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Corporate Mascot Questions Answered

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Or browse through to learn about getting your company's character or mascot turned in to a custom stuffed toy.

How much does it cost?

The cost per toy depends on the size of the toy ( l x w x h ), the quantity you order, and the complexity of the toy. Typically you'll see sizable price drops when ordering quantities of 3,600; 10,000; 25,000; 50,000; 100,000; 250,000; 500,000; 1,000,000 toys. My typical client orders between 15,000 and 75,000 toys a year. You can take delivery all at once, or you can break that up over two or three deliveries. The quantity and the size dictates the price more then other factors.

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What is the minimum order?

My minimum order per design is 900 pieces. So if you want two different color schemes between toys, for example, a blue bear and a red bear, that is a separate design and would require another 900 pieces. ( 2 colors x 900 pieces = 1,800 toys total).

For orders under 6,000 pieces there may be limitations on exact material color, and patterns. You'll find that any limitations on your design gets lifted at 6,000 pieces or more per design. The reason for limitations on quantities under 6,000 pieces is that my suppliers, such as the raw materials factory, require certain minimums. When trying to manufacture 900 - 6,000 pieces, there may be minimum orders required from my material factory that would result in me having to use materials that are in stock. The colors may not be exactly what you want when I'm simply purchasing existing materials for your toy. For bigger toys (16" or greater) that use the same material on the majority of the toy, the minimum quantity of toys would be reduced for custom materials, since each toy uses up more material. If you require very close Pantone color matches to your corporate colors, I would highly recommend budgeting for 5,000 - 6,000 toys as a minimum to avoid disappointment. Some limitations are inherent on smaller orders.

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Is there a setup fee?

Yes and No.

Yes. My setup fee is $500 which gets you a list of services (listed below) a sample of your toy (prototype) and photo edits of any changes you want. If you go in to production, the setup fee is 100% credited towards production. | Place Deposit |

No. You can avoid any setup fees by moving straight to production. My reputation with corporate clients; my history of delivering exceptional products; and the advanced services I offer make the majority of my clients comfortable enough to simply place a production order so there are no setup fees, since those services are included in production.

List Of Services

Whether you pay a setup fee or go straight in to production you'll receive;

Sketch

The majority of my clients have existing artwork already, but don't worry if you don't have artwork at all. Even for my clients with existing artwork I generally will create a new sketch anyway, since I want to show how your corporate mascot will look like as a plush toy. There can be minor differences from your corporate mascot to the plush toy, which are important to establish early on so your expectations are realistic.

Sketch Revisions

It's important to establish the look and feel for your new custom plush toy and doing it on paper (computer) is the quickest and most economical way. I will show you the changes you are requesting to your sketch, and keep going as long as you feel it's necessary. Please note however, that creating a 'perfect' sketch that is not achievable as a plush toy does not help the project, so if I feel that a sketch will not translate well in to a plush toy, I'll be sure to let you know. That is only fair. Revisions are no extra charge. New designs or changes will be considered a new project which requires another $500 setup fee.

Material Selection

Choosing materials can be daunting. Your new custom stuffed toy will require the right blend of color, feel and pile length selections to compliment the design. At times a client will fall in love with a specific material and I know that won't work with your design. My job is to guide you towards material selections that are appropriate for your designs, and match the look and feel you are going for.

Prototype/Sample

I will get your stuffed toy designed based upon the approved sketch and materials. Often, I'll leave some decisions up to my designer since creating a plush toy is an art form and you want to leave a little room for an artist to be creative. I understand that with corporate mascots or organization representatives you need to comply with set standards, but plush toys require some creativity to get a certain look since I'm not working with hard materials like metal or plastics. This is simply pieces of material cut out and sewn together on a sewing machine. It's a 'soft' art form and some interpretation is required and expected.

