by Amy Frey
There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Chicago being dubbed the “The Toy and Game Inventing Capital of the World”.
After experiencing the Toy and Game Inventor Expo (TAGIE) last week in the windy city, held in conjunction with The Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTag), I’d have to say that both events are key to the city earning the well deserved designation. TAGIE brought together over 40 experts in the toy industry eager to share their knowledge with novice toy inventors. For two full days, panels of experts addressed topics from licensing your invention for royalties to manufacturing it yourself overseas.
Since InventionHome was a TAGIE sponsor, I had the opportunity to attend the discussions and meet with toy industry executives from companies such as Hasbro and ThinkFun. Large companies such as Hasbro typically work with professional toy developers and brokers to source new products from inventors. They simply don’t have the time (or the need) to work with the independent inventor that doesn’t understand their product needs at the required level. Large companies want products that meet their business initiatives and can be implemented quickly without any handholding. Many smaller companies are more willing to take an undeveloped product and massage it to fit their product and brand requirements, but inventors must still do their homework in order to be taken seriously by any company. Here is some basic advice on the first steps to market your invention from the industry experts:
- Research the market for similar games/toys. Understand how your game play or toy is different. Look online and in toy stores and mass retailers.
- Test the game/toy with strangers (your family and friends are going to like it no matter what!)
- Make sure the product is a good fit for the company. For example, if the company sells adult games don’t send them a pre-school toy! This seems obvious but it’s a pet peeve of many companies that continually receive inappropriate product submissions.
Obviously, there’s much more advice and helpful information on all kinds of topics for inventors than I’m able to share in this brief blog. If you’re considering “next steps” for your own invention, consider taking advantage of InventionHome’s experience, knowledge and industry connections and contact us today for more information on how to get started. If you are a toy inventor, whether looking to license or manufacture your invention yourself, I encourage you to consider attending TAGIE next year. Mary Couzin puts on a fabulous event that really lets you learn how the toy industry operates while giving you the chance to show your product to companies interested in inventions. Even if you don’t get lucky and snag a deal, you will gain valuable feedback on your product.
In addition to TAGIE, InventionHome is also pleased to sponsor the Kid Invention Show to air on Got Invention Radio in January of 2011. Brian Fried, the host of the show, was at ChiTag interviewing 40 kid inventors that took part in the Young Inventor Challenge.
InventionHome’s president, Russell Williams, will be a guest on an upcoming show to discuss the inventing process and how InventionHome helps inventors commercialize their inventions. Look for more information about both shows on the InventionHome blog.
Call 1-866-844-6512 for information on licensing your invention for royalties!
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