How I Became A Millionaire Selling Toys – True Story
I started manufacturing and selling toys in 1990. This is how it happened; I heard from a friend, completely by chance, about this new incredible toy that is selling so well in flea markets. A small, simple plastic toy; a triangle base with 6 holes, and 6 magnetic marbles that the player needs to put on the 6 holes, one by one. Seems so simple and so boring; but this game had a huge “irritating” factor, once you try it, and cannot do it, you just want to keep on trying, and you end up buying the toy.
I was able to locate the supplier of the toy, which I later named “Tricky Triangle” and I purchased a test run of 3000 units, which I brought in by air.
I sent 3 of my best friends to 3 different local markets, each with 1000 tricky triangles magnetic puzzles, and of course, my tel no. was on each toy with a little label.
Well, by the end of the day, the 3000 toys were sold, and I had 20 people calling me begging me to buy them wholesale so they can go to the markets and retail them.
This was the first toy I ever sold, having no distribution network, (No internet at that time), no experience, and yes, believe it or not, out of nowhere, I sold one million tricky triangles.
I am still annoyed with myself for not adding just $0.25 to the wholesale price of the toys, that would have given me an additional quarter of a million dollars!
Well, this was the beginning of my career in toys, and this is when I realized something really important:
In a toys market flooded with big companies and big names, the ONLY way a new small guy like me can make space for himself in the market, is by having a niche market, and my niche market was; demonstration products.
sure the big companies could import and distribute any toy I am selling, but when you take a toy and put it on a store shelve, well, who knows what this toy can do?
If the toy is demonstrated, I knew I can sell 100 toys for every single toy sold retail with no demonstration.
So, from that moment onward I focused on toys that require demonstration, and I became an importer, wholesaler and distributor almost immediately, as the tricky triangles helped me establish a network of demonstrators worldwide, that were just waiting to hear from me about the next hot best selling toy; based on the success of the tricky triangles, they would jump on any toy and in fact any product that I said was hot and a best seller.
The key point here is that I discovered a way to sell large amounts of toys via a network of demonstration sellers that would go to shopping malls, trade fairs and state fairs, and retail the toys.
Moving forward, all I had to do is travel regularly to the night markets in Taiwan, where each night market has several people selling toys by way of demonstration, as well as the Hong Kong night market, and other markets around the world.
Of course, I also attended the big toy shows like the Canton fair in Guangzhou and the Hong Kong Toy fair.
But when you see a toy in show, it is harder to know which toys will be big sellers when demonstrated, when you go to a night market, you actually see someone selling the toy by way of demonstration, and you can see right away which toys are the good ones.
As my toys continued to be successful, and each one of them became a big hit, my network was growing, I had more and more toy vendors waiting to hear from me which is the next big toy, and at the same time, I started visiting China toy factories more and more. I learned to speak fluent Mandarin, which made it relatively easy to do business in China, as I was able to deal with toy factories directly, instead of having to go through trading companies.
I say relatively easy, because in China you have local languages that are very different from the standard Mandarin, and they are impossible to understand.
China’s main toys manufacturing hub is in Chenghai, a sub city of Shantou, in Guangdong province.
The local dialect in Chenghai Shantou is Chaoshanese and unless you are local, you will not understand a word, even if you have lived in China your whole life. So Mandarin does not help that much in this region, you go to the factory to discuss buying toys, they will talk the local dialect and you will understand nothing. They are, in fact, very rude in this regard.
As time progressed the toy industry has evolved from simple plastic toys, like beach toys, outdoor toys and summer toys, and the toys became more and more sophisticated as well as exciting; at this point the era of the remote control toys has began.
Controlling a toy from a distance is fun and exciting. Radio control toys became very popular and best sellers; remote control airplanes, radio control helicopters, rc boats and submarines, as well as rc cars, rc trucks and rc monster trucks
At a certain point, around 2005, the radio control toys evolved even further, and have become….drones.
All the toy factories based in Chenghai Shantou had to do, is attache a camera onto remote control helicopters that were already in production, and now these rc helicopters have become…drones.
Drones, also known as quadcopters and multi rotors, became the hottest best selling category of toys for many years, although recently the sales of drones seem to have cooled down a little, which is really good news for all the factories that are making the more classic remote control toys: mini rc cars, rc robots, radio control stunt toys and the likes.
Another category of toys that has always been very strong, and always enjoyed really good sales providing demonstrated, are battery operated toys. B/O toys are fantastic, because no active demonstration is required, you just turn the power switch on, and the toy will start doing its thing, unusually a puzzle vehicle where the car runs around the puzzle continuously, or maybe a little monkey the flip flops and performs stunts. Actually the battery operated monkey was a best selling toy for many years.
I would like to give you one example of an all time best selling battery operated toy, it is called Puzzle Vehicle toy. Just set it up on the table, and have the little car roll all day long in the tracks, and enjoy as people will be buying non stop, with you doing almost…nothing.
Coming back to YOU and how YOU can make money, the idea is simple; same idea as 30 years ago. You cannot compete with Amazon, Aliexpress and the likes. Not possible. But…No ONE can compete with YOU on demonstration sales. All you need to do is focus on finding toys that are easy to demonstrate and easy to sell at good profits, and you will make money. It seems to be the only way smaller people can compete with the large companies.