Prototype Changes

Creating a unique one of a kind toy is exciting and when the first toy is done, it's great to review it and see how we can make it better. If there are changes, which does happen since it's my first time making your toy, I'll carefully list any changes you have, and review them with you. Some changes, such as seeing unique custom material, can only be done in production. The reason for this is that if you require a special material, I'll have to order the full production quantity of materials before I can make a sample using that material. For most other changes, I can edit a photograph on the computer and show you the changes in a photo edit. This will give you a very accurate look at the final product.

Pre-Production Review

All the details are worked out, and it's simply a matter of choosing a quantity. Whether you're ready to go in to production immediately or not, I can review the upcoming production specifications with you. I will confirm the price per piece at your selected quantity range. I'll be sure to point out any potential difficulties, or time delays that may occur with your design, and I'll confirm the time-line with you so you can be sure your custom stuffed toys are going to show up on time. It is always important to schedule more than 'just enough time' to get your toys delivered since minor delays are bound to happen, which can add up to mean your toys arrive late. Please allow an extra few weeks in addition to any quoted timelines to allow for any delays outside of my control. (natural disasters, labor disruptions, holiday congestion, shipping congestion)

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Can I make accessories?

Yes, I can make almost anything you want as long as it meets minimum orders and it complies with safety standards. Since August 14th, 2009, new safety regulations require me to safety test every toy production order. Yes, many of your toys will not be given to children, since they'll be a trade show hand out, or a promotional item for adults. Any product that looks appealing to a child as a play thing is considered a toy whether it's intended for children initially or not. Since I'm a toy manufacturer, everything I make must be safety tested which is included in your price.

Typical accessories for the toy include; toy clothing; toy backpack (great for including CDs, DVDs or product samples); toy hats and other garments; hangtags or booklets (great for including your branding message, coupons, or direct response marketing materials); sound modules (great for delivering your marketing message); and packaging (see below).

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Can I do packaging?

Yes, I can make almost anything you want as long as it does not compromise the safety of the toy. For example, creating a voodoo doll with pins. I can't supply the pins, sorry. I can create additional sales or marketing materials to be packaged with your toy. I can create full color retail boxes, 'L' boxes or any other type of packaging. For some custom corporate gifts I create a pocket in the mascot where additional products can be stored, making the toy itself the package. Individual plastic bags are always a good idea to keep the goods clean, dust free and odorless during transit and storage.

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Can I ship to multiple locations?

Yes, of course. I can split your shipment to be delivered to multiple locations all the way down to one carton per location. I have some clients that have some very small branches in their corporation so they needed as little as 12 pieces to go to several locations. I packed the whole production order in cartons of 12 pieces, so that those locations simply needed one carton delivered to them. Other locations had to accept multiples of 12, which was not a problem since it fit the vast majority of their fulfillment needs.

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Can I ship on demand / provide fulfillment?

Yes. I have set up fulfillment for several clients. It could be as simple as basic storage, with shipments sent out as they are needed, or as complex as fulfillment requests generated through website orders, or requests. Each fulfillment need is unique so a custom solution can be setup just for you. My location does not store and ship goods, so I will use a third party to handle those needs for you. I'm happy to arrange and manage the process for you.

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Do I help with designing the toy?

Yes. I have created unique corporate mascots from a simple description ( make me a Happy Frog) as well as replicating a long standing corporate mascot that is steeped in tradition. Either way, I'm happy to accommodate your needs. I do have fun helping to put a marketing spin on an idea you have, and working out the manufacturing process that will fulfill that need.

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Can I make toy with...? (Example: that talks - that moves - that holds a product)

I can do almost anything that complies with safety standards and meets minimum orders. Some items are difficult for me to make. For example, I am having a tough time finding a material that looks like leather that passes safety testing. Faux or Fake leather contains a product called phthalates which helps plastics feel soft and flexible. US Congress (through the CPSIA Safety Standards) has deemed phthalates to be a dangerous chemical and it cannot be used in any materials on a toy. In my opinion phthalates are a very low risk to children since children generally do not ingest dozens (or hundreds) of toys which would see a danger to their phthalate blood levels. (the act of ingesting that number of toys would be the real danger)

Other then ongoing safety requirements, I can make many, many products and accessories that comply with toy safety standards. If you've seen something similar in a major chain like Toys-R-Us or Wal-Mart recently, then I can probably make it.

