The companies I work with generally are open to creative ideas, taking a little risk and having fun. When I first start working with a new client it's a great time to brainstorm new ideas since I don't know your business or industry so I'll be coming in to your world with fresh eyes and an open mind.
Below is an example of a project I did. If you get a free quote on your own stuffed toy idea, I'll send you more case studies featuring past clients who had huge success with their custom stuffed toy. It may give you ideas on how you can use one too.
Trade Show Giveaway
Kelly Loneman from Image Market found my website through an internet search, as most customers do. His request was a little different from my usual orders, but was definitely interesting.
Kelly first contacted me with his idea and signed on as our customer within several days of communication with me. He was pleasantly surprised with my estimated price and eagerness to help with his unique request.
Image Market had a large trade show in Seattle in early May of the same year. With our general project timeline of approximately 16 weeks, Kelly & I had to work smart and quickly to ensure the delivery of the custom toys was on time for their big event.
I was to make their logo in to a plush toy.
I enlisted one of my sketch artists to prepare a "Plush Ready" sketch of the Smiling Frog design which incorporated all the details necessary for the design. One of the unique features of the Smiling Frog is the braces on his teeth.
He needed their custom designed frog to have these braces because their event was an Orthodontist Trade Show and they didn't want just any old frog to giveaway, they wanted one which spoke directly to their attendees.
Prototyping - First Sample - "It is better than we expected,"
Kelly approved the first sketch we offered him and our designer got to work immediately making his prototype. Less than 2 weeks later, Kelly had the first ever Smiling Frog stuffed toy in his hands and he was impressed. Our designer got the design correct on the first try which worked great for the tight time line. "It is better than we expected," was the feedback from the customer.
They wanted 6,000 small frogs to give out at their trade show but wanted an idea on how to really draw attention. I thought it would be great to have one huge Smiling Frog that they could just sit on their floor.
I've made big toys in the past, but I really wanted to make something that made the customer say 'Wow'. Of course that would mean that trade show visitors would also say the same thing.
Trade Show Display Toy
The result was a five foot, stuffed Frog. For shipping it, I did not have a standard cardboard box to ship the large Smiling Frog with, so I had to look at other options.
I explored having a custom cardboard box made. The price seemed very reasonable, but I quickly realized that a cardboard box would not be strong enough to support the 400 pounds of material and stuffing.
Another thought was to make a custom wooden crate to house the frog. Again, there was an issue of time sensitivity, plus the crate would add greatly to the overall weight of the shipment and I wanted to keep it light to help keep my customers' shipping cost down.
The Idea that Worked
A typical pallet is 4' by 4' but we were able to find some larger pre-made pallets that were 5' by 5'. I decided to place the frog on the large pallet and wrap it in plastic, before encasing it with a custom cardboard box. With the correct shipping information printed on the box, we finally had the best possible method of getting the large Smiling Frog from China to Seattle.
The Smiling Frog order shipped out and was cleared through customs without any hesitation and the final leg of delivery was arranged with a local trucking company. All the toys arrived to the trade show several days before the event started. This allowed Kelly and his team enough time to set up their booth with their large Smiling Frog well before the start of the show.
A note from my customer:
The frogs were a huge success. Customer would come up and give it a big hug.
The process worked great. Prospects would wait in line to get their photo with the large frog and then wait in line to enter their email information in a computer at the other end of our booth. While they were in line, we would tell them all about our product. In the past, prospects would walk.
right by our booth. The publishers of the main industry magazine stopped by and took photographs of our booth in order to do a story of our company for a July issue. This will be great advertising.
I attached a few photos of the display before the show started and then a few photos of customers posing with the frog.
The small frogs were such a hit. You would have thought we were handing out hundred dollar bills.
Again. I can't thank you enough making our show such a success.
Have a great one.
Kelly Loneman - Image Market Omaha, NE USA