Opinions Abound...

[i]Personally, I think most yo-yo companies need to try and put together some kind of cohesive brand identity first, and THEN worry about promoting it.

Right now, Yo-Yo Factory is the only company that has one. Duncan’s is falling apart since they no longer employ anyone who knows anything about brand management and Yomega’s seems to have stopped somewhere around 2001. Russell’s brand has never existed, as they have always been a tool to further the branding of others.

As far as the other companies are concerned, they are too small to be of any concern or impact so it’s pretty irrelevant. They could sell all their yo-yos in brown paper bags with the name scrawled across it in black Sharpie and it wouldn’t matter. They have as much chance to claiming any kind of real brand identity with impact as I do of sprouting wings and flying to Singapore for noodles.

Duncan has one of the most elaborate websites in the industry, and doesn’t use it.

Yomega, whose tagline used to be “The Conscience of Quality In Toys” hasn’t made a quality yo-yo in years.

Yo-Yo Factory, who has the strongest brand identity, sent Ben to Worlds for a Golden Ticket Event where he spent 20 minutes talking about the previous years failed experiments, and then said “Here’s the new stuff!”

Everyone is making mistakes, large and small. The difference comes down to “who is moving units” and right now everyone seems to be short in that department. Smaller operations have less overhead to cover so fewer units can still net them a nice check, but ultimately my opinion is that everyone has failed the US market. In spades.

That’s not to say that nothing good is happening. Just that no one is anywhere near their potential at the moment. YYF seems to be biding their time. Duncan hasn’t got a clue. Yomega hasn’t had one in almost a decade.

Brand management is as much an art as it is a science. This industry is short on artists and scientists, and the handful of companies that have one are still missing the other.

People ask me, almost daily, why I don’t start my own yo-yo company.


No, I’m not sponsored by Yo-Yo Factory. They’re my friends. They hook me up with stuff, and I promote their stuff because I like it, I trust it, and they are the only company making yo-yos of a quality that I’m comfortable saying “Hey kids, buy these up!” Just because I am friends with Hans and Ben doesn’t mean I’m not critical of some of their choices. I also have zero say in how they run their company, and they take and leave my advice on their own whims. As I’m also not privy to the inner workings of their company, I’m only commenting with an outside perspective so my comments are taken with a grain of salt. They’re good folks, I like 'em , and I trust 'em. Doesn’t mean we agree on everything.

YoYo Jam is not a “major manufacturer”. I’m sure you really do like them a lot. That’s just keen. Doesn’t matter.

No, I’m not dogging on Duncan because I “hate them”. I don’t hate “them” because Duncan is a brand, not a “them”. I think Jason Sauey is a [edited] and he treats his employees like garbage. I have opinions on Jack Ringca that I prefer not to share. Mike Burke is just a guy at a desk, and Jeff Bush is only interested in numbers. I’m still good with the Crew. I’m highly disappointed in the downward spiral of the brand and product offerings, and disappointed in the waste of their tremendous resources. And the poor QC on the last few runs of FH Zeroes is personally offensive to me.

I realize that you enjoy the yo-yos made by CLYYW, SPYY, Frank Difeo, Anti-Yo, and others. They are tiny, tiny companies. They are irrelevant to this discussion.[/i]

-Steve Brown

The above, as you can see, are direct quotes from Steve Brown, written recently. I’ve made no changes to their content or context save the editing of questionable language.

I’m not sure why I want to discuss this, but I do. I invite you to join me.

Some of this is factual. Some of it is open to debate. Some of it could be interpreted as negative or inflammatory. Perhaps a well-veiled attempt at sending a wake-up call? I’m sure there’s some underlying history that I don’t have to fully understand or appreciate what’s being said and for what reasons, but I have my own take on it.

I’d like to hear yours, dear members.

Wow. That was a large read. Basically, what is he saying?

Comprehensively, it seems to be his own suggestions on successful marketing. I think the overall impression here is that the movers and shakers in the business are squandering their resources and/or failing to exercise good business sense.

As a sidenote, I’d love some input from those in the know as to why he feels this way?

I am definitely not “in the know” about these companies, but I did own a graphic design business for many years…saying that to say that I DO know enough about business to know that no matter about the quality that the product has to be available to move it. I have been involved with the yoyo community, with my sons, for a little less than a year now and have been amazed to visit no less than 4 web stores and see that about 80% of the listed items are SOLD OUT…for long periods of time. YYF 888’s obviously a top seller…nobody has one, YYJ Dark Magic, nobody has them…I don’t get it…the list is endless.
I understand some of what Steve is saying, but if you want to build brand image, you’d better have some product to put the “brand” on first.
I am sure I didn’t begin to answer any questions about Steve’s comments, but thanks for the opportunity to vent! LOL!

My two cents:

Technology has improved to the point where smaller companies are able to make good product. Take one engineer, one CNC machine and there you go. Look at a company like OneDrop. They make limited quantities and they have a loyal following. Same goes for many other companies. They stay small and the owners have fun. Steve said it himself, these small companies can make good money making much smaller quantities of product. A company like Duncan that struggles with quality control and doesn’t really have any innovation will lose customers.


Steve Brown is right, Jason Sauey to many current and former employees is an arrogant a$$. He and his upper management are totally inept. I was laid off with prolly 25-30% of their staff last year and I was a producer!! but didn’t have seniority oh well i got a better more $$ job so thanks flambeau.

