DIARY OF AN INVENTOR: Jan Grime and Shape Kids

Each month, a toy inventor will give us, first hand, their trials and tribulations in their quest to get products to market. This month, Jan Grime explains her struggle to launch Shape Kids, a range of buildable shape character toys.
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I tried for ten months here in New Zealand to get them made and quite a few people were very interested, but no one could do them for less than $29 so I got in touch with an online company called Salehoo who have done the hard work with companies overseas by checking them all out.

I paid my fee and that gave me access to some company names. I picked Hexin Toys in China, a firm that has made toys for Hasbro and Tomy, but dealing with them was very hard because of the language differences. I often got emails that I couldn't understand and so did they, but we got there in the end.

I sent a set to the BBC but haven't heard anything.

I emailed to ask if they had received them but they ignored my email. I rang Toys R Us and the girl on the reception put me through to their buyer and she said “yes send a set”. I did, but it took me ages to get through to her and then she said, "oh we can't accept wooden toys."

I didn't get in touch with any crowdfunders, as I didn't know they existed unfortunately.

I paid to get a business mentor at the end of last year and he said he couldn't help me as I had done everything he would have suggested, so that was another waste of money.

It's like I am banging my head against a brick wall, it is so frustrating.

Two clairvoyants told me separately that Shape Kids would fly off the shelves once they hit England, but I am not sure where to go next.

I would gladly move back to the UK if I had someone willing to help me get to the next level.

If you are an inventor and you'd like to share your story, email us at Billy.Langsworthy@intentmedia.co.uk.


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