If you want to buy cheap wholesale toys and sell at great profits making good money, follow these simple steps:
- Find a good toys wholesale supplier based in Chenghai, Shantou area. The Chenghai Shantou area is the main toys manufacturing hub in China, there is little point trying to find wholesalers and suppliers in other regions. Establish a relationship with your supplier, and let him know you are searching for good demonstration toys.
- Do your home work on…YouTube. The toys that are most exciting when demonstrated will usually have a video on YouTube. If a toy, any toy, is not so exciting when it performs its function, well, it will not have a video. Once you identify an exciting toy….the next move is a quick email to your supplier in Chenghai, Shantou area.
Shipping is huge, a mistake here will kill your business
The cost of shipping is very high, so you must focus on small toys that are also light weight. The smaller and lighter a toy is, the cheaper it will be to ship it. Not only from China to you, but also in your local country, shipping to other cities, your cost will be sharply reduced if the toys are small and light.
Quality Of Toys
There used to be a time, many years ago, when the quality was a big issue. Imagine the frustration when buying a 40 foot high cube container full of toys, paying in full, then paying for shipping, duties and customs, then paying to deliver to your warehouse, paying workers to unload the container, and by now you are out of very significant amounts of money, just to discover that the toys are nice, the packaging are nice, the batteries are good, but something wrong with the remote control unit…non of the toys are functioning properly. Or everything is working well, but the chargers you receive are for 110V, and your country uses 120V.
Well, believe it or not, quality issues with toys production still exist, although less than before.
One of the all time best selling toys, a simple set of plastic building blocks, is so easy to make, but…if just one mold is damaged, you will receive a full container of building blocks that do not fit properly with each other.
The toy factories today, most of them based in Shantou Chenghai area, have come a long way, and as a general rule have good quality control systems in place. But as long as we money is involved, corners will be cut. If a Chinese factory discovers that the batteries are no good, they will delay production and wait for new batteries. But if they make this discovery AFTER the container has already been produced, well, they will ship you the container with bad batteries, and after you receive the container and your business is suffering huge loses, they will say “sorry, we will improve this next order.’
As remote control toys get more and more sophisticated, more things can go wrong: batteries, remote control units, motors, packaging, anything can go wrong. Toy factories in Chenghai Shantou area have their own QC, and usually will check the toys one by one, but it is also a good idea to have a really good trading company working for you: the trading companies and toy exporters will have their own quality control inspectors, which also inspect the toys carefully, and provide an extra layer of security.
But understand that the factory and your supplier are partners; they will not break up their relationship over your order. So if you order a container of toys and some quality problems appear, the supplier and factory will work out a deal that is satisfactory to THEM, in order to make sure THEY remain good friends. The toy supplier wants to maintain a good relationship with the factory so they can continue buying from the factory, and the factory in turn wants the trading company to continue buying from them, so under these circumstances, you, as a buyer in bulk that just wired thousands of dollars into their bank account, you and the quality of your toys is not the highest priority….
Delivery date of the toys
Timing is everything. You order 3 containers of the best hot selling remote control toys, with an assortment of rc boats, rc cars and rc helicopters, and your 3 containers are shipped late due to the factory is very busy, and you receive your 3 containers…in January. How would you like that…???
So plan ahead carefully. Make sure there is plenty of time for production and shipping. And above all, do NOT argue about the price. Accept the price offered by your toy supplier. If you argue about the price and try to reduce the price….don’t be surprised if they first produce other orders, for the customers that agree to pay a little more, and the really “smart” buyers like you, will get the toys late, too late…
All Time Best Selling Mini Stunt Car
I had many favorite toys over the years, but the toys I liked the most and the toys that were selling the best were remote control stunt toys.
A toy performing stunts is exciting, and excitement is…money. When the toy is exciting, people buy it.
One of my all time rc stunt toys, is in fact a mini remote control car that goes by the name of turbo twister mini rc stunt car.
This mini remote control car performs incredible stunts and amazing acrobatics, and some models come with music and lights as well. The small turbo twister is one of the best possible demo toys you will ever find, because in addition to being such a good seller, it is also small and light, easy and cheap to ship, and the actual cost of the toy is low, with a very small chance for quality problems.
Conclusion, How To Make Money With Toys:
Don’t get too excited when I say I became a millionaire selling toys. While it is perfectly true, being a millionaire today is nothing.
In Chenghai Toy City, the global manufacturing hub for toys and mainly remote control toys, almost every person is a millionaire. Even the people you see riding a bicycle, yes, they are millionaires too, as every person living in Chenghai is making a lot of money selling toys.
Focus on Chenghai. Forget about Yiwu where you have a collection of low level low quality plastic toys, and forget about Guangzhou, which is a manufacturing hub for assorted consumer products, but not a special area for toys.
RC boats, Drones, Remote Control helicopters, assorted rc stunt toys, and any other kind of toy that has batteries, a motor, a remote control unit and a charger, is best sourced in Chenghai.
Naturally, toy wholesalers and suppliers based in Shantou, (Chenghai area), will be very familiar with the hottest and best selling toys, and all you need is one really good supplier to be successful in buying toys in bulk, in China, and selling in your own country, with high profits.
Buy China Toys In Yiwu, Shenzhen, Guangzhou or Chenghai (Shantou)?
Trust me my friends, all the action is in Chenghai, which is a 20 minute drive from Shantou. Say good bye to Yiwu, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and say a big hello to Chenghai. China Shantou Chenghai toy factories and manufacturing hub are the absolute best place to buy toys in bulk, pay low wholesale prices, and deal with very professional toy exporters and trading companies that will take really good care of you.