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As you progress in your wooden toy business you will discover more and more "shortcuts"-- that produce same quality (or even better) at a lower cost. You will also learn of other items that are in demand and will make more decisions on whether to expand or add new products.
Wooden toys can be sold retail through ads, displays, and by using a little extra imagination.
For example, show a child playing with your toy in your ad (to help "plant" idea that your toys are fun to play with). Plan different ways to "push" your line -- give prizes at community affairs (raffle, children's competitions), try cable TV ads and local newspaper.
Use a good camera to take black & white photos and have newspaper make "cuts" of some of your best efforts to put in ads and brochures. When market warrants, add color brochures with illustrations and little write-ups of your toys.
Perhaps some of them are authentic copies of antiques, or can be associated with interesting stories or history. Don't hesitate to experiment with different wood combinations and patterns.
For example, two plywood with opposing grains for strength and effect; tongue & groove glued larger pieces; checkerboard patterns (like parquet floor pieces) or anything else you can think of.
Wholesaling brings in less revenue per item but eliminates much of cost of advertising and time needed for dealing with potential buyers of one or two items at a time (you may be able to make much more turning out toys than selling them). Here are three proven methods for wholesaling are:
1. Store sales, Take samples and price lists to retail stores in your area and ask them to order. A variation is to mail out price lists and brochures to stores that carry similar merchandise. In this case, write a "cover" letter of 1 - 2 pages on good quality letterhead paper. Describe your products briefly (stress their quality) and their availability. Include a price list and an ORDER FORM. For stores in your area, follow up this first contact with a personal visit, phone call or another letter 2 weeks later!
2. Catalog sales. List your products with an existing catalog sales firm (printing your own is expensive and should be tried only when you are experienced). procedure is similar to mail sales to stores (above), but you also need to include your charges for packaging and shipping of a single item because mail catalog store can either buy your products outright or have you drop-ship them as orders come in.
3. Fair sales. arrange for a booth at trade shows, large flea markets and community fairs. Take a good selection of your merchandise, business cards, brochures, and order forms and set up an attractive display.. Although objective will vary with type of activity. general idea is to retail, make contacts, gain recognition, and to take wholesale orders.
Be especially watchful for ways to profitably use every scrap of material and reduce amount you spend for supplies.
Make little toys from pieces left over from big ones, even if it means modifying a pattern or designing a special toy so it can be fabricated mostly from materials that would otherwise be wasted. Using these materials efficiently is purest form of profit!
The, calculate your best prices on paint, sandpaper, wood and even tools and supplies. It may be that buying glue in 5 gallon cans will save you a good deal -- unless there is a spoilage problem. In this department, most expensive thing you can do is to keep buying from same source without constantly checking -- and figuring how to get more for your money.
One source for fresh ideas would be subscribing to a couple of good trade magazines.
One of more obvious potential problem area to watch out for is overstocking items that don't sell.
The cause of this problem is invariably personal taste -- although poor sales techniques and/or shoddy work can also be contributors. Just remember that before you invest too heavily in any one product, do as professionals do -- test market it (see how it sells).
Just because you like something is NOT a good reason to make up 10,000 of them (remember Edsel? -- but if your customers like them -- that's different! If your problem is shoddy work, CHEAPEST thing to do is get rid of problem -- wholesale them to an outlet (burn them if necessary), but don't allow them to spoil your reputation and confidence.
Finally, if they aren't selling, alter your method of advertising. If that helps, work on that aspect until you find winning combination
Ajay Pats is a professional manager.He manages community for home based business entrepreneurs(url-http://groups.msn.com/venturecon) and inspirational ezine(http://www.topica.com/lists/venturemall).