Archive for the ‘Behind the Scenes’ Category

The Parent Reviews Are Coming In…

July 16, 2007

We’re very proud of our animals and we look for fun ways to spread the word about our educational toy collection. The Parent Bloggers Network has given us an opportunity to provide a great selection of Noah’s Pals to many wonderful bloggers. On Friday, the reviews started to come in and they will continue to run through Wednesday, July 25th.

Here’s the calendar:

July 13: Three Kid Circus & Suburban Oblivion

July 16: Ruthless in the Suburbs & Mom Reviews

July 17: Views From the Pants & Sarah’s Dandelions

July 18: Mother May I & Mid-Run Campaign

July 19: Mom to the Screaming Masses & Mama Maven Says

July 20: Kari’s Couch & Chaos Theory

July 23: Little Bird Reviews & Ebony Mommy

July 24: Builder Mama & The Fish Pond

July 25: Final Round Up

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Noah’s Pals and Philanthropy

March 5, 2007

When we decided to create the Noah’s Pals collection, we realized it was important for us to embrace conservation efforts to preserve the earth’s wildlife and ecosystems. Like Noah, we genuinely want to make a difference in animals’ lives.

To that end, we are donating 5% of our net profits to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). We encourage our collectors to learn more about the WCS, as well as other great organizations that are dedicated to animal education and conservation.

WCS is well-known for its hard work across the world. In fact, they have a presence in fifty-three nations across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America. Locally, they have a special place in our heart as New Yorkers. They run the great wildlife parks in the New York City area — Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo, and Prospect Park Zoo.

In future months, we will make a visit to a zoo or two and report on our adventures.

WCS Logo

Toy Fair – Day Four

February 14, 2007

The good weather has come to an end — if only the snow would have waited one more day!

While last days are known for being slow, we met many more toy store owners from different corners of the US, from Alaska to California to Louisiana. And we met some international buyers too from Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and even from New Zealand.

Toy Fair Day Four Snow

Toy Fair – Day Three

February 13, 2007

To better market Noah’s Pals at Toy Fair, we invested in a “showcase display” on the North Concourse of the Javits Center. We wanted to make sure that everyone would see our line of animal figures in case they somehow were not able to make it to our aisle. We heard from many people that the display gained a lot of attention. We hope that buyers noticed and that our competitors didn’t copy our unique ideas! (And if they do, it’s a great thing that Janet is an intellectual property attorney!)

Toy Fair Showcase Wide

Toy Fair Showcase Full

Toy Fair Showcase - Endangered and Vulnerable

Toy Fair Showcase - Common Pals

Toy Fair Showcase - Ark

Toy Fair – Day Two

February 12, 2007

It’s Monday and it somehow feels like Thursday!

We worked throughout last week to set up our booth and working all day on Sunday has rewired our internal calendars. The foot traffic was excellent again and we’ve received great feedback on the line.

“I love that they come in pairs!”

“You’re the only company that makes all of the animals to scale, right?” (“Right!”)

“They are adorable! They look so real!”

“The ID Cards are very cool. Smart idea.”

“Great website!”

Below are picturs of our 200 square foot home for four days — Booth 1633-O.

Toy Fair Booth Full

Toy Fair Cards + Pins

Toy Fair Booth Near

Toy Fair Booth Displays

Toy Fair Showcase Display Close-Up

Toy Fair – Day One

February 11, 2007

At last, after many months of development, it’s time for the formal debut of Noah’s Pals at Toy Fair!

The biggest toy trade show in the US brings lots of toy people together under one roof at New York City’s Javits Center. Aisles and aisles of action figures, dolls, games, puzzles, bicycles, puppets, plush and more compete for attention among the buyers. In this case, the buyers are not kids but adults — many of the top specialty toy store owners in the country and representatives from the bigger chains as well.

Day 1 of Toy Fair brought good weather. Last year everybody needed to fight their way through nearly 27 inches of snow. This year, we just had to fight through 27 degrees of cold. And the turnout was great. The buyers were lined up for the 10AM start and foot traffic was steady throughout the day.

