I’ve just embarked on the start of an exciting journey to create unique toys, with the aim of licensing them to some of the biggest toy companies in the world.
From lead toy designer at Mookie Toys and toy design intern at Little Tikes, I’m now moving into toy invention.
Here’s a short summary of my story so far…
Starting off in the toy industry is tough.
Especially toy design, which like any professional job needs passion to get you through the hard/monotonous/stressful times but you also need to ‘wear a lot of hats’.
Communicating effectively with everyone in a toy company, from warehousing to sales to the Far East factories who rarely speak good English is a necessity.
Add to that being able to take an idea through many setbacks, layers of changes and rejection and finally releasing it onto the shelf. But before that, first you need to get the job.
I did product design at University, which was a good starting point, but you soon realise the scale of the task. There aren’t many toy design jobs in the world, let alone the UK.
Instead of applying to every advertised vacancy, I did it differently and actually went backwards, learning how to draw and present properly (hint: look up Scott Robertson, a genius), which I felt I didn’t get enough grounding in whilst at university.
This led onto the London Toy Fair 2010, where I spoke to anyone who would listen about my ‘amazing skills’. Luckily a great guy at Mookie called Stewart Middleton took pity on me and referred me to the directors, who gave me some freelance work, I impressed them and I got a job.
Fast forward four years and I’ve just come back from a round-the-world travelling trip (Summary here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe2GQ6kJEQk) and I’ve decided to do toy invention full-time.
I’ve approached it like I would do anything else – planning (‘fail to plan and plan to fail’).
Whilst I have the employment history (at two companies who thoroughly encourage new concepts, not ‘sticker jobs’) and the knowledge/skill set from working as an in-house toy designer, toy invention is a different (fluffy) animal.
LinkedIn posts, blog posts, visits to toy shops, buying samples, reading invention books, emailing people, phoning people, meeting people, asking questions, sketching ideas, demonstrating ideas, setting up a workshop, buying a fast computer and never giving up. That’s how I’ve spent my time recently to make sure I give myself every chance of succeeding at something approaching the odds of winning the lottery.
It’s going to be a long journey and I’m under no illusions as to how difficult it will be, but if you don’t try, you’ll never know. There’s only one way to find out…
‘Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will get you everywhere’ – Albert Einstein
If you’d like to talk about toy invention, either licensing or just for a chat, call me on 07906 855366.