Put it out there
Select characters with a strong style – don’t be too shy to present your portfolio with different ideas or designs. Develop your own style and be consistent. It might be convenient to send a bunch of pictures by email, but at the end of the day presentation counts, so make a pretty and accessible website that can be viewed by desktop or mobile browsers.
Tell a story
Content is king – remember, we’re in the storytelling business. You designed your characters and want to hook people up with attractive background stories; it’s kind of turning the whole thing into an emotional experience. A good story is like the soul of the toy; without it, the toy would be just another piece of pretty plastic that collects dust on the shelf.
Mock it up…
It’s important to visualise your ideas and designs. If possible, try to make 3D models of them; this helps toy makers quickly understand your designs and see how to turn them into production pieces.
Believe it or not, shop owners tend to know a lot of toy makers and they’re often savvy to the quality of their production too. It’s in your interests to have a good relationship with them as they might turn out to be a key contact in connecting you to a good toy maker.
Toy makers are busy people: they take care of toy development, production and a lot of other little things besides. And you can imagine that they get a lot of similar submissions to yours too. So be patient – if you haven’t heard back for a while, send them a timely reminder and ask if they need any further information. But be careful not to push too hard, otherwise it will make things worse, not better.
Andy Woo is founder of Crazylabel