is a good idea, for those of us who only make one or two the amount of parts wouldn't matter. For those who want to sell them they could leave some parts off.


__________________
Nothing beats sanding in the sun
Cometoz

Registered:
Posts: 156
Reply with quote  #40 
I guess I come from a different perspective ... most of the commission work involving timber, brass, aluminium and foil are given away - truth be known I have never SOLD a thing.

Time to make an item varies between 40-300 hrs but provides me with tons of enjoyment and teaching opportunities for others.

I ain't rich but there sure is a lot of satisfaction!!!

T
BadBob

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 1,617
Reply with quote  #41 
It's a world wide market for John's plans and he needs to make what he can sell. If he needs to design complicate toys to make money that is what he needs to do. If he wants to design trucks that look like the European style trucks great. I may even buy some of the plans. We have Volvo and Mercedes trucks here.

I've bought a lot of plans on this site. I own every plan on the site that I think I can make relatively easy and sell. The Quick and Easy Series are perfect for my purposes. I like the Mini Constructors, Freaky Fords, Martin Motors and the like. Designs similar to these I will buy. Usually in the first week they are released. I've got a back log of things to build, a store to fill, and stock to make for the only big show we have here. Eventually I hope to build some of all of the plans I have purchased. If I'm counting correctly I have 75 of Johns plans and the Toy Makers Library.

Plans I don't buy?

Plans I don't think I can sell. Should be obvious.

Plans I don't want to make. These are ones I just don't like or don't like to do. I don't like the mod podge toys, I did buy the P-38 and will probably buy any other in this series if I think I can make them without the mod podge stuff. I like aircraft especially WWII war birds from any country.

Plans I think would take to long to build. There are a few exceptions to this that I know I can sell for enough to make it worth while.

Complex plans. When they start looking like models I let them sit. There are a lot of these I would like to build but they can sit in the cloud until I'm ready. Which may be never.

__________________
Advanced techniques are the basics perfectly applied.
Odin's Toy Factory Etsy Store
Facebook
Pinterest
Blogger
Forum Photo Album

LinkedIn
YouTube
Google Photos Toys Album

john lewman

Avatar / Picture

Owner, ToymakingPlans.com
Registered:
Posts: 2,805
Reply with quote  #42 
Thanks for the input BadBob. Thousands of our community feel just like you do and have the same requirements for success. I am trying to create a series of simple, intermediate and complex plans to meet the needs of all the community.
ctowne

Avatar / Picture

Registered:
Posts: 1,054
Reply with quote  #43 
To add my two cents - I have bought some of the more detailed plans and modified to a simpler version that suits my skill set and my target audience.  I have also made that same plan with all the detail to target the big kids.  John's designs are fantastic but I alter a lot based on my area and market and to suit the tools I have.  
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.