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Has anyone tried selling kits to make toys rather than plans or the finished product?

1906 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  roman
For the past 3 years I've been doing library and school programs building action toys with kids of all ages. The projects are from my book Zany Wooden Toys that Whiz, Spin, Pop, and Fly. I haven't met a kid yet whose face didn't light up when they saw tables with wood pieces, real tools (hammers and screw drivers), sand paper, and rubber bands. Often after an event a parent will ask me if I sell kits for the toys. The answer is "no" so I just hand them one of the extras. It dawned on me that they always asked for kits because what they really want to share is the building, the discovering, and the beaming pride of accomplishment that comes from building your own toy. So why not make kits instead of finished toys?

I've launched a project aimed at funding some kits, but would like anyone's advice on legal issues, manufacturing challenges, or marketing ideas.


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The Lowes in my area sells small prepackaged woodworking projects targeted at kids.

Have you tried approaching the boutique toy and children stores in your town? A packaged item like what you are proposing sounds like it would sell well there. Your local museums, zoos and nature centers might be a good market as well. We have a education store in my town that sells packaged science kits. If you have a store like that in your town it might be a good place for it.

Have you built and packaged your kits to sell? What about going selling directly online, etsy store maybe?

Anyone can build a handful of these kits to sell. Setting up and running a production line of custom wood parts is a different animal. Precision and production quality will make or break you. If one of your jigs becomes misaligned during a production run then you've lost a days work and wasted your raw material.

Are you planning to manufacture yourself or outsource? If you want to manufacture yourself get familiar with how to setup and run an OSHA shop. Don't forget to check into your local zoning laws on where you can setup and run a production line.
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Interesting idea. I once made some kits to make bird feeders and even when I gave them away the people used the parts to make other things. I gave up on the whole idea.
Thanks for the advice. I think I'll start small going the Etsy route to see how interested people are..


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