“Somewhat to our surprise, it turns out that there is quite a niche market for farting dolls, and it is quite lucrative.” So wrote the Honorable Diane P. Wood, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the case of JCW Investments, Inc. d/b/a Tekky Toys v. Novelty, Inc.
To paraphrase [and misquote] the late Hunter S. Thompson,
“The toy business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.”
So said the young Chinese toy entrepreneur, as my business partner, Jamie, and I stood in the cramped and crowded showroom of New York’s Toy Building during Toy Week – hustling and jiving to get our latest toys in front of the parade of jaded buyers.
Spencer’s Gifts, KayBee Toys, Toys R Us, Kmart, Sears – this wholesaler and that small retailer – all looking for the next ‘big’ thing in toys and novelties.
And here we stood – a bunch of dreamers and crackpots, schemers and artists – trying to get our big ideas from little companies noticed, a deal made, a fortune awaits.
“This business is filled with hobbyists,” our entrepreneur friend remarked, “there are very few barriers to entry. You have an idea, a few thousand dollars and a dream to sell your product and make a fortune… The only ‘real’ business people are the sharks, who troll the toy building, the factories and the internet, looking for the next big thing to STEAL and make their own.”
“You don’t need to be an engineer; to invest thousands or millions of dollars, or spend years in R&D to come up with a Pet Rock, the milk bottle cap game or, for that matter, a doll that farts… You just have to ‘do it’ and hope you don’t get ripped off by the sharks before you’ve had a chance to make some money for yourself…”
To Be Continued…