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Mikestoys

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Reply with quote  #1 
I have made few toys here and there but not really as a full time toy maker. I'm thinking about trying this out as a side job but trying to figure out what i better. Painted toys or Natural looking ones. I like Natural looking ones but my wife said kids like colored ones better.

What are your opinions on this ? 

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Dalboy

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Reply with quote  #2 
Not knowing the type of things people buy in your area it can be a little difficult. If they are the simpler type toys then make a small selection of each and this will give an indication of which sells best.
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Mikestoys

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Reply with quote  #3 
There is no market for wooden toys where are live, there are not even craft shows but I'll be mostly selling on etsy website.

I will probably end up making few natural and few painted.



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BadBob

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Reply with quote  #4 
Short answer is it depends.

Painted vs Bare Wood is a complex question with no easy answer. In my limited experience, kids go for colors every time. Adults go for wood. I get the same message from experienced sellers.   

I've sat with my grandson on my lap looking at photos of toys and asik which he liked best. Very nearly 100% of the time he picks the painted toy.  When he plays the bright colored toys are the ones he goes for. 

Kids are not surfing Etsy stores for toys at least not toddlers. The listings in my sore that get the most hits and the most favorites always seem to be the painted ones. I'm guessing that the color photos grab their eye and get them in the store. Sales are about half and half. 

Who is your target market? Do you want to crank out Play Pals by the hundreds hit them a lick and a promise with some sandpaper and throw them in your Etsy store and hope someone will buy them. Or do you have a specific market in mind.

I haven't figured out my target market yet. However, I have decided that my Etsy shop in the future isn't going to carry toys that sell for less than $25 and I may go higher. Why? Because I know my target market isn't the fleamarket crowd. I want to sell high quality toys to people that have deep pockets and don't mind paying for unique quality toys. 

No market for wooden toys in your area. Are there no children where you live? 





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john lewman

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Reply with quote  #5 

Thanks BadBob for a well thought-out and realistic view concerning selling toys. Your experience reflects mine when it comes to selling. The late Ken Martin did well on Etsy by building high quality and expensive toys for toy collectors. His biplane sold for $80. The late Sherman G. sold his Noah's Animal Cracker Ark set for $300. Both makers were very successful with sales. Ken also said that half the toys he sold were painted colorful toys.

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by john lewman

Thanks BadBob for a well thought-out and realistic view concerning selling toys. Your experience reflects mine when it comes to selling. The late Ken Martin did well on Etsy by building high quality and expensive toys for toy collectors. His biplane sold for $80. The late Sherman G. sold his Noah's Animal Cracker Ark set for $300. Both makers were very successful with sales. Ken also said that half the toys he sold were painted colorful toys.




I was thinking about Ken while I was writing that post. The only time I have sold only unfinished toys was when that was all I had to sell. I wasn't really a business then I just wanted more tools selling some toys at Christmas seemed like a good way to get them. I made a bunch of Norm Marshall toys and rented a table at a local market and sold every one of them in less than two hours. I made enough to get a jointer and belt sander. I was at the right place at the right time with the right toys to sell.

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Beginner

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hi,
BadBob, I read with interest your post where you said you were not going to entertain selling toys for under $25.
Can I just ask then please, which toys you will NOT be selling now, as they were priced at under the $25 cutoff.
Thanks.
Beginner.
BadBob

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Reply with quote  #8 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beginner
Hi,
BadBob, I read with interest your post where you said you were not going to entertain selling toys for under $25. Can I just ask then please, which toys you will NOT be selling now, as they were priced at under the $25 cutoff.
Thanks.
Beginner.


The ones that are in the store now that are below $25 are going to stay there. Until they sell simply to get the number of listing up and I already have them. If they don't sell by the time I get the number of listings I want to have in the store. I may pull them and give them away or even raise the price. 

