*To start, I’m illiterate when it comes to forums, so I don’t know if this post will work.
I’ll be heading to college soon. Which means that I’m running out of time to try out some new things. Recently I’ve began to realize that–very surprisingly–college is expensive. So I thought I could use this opportunity to both try something new and maybe get some funds to lessen the burden of tuition.
Enter the idea of starting a yoyo company.
Before this idea becomes dangerously parasitic, I’d like to know whether or not it’s a plausible, sensical, thing to do. I’m not expecting to earn a full tuition’s worth in profit, but maybe even just a few grand? Can I do it, or should I look elsewhere? Are there any people out there willing to help me out if I do decide to go for it? I don’t have fully developed plans yet, I just want to make sure it’s worth the effort first.
Look elsewhere. The startup costs and knowledge needed will be relatively extensive. The money may or may not come. It would take time before any significant amount could be made if it was made at all.
There are people here to help. If you want to make a long term hobby out of this, go for it! But relatively quick cash? Skip it.
Use that start up money for smart investments instead, or even just simply save it.
It’s a good idea if you’ve already got a mill or a lathe, but if you don’t, it gets to be expensive. Then start-ups are rough and materials are expensive so maybe not the best thing to do in college unless you’re crazy good with a lathe and have access to a lot of wood or have a mill and for some reason have long cylinders of aluminum sitting around. Fun idea though, don’t let the dream die!
I wouldn’t do it for the money. The market is pretty flooded right now, getting a successful design and product out would be very difficult for a new startup company, especially if you don’t have extensive knowledge and understanding of what makes a good yoyo and how to get there. Even if you get a great design out, getting a following that will give you any significant profit is a hurdle very few startups pass
Starting a company for fun? Good idea. It wouldn’t be a problem if you wanted your own yoyo, so you have a few extras machined so you break even. That’s what I did. I wanted a metal version of the Freehand Zero, one that I envisioned in my head. I felt the Freehand Al wasn’t close enough in design, in that it was given a large bearing. The Freehand MG was the closest, but it still wasn’t enough. I just had someone do the CAD for me, since I do not have the time or the resources to do it myself. The result? I ended up putting in around $800 to have around 20 machined. And the only “profit” I will be making will be that I have a couple of these to play around with. This was a big eye opener in the costs. I was able to sell enough to break even, but if I were to try and sell for profit, I do not think I would have been able to. Why? Because even if I have a notable reputation in the community, I do not have a reputation, positive or negative, in starting/running a company. The only reason I was even able to sell enough to break even was because I have a few friends that trusted me enough to pledge to buy one. Nowadays, the only companies that are really able to profit are the ones who put a lot in, more than a few grand, and come up with something extremely innovative, or the ones that have been around long enough to to build enough of a sturdy fanbase/reputation that allows them to sell for profit, because they know their throws will sell. So if you wish to start a company because you have an image in your head of what you want in a yoyo, go for it! If you wish to start one for profit, while I will not discourage you from doing so, I think your time and money could be better invested in other things. Just keep in mind though, that your ideal yoyo may not be the ideal yoyo for the public, and extreme designs may sometimes sell well, but most of the time, they do not. And if you do have something done with the intent of selling, make sure you have enough machined that you are able to sell at a cost that appeals to people. One last thing, identify which the crowd you are attempting to sell to. In the case of the metal FHZ I had made, I was appealing to a much older audience, the people who were around when the FHZ was the most popular plastic on the market. I was appealing to a sense of nostalgia in those people. Knowing what the consumer wants in a yoyo will greatly help you sell your product.
Your post is basically a step-by-step explanation why people shouldn’t start businesses.
You lack a vision for the business, knowledge of what is needed to start it, you are already planning to trade on the kindness of others instead of researching any of this yourself, and your primary motive is profit.
Look elsewhere to make some money. This idea isn’t going to pan out well for you.
If you missed this point, then I’ll mention it again-- my primary motive is not money. It’s my last year in high school and I’ve come to realize that I never got to do anything that truly appealed to me. I found the idea of producing yoyos as a way for me to kill two birds with one stone: do something that interests me and try and earn some money to pay off tuition. While it is true that I haven’t planned anything long term yet, this is because it was a mere spark of an idea. I have access to a lathe, and a mill, and people who understand the machines better than I do. I have general ideas as well as some materials (not full cylinders of aluminum like another poster mentioned, but accessible material). With what I have, I was simply curious to see if going off on this venture was worth the risk and time. Perhaps it’s my fault if I presented myself in a poor way, but I would prefer you not put me in such a condescending light.
If you have the materials and time at hand, go for it! Even if it doesn’t pan out, it will be a great learning experience I made 3 yoyos, none of them turned out great (or decent, they look pretty to me though ), but the lessons learned were great and it made me appreciate the time and effort all of our great manufacturers put into their products.
Can confirm how true this is. I barely have enough time now to sleep, let alone socialize with friends or start up a yoyo company. Between a part time job and college, my schedule is completely packed.
I’m not being condescending, I’m saying that based on what I know about running a yoyo business (spoiler: lots) and based on what you’ve said here so far, this doesn’t sound like a good idea.
The people who succeed in this industry generally do it one of two ways: they have a distinct and singular vision and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve that vision, or they are willing to rip off anyone and everyone and race to the bottom. In the middle are a lot of people who are kinda “meh” and aren’t really contributing much and are making small runs that more or less break even. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, based on what you’ve posted so far you’re best case scenario is to land somewhere in the middle.
It’s 10x as much work as you think, the scrap rate averages out to be around 25% per run (assuming you get lucky and an anodizer doesn’t destroy the entire run), and no matter how much you know about making a yoyo if you don’t market it right it’s going to sit on shelves forever.
If you wholesale it, you’re eliminating most of your profit, so your best option is to sell direct. So now you need to spend months building a brand identity, creating a website and online store, creating a social media presence, generating brand-specific content, gaining a following, building awareness, just so that you can release what? 100 yoyos? By this point you’re in the hole for 6 months of your time and thousands of dollars.
This isn’t taking into account any of the other things that you need to be dealing with in your life: family, friends, school, etc.
If you sell half your run, you’ve now made a slim profit that, when you amortize out the man-hours you’ve put into it, puts you somewhere around $2/hr at best.
So if you want to start a yoyo company because you’ve always wanted to start a yoyo company and you have this idea that is just eating you alive inside and you have to get it out into the world for the pure satisfaction of making it happen? Do it up.
If you want to start a yoyo company because it seems like a nifty way to make a couple grand and you’re pretty sure that people are gonna spend their time helping you figure it out, you are wasting your time.
I agree. I have met many manufacturers that will allow you to bend their ear and ask all the questions you would like. Remember, it isn’t “depending on the kindness of others” when you are asking for advice from the experts that are willing to give it. That is called research… at least that is what I tell my students.
^ This sums up how I feel about this topic the most. I usually tell people to go ahead and do what they want to do when it comes to making yo-yos, after all, I like to buy them when they turn out good, so this could work for both of us.
But, if you’re a college student who finds tuition costs a burden, I wouldn’t recommend you invest funds you don’t even have into a yo-yo company, when you’re hoping to turn a profit. You’re more likely to end up in the hole than turn a profit to use for college. If you just had some money to burn, I’d tell you to go for it, and keep burning it if you have it to burn.
I agree that there are better ways to make money for college, that cost you no financial investment upfront. Sit on the idea, and try it in a different phase of life, when college is over. I promise, if it comes out half decent, and doesn’t wobble, I’ll buy one then.