Toy Fair 2007 Sign

Toy Fair 2007 Directory

Step 10: Launching the Business

February 10, 2007

After many months of getting our product ready, it quickly became time to get our business ready. We needed to begin the sales & marketing and let the many great retail establishments know all about Noah’s Pals and Caboodle! Toys. At the end of 2006, we sent initial samples to many great retailers to let them know that we want to be a part of their 2007 plans. We also created deals with wonderful sales representatives across the US so that they can introduce Noah’s Pals to their retail relationships.

But the biggest component of our launch is Toy Fair, which starts tomorrow. There are approximately 200 new exhibitors that come to Toy Fair every year. Some of those have been in the business for quite some time and have made the decision to include exhibiting as part of their marketing plan. Some of the other new manufacturers are exhibitors or service providers to the toy industry.

My back-of-the-envelope guess is that there are about 50 to 100 genuinely new companies that debut their toy products every year. We’re excited to be one of the new companies and we look forward to providing you with quick reports of our exhibiting adventures.

Step 9: Building the Website

February 9, 2007

An important part of Noah’s Pals is our website — www.noahspals.com. When we looked at the landscape of other toy sites, we noticed that most sites were uninformative and poorly designed. We decided that our website would support our product and broaden the experience for consumers. Most importantly, we want the animals to be the stars of the site. Each animal pair in Noah’s Pals has its own ‘profile page’ with information on its conversation status, habitat, home, and much, much more.

Building the site took a lot of our time. From the very start, we developed a ‘storyboard’ of the website to get a better sense of what we needed to do through all parts of our business. We then worked with a web designer to get an overall look for the site. We worked with other graphic designers to create the different illustrations and images located throughout the site. And then we worked closely with a web developer that put the coding and databases into place so we could launch the site in time.

While we are happy with the site, it is important to note that it is a work-in-progress. For example, we have a great Noah’s Ark game that you can access from our site — and we want to add more games soon. We also have a great coloring book that you can download, and we hope to add more content here too. We’ll add these features and more as we grow the business. Of course, we’d love to have your feedback on what’s good and what’s bad. Please contact us with your suggestions.

Step 8: Distributing the Goods

February 8, 2007

In getting our pairs of animals to consumers, there are two concerns.

The first is physically moving the products from our factory in China to the retailers’ shelves. And the second is convincing a retailer to find room on their shelves for Noah’s Pals.

To move the goods, we’re working with a well-known distribution firm that handles virtually all aspects of our supply chain. They bring containers to our factory, move the goods to the port, ship it across the ocean, and unload it in a warehouse to await delivery. We plan on doing the “pick and pack” of our products initially. Hopefully volume will grow and we will eventually have the size to hire a warehouse partner to tackle this service.

The biggest focus for us will be getting onto the shelves of retailers. Several months ago we provided a very early preview of our product to a handful of potential partners and we were pleased with the early feedback. The early preview allowed us to tweak our business model and will hopefully minimize potential issues in the future. (And there will be issues, we’re sure.)

In just three days we will debt Noah’s Pals at Toy Fair. The Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York will play host to 1,500 manufactures and 13,000 buyers. It’s a great venue for getting to know the retailers and showing our product. We feel that our toys will appeal to different types of retailers, including specialty toy stores, children’s boutiques, gift shops, and zoo stores. We’ve decided that collectors will not be able to purchase Noah’s Pals directly from us. We think our expertise should be on developing great toys. The retailers know how to merchandise product and we want to rely on our retailer partners to bring Noah’s Pals to you.

Step 7: Finalizing Production

February 7, 2007

With the sculpted and painted prototypes finished, the next step is to ensure that production meets our standards. We want each and every part of Noah’s Pals to be of high quality. We returned to China to oversee the initial manufacturing run.

Below is a picture of just five of the many handpainted Noah’s that are being manufactured:

Noah in Production