What I'm not going to do is crank out 100 Play Pals in a day dip them in mineral oil and sell them for $5 each. What you might see in my shop is toy that generally follow the Play Pal pattern but are highly modified and finely finished. I recently sold a laminated version of the Play Pal Pick Up for $20 selling something. like it for $25 isn't much of a stretch. You might see complete sets of brightly painted Play Pals. 

Why $25? The average item selling on Etsy is piriced in the $25-30 range. I talked with people that make $5 toys and sell very few of them. I think that buying a toy for $5 and paying $6 for shipping. is a factor. It is for me. The more the item costs the less significant the $6 shipping becomes. Besides, I'm not willing to do the shipping for a sale that is less than $25. I'm still playing around with this and I may go higher still.





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Beginner

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Reply with quote  #9 
I admire your thought process and wish you luck with it.
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BadBob

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Reply with quote  #10 
A few things I should have included above. 

Running a business is work. Hard work and requires steadily applied effort to be successful. It takes a lot of time and effort to make it work.

The only difference I have been able to find between running an Etsy store as a hobby and as a business is how your taxes are filed. A hobby can't have losses that are greater than income. A business can.

Then their is sales tax. I read the rules for Florida and the only thing I can figure out is that I'm not making enough money yet to to worry about it. 

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Keith Harrison

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Reply with quote  #11 
I totally agree with Bob about the ratio of the cost of the toy verses the cost of shipping. I see shipping cost as dead money.
Over the weekend I was looking at buying small Play Pals size wheels from a company in the states. The price was fine until I added the shipping which basically doubled the cost of each wheel.   

Luckily for me, making toys is just a weekend hobby. I make what ever I fancy at the time. Turning it into a business would mean that in order to get a decent hourly rate for my efforts I would need to find a 'cheap' wood supply and productionize my manufacture. 

Hence, when you analyse the costs including time to not only make but also parcel the toy up and ship etc.  Bob's figure makes a lot of sense.

I'd also like to wish Bob the best of luck 

Keith

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Reply with quote  #12 
Keith, 

I like to save money buying parts by buying more If you know your going to use a lot of something buy a lot. You get a better price and if you buy enough your shipping cost can drop dramatically. I use a lot of 1/4 inch dowels. Seem like every time I'm in the shop I do something with 1/4 inch dowels. When I buy dowels I buy at least 100.  Using Play Pal as an example. The way I build them a set uses 34 wheels. 10 sets is 340 wheels. Buying 500 of these is a no brainer. I also look down the road at what I'm going to do next and may fill out the order with wheels or other parts I need. I'm working up an order now because I ran out of axel pegs today. I've got nothing in the cart but dowels, axle pegs, and a bag of 500 3/4 inch  wheels. $102 is the total. 

I'm hoping this business makes enough for me to keep from having to work as a WalMart greeter to pay for the "free" medical care that came with my retirement. I what to make what I want to make and enjoy making. If I'm going to be miserable I might as well get a job working for someone else. I know this is not the standard way of finding a need and developing a product to fill the need. It's backwards. I want to make things and find customers who want what I make. 

 I don't have a lot of listings now but I'm working on that as well as the variety as best I can while still working a full time job. I really hope to be ready for Christmas this year with lots of listings 



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Keith Harrison

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Reply with quote  #13 
Bob,
I can not fault any of your logic. As a business it makes total sense. 
Having looked in the UK there is really no place to buy wheels at a reasonable price. I have found a couple of places on the web, but was wondering where you get your wheels and axle pegs from. Even with shipping across the pond it will still be cheaper than I can find in the UK.

Keith

BadBob

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Reply with quote  #14 
Keith, 

I get my parts from Craftparts/Woodworks Ltd. The same place that John recommends in his plans. There are places that seem to have lower prices on the surface, but when all is said and done they usually don't work for me. Also I have track record with Craftparts. For example I know that when I buy wheels from them I'm not going to need to sand them or clean the holes out before I use them. Their quality is very good. I like that they show you what works with your wheels and that John's plans tell me which part number I need to purchase. The parts get here fast with regular shipping. In the quantities I am buying I get free shipping. 



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