Q&A: Will you produce my toy designs?
I just graduated from college. I am an up and coming artist that specializes in original toy designs and illustration. My dream is to become a professional art toy designer. I’m trying to find production company that would invest and produce my toys? Can you help?
A: Congrats on graduating! You may have cool designs that look great as 3D digital art. That being said, making a brand new toy takes a full year and costs us like $20,000 to $50,000 due to minimums. That means you'd have to be hella famous for us to throw that kind of money into it.
So honestly the first step for you is - get your work out there on a small scale. Print some designs, make some in resin, create stickers, low ticket items bearing the images of your characters. Build out your world. Grow your audience. Flesh it all out. What is the look/feeling/art you are building? Define it. The followers will come. With them, some sales will come. Build on that. There is no shortcut.
There will be very few people willing to part with some or all of a year's worth of income to bet it on a total stranger. I wouldn't (no offense, I have a kid and I need to provide for him). Most toy projects end up being money losing propositions.
Remember: just because you can design it and produce it, doesn't mean you can sell it. The selling part of the art toy world is the more complicated part. Anyone can make a toy at a factory in China, but not everyone can sell 1000 units of that toy.
Toy design just isn't a career for most people. Maybe it is a career for like 20 people on planet earth. But most of the "OG" legit original toy designers actually make most or all of their money in other ways - freelancing, corporate jobs, etc etc. Keep making your toys, just don't count on someone like me to bankroll your projects.
When you have some finished designs and products we can test them out on my website and get you into my marketing machine. I sell on consignment. Good way to see if your designs sell, very little downside for either of us. When you have a toy to sell, hit me up!
No companies invest in unknowns. The unknowns invest in themselves and build up their reputation and community over years or decades. Only then do people like me approach them to make a toy.
Usually it's a lot of hard work and little payoff for the artist for a long time which is why they sell their creative services to corporations (outside the toy world) to fund their lives, and make toys and collectibles on the side.
Every once in a while someone like Hebru Brantley or Ron English or KAWS ascends to the level where they are approached by toy companies. Those people are few and far between.