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How long does it take to get your custom stuffed toy delivered ?

Delivery is based on how many revisions and changes you require. Typically, I can create the first prototype within 4 weeks for your approval, and then production will take approximately 12 weeks which includes delivery to your doorstep. With new laws I am required to perform safety tests on every production order. Mandatory safety tests means that there will be a Pre-Production stage which can add a couple weeks to your delivery date. For critical delivery dates like a corporate event or trade show, please do not mark on your calendar exactly 16-18 weeks before your event since those time lines do not allow any room for revisions or changes. 'Just In Time Delivery' does not work well when creating a unique, custom product for the first time. Please know that I can air ship goods in 4 - 6 weeks faster then a ground/ocean shipment. Air shipping is much more expensive then ocean shipping and should be avoided. One way that you can have your toys delivered to you more quickly is to have a small portion of the production order air shipped to you and the rest of the goods shipped by ground/ocean. If you spread the air shipping expense of a portion of your toys over the entire order, it can be viewed as being much more economical while fulfilling your needs.

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Can I come to your office?

For sizable orders (100,000 or higher) I have traveled to clients locations. A few clients have come to my location. I would say that I have met less than 1% of my clients. The reason for this is that I've built such a comprehensive system to handle working on complex projects over a distance that meeting face to face is not required. The other reason is that I work with so many clients across the entire USA, Canada, UK, Japan, Spain, France (not easy to import toys in to France so be careful if you choose another manufacturer), Australia, Belgium, Germany, India, Israel, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Ireland, Scotland, South Africa, Suriname, and Switzerland, so it would be impossible to meet with all of these clients, or at least be cost prohibitive.

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Are the toys safe?

Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Even before strict toy regulations were introduced in 2009 I was vigilant in ensuring that every toy I designed and created would be safe for all ages. This has always been well ahead of profits and my personal business goals. I am a privately held corporation so I don't report to shareholders to show a profit (at all cost). I've also run my company in a profitable manner so I don't have to report to banks to show profits (at all cost). I have been free to run my company according to my personal view point and that is; I'd rather sleep well at night, not worrying about unsafe toys out there with my name on them as opposed to trying to cut corners and ship out toys that are questionable but are sold.

With that personal belief stated, I have also developed a system that requires myself, my staff, my factories, and my third party vendors to implement step by step mandatory instructions to comply with all safety regulations to meet and exceed toy regulations for any country I'm shipping to. All toys shipped to the USA, for example, are safety tested by a certified third party testing lab to comply with CPSIA safety standards. I am certain that I can comply with any country's safety standards.

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Where are the toys made?

Until 1995 all of my toys were locally made by Moms and Grandmas. That was my slogan at the time. With the government dropping the duty on imported stuffed toys to zero, it was impossible to compete. Yes, many people still cared that the toys were manufactured locally, but they did not care enough to pay $25 for a toy that they could get for $5. I had to fade out locally manufactured toys, and introduce China made products. All of my products are made in China now. Since the majority of skilled plush toy designers, safe materials, and manufacturing power is located in China, this is the most logical choice for manufacturing your custom stuffed toy. You may not agree with manufacturing in China, but there is little choice other then not making a toy at all.

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Is slave labor / child labor used in my factories ?

No. No. No. There is no slave labor, or child labor in my factory. The main way I can make the claim that there is no slave labor in my factories is that when I produce toys for major corporations like McDonald's Restaurants, they require me to complete a full factory audit. The factory audit includes a surprise visit by a third party testing company that arrives unannounced to my factory. The workers and managers are interviewed and the work area is photographed and documented. The majority of my clients cannot afford such an extensive review, but I get a few a year which confirms that nothing has changed for the worse in my factory.

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