They care nothing about their products and quality control is subpar all around. Hell the biggest lawnmower engine company pulled their business due to bad quality n service. check out wiki on duncan lol http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flambeau_Plastics

Steve, the good people at Flambeau know about you and feel the same. Everyone I knew including the few good VPs etc HATED Sauey, if not for my friends still there I’d love to see them go under.

If the topic is “who is putting together a cohesive brand,” then I don’t agree that the smaller companies like 1drop, CLYW, SPYY, etc. are too small to be concerned with. With every yoyo they make, more people seem are catching on that they’re very competent companies. I don’t get to try loads of yoyos, but I know the 1drops I’ve tried are awesome, and I always hear good things about the other “little companies.”

I’m not too knowledgeable in business and that sort of thing, but just with my untrained eye, I see a lot of these less-known companies really rising in the ranks. Everybody’s gotta start somewhere.

I could care less. I’m not all about the BIG BUSINESS side of things. I think if people enjoy the throw’s they are buying then who cares. More and more companies are popping up and they are making quality throws.

I’m not saying Steve is wrong, I’m just saying I don’t care.

My two cents are as follows: Yo-Yo’s are essentially a toy. Toys are business. We all buy into the business because, for us, yoyoing has turned into much more than just toys to pass time with. I’m guessing that companies are hoping a huge explosion along the lines that skateboarding experienced is in the near future. But missing what fans want in their given product offerings is a sure way to self destruct your company.

Ill give a one cent: I dont think Duncan will ever go under (which isn’t that bad :-X) because they will always sucker some little kid into a butterfly or imperial, same with yomega in some cases with a brain and such…YYF is awesome for we who know the art of the throw… BUT i think somebody needs to get the word out there again about yoyos… some money and a TV spot of some sick tricks on a cheap plastic yoyo would get anyone to buy one (fast 201 :P) then after that they can unleash some new idea to bring some major cash into their pockets ::)… That was off topic but thats what I think… I dunno it all comes down to whether or not they are using all of heir recources, which i dont think anyone really is at this time…

ok, these are my opinions

-bigger companies (yyj, yyf, duncan) are not using their recources very well (although yyf isn’t that bad)
-smaller companies (in general) are listening to their consumers and serving up what they want
-big business needs a new idea or else they might find themselves in trouble soon

As long as it isn’t square yoyos…

Somebody’s already done that. Can’t remember who. I tried to find it but I’m too lazy to look hard.

oh wow 0.o you always seem to catch me offguard samad

This is what I think
Yoyofactory is by far the biggest moniger in the buisiness (cant seem to spell it right) and that is for a reason, i think that they mostly make quality yoyos except for the some of the recent plastics *cough die *coughin nasty *cough which is due to the fact that they are made in bigger cheaper quantities, anyway if they make something good then the word will get out through reviews/ hype/ promos and ill usually get one. they dont need to do much advertisement either because heck 3 people on their team won nationals. when i first joined i wanted to have the best yoyo so i looked at what was being used by people that had big titles under their belt (i was looking at andre at the time(legacy) and that alone was enough marketing for them also their stuff is being pumped out by the bucket loads and is constantly out of stock (well normally) so i think that they might not want to do any more advertising because they need to use that money to make their new yoyos that are out of stock. so YYf needs no advertising
YYJ on the other hand should do more advertising (comon hats) becasue YYf suits the middle and high class of us but for the begginers it is nice to have a durable easily moddable begginewr throw for a cheap price.

Sorry if that was too much of a rant
and now that i read over it, it doesnt make much sense
anyway if you need more of a… translation to what i said let me know


well “high end” square yoyos etc. Or like idk triangles polyhexagons… Limetless possibilities but no real “persuasive” breakthrough in the past few years in yoyoing in general…

Well the technology and yoyos are at an even keel. Breakthroughs will be few and far between.

then I picked a bad time to start…

You’re being ignorant though. Its not like revolutionary yoyo breakthroughs pop into peoples’ heads every other day. It takes time. Saying you picked a bad time to start is really unintelligent to say, and if you think that the industry needs a breakthrough, why don’t you make one?

Also, in case you haven’t been on the computer in the past few months, we have seen YoYoFactory being the leading innovators in the industry, so before assuming the entire yoyo scene sucks, appreciate what you have. Try going back to 2001, with responsive play, low end yoyos, less innovation in tricks, etc, and say that there.

my opinion: I think that it is the yoyoer’s job to promote yoyoing.What
I mean is that we yoyo at school and impress people publicly,wich means at least 20% of the people you impress will eventually want to start.I’ve gotten 4 people to start yoyoing and they love it.they’re going to get good yoyos for christmas because thats what they asked for.Therefore I promoted yoyo factory’s,yoyo jam,ect’s products.Now i’m not saying they shouldn’t use their resources but it wouldent hurt to save their money for the products.Even though it would be nice to do a televised comercial and put their products in stores.That way I wont have to go on the internet to get my throws.theres my 0.02$. peace out! yo-bear.

Duncan does need to step up the QC the are close to last in the yoyo companies, the were the First yoyo company and the shold have some of the best throws, but they are being past up by smaller companies that just started production in the last coupel of years, that have better QC.
There is my 2 cents.