Start A Toy Business For The Weekend Woodworker

Because of the almost daily recall of many cheap plastic foreign-made toys due to lead paint and other hazardous materials, parents are looking for suitable substitutes. Why not use your skills as a woodworker to make safe and superior alternatives? There are many parents who are desperately looking for exactly the type of toys you, the weekend woodworker, can provide. First we will look at some of the toys you can make and then offer some suggestions on how to market and sell them.

What type of toys should you make? To help answer this, you might start by considering your likely customers. What do they want and what do they need? Many parents try to select toys that are not only fun but educational as well. There are many types of toys you can make that fit both of these criteria. You will also want to take into consideration the fact you need to be able to make these quickly and easily if you want to make a profit.

Some toys you might decide to make could include letters and numbers. These never go out of style and it is often difficult to find safe, well made examples. You could offer them as a set of numbers 1 through 10, or the 26 letters of the alphabet. You might decide to make a bucket of letters and numbers together or a bucket of letters with enough duplicates of certain letters to spell common words like mom, dad, baby, etc.

You might also consider making puzzle type toys where uniquely shaped pieces fit into matching openings cut into a wooden board. You could paint these with stencils and non-toxic paint or just leave them plain. You are only limited by your imagination. All of the toys mentioned so far can be made with a band saw, various sanders and hand tools. You will want to experiment with different woods to find what you like best, and do not forget you will need to sand every piece smooth since tender little hands will use them.

One of the secrets to successfully marketing your toys will be how you intend to package them. The easiest way will probably be to prepare a small 8 ½” by 5 ½” card on your printer that you can insert in your shrink-wrapped package. You will want to include on the card the fact the item is made in the U.S. from quality, safe, non-toxic materials.

Instead of focusing on the features, all marketing should show the buyer what benefits they will enjoy from owning your product. List all the benefits you can think of and rate them from most important to least. Take the most important and use these to plan your sales pitch. Some places you should try to sell your products are toy stores, bookstores, department stores, gift shops, local specialty stores, and even online at E-Bay or your own website. You should also include a card your buyers can return to receive word of other products you offer or will offer in the future.

Making and selling wooden toys can be an enjoyable way to exercise your woodworking skills and make some money at the same time. With so many toys being recalled because of safety and toxicity concerns, this could be the perfect way to live your dream of earning money from your favorite hobby.