starting my own yo-yo company(or builing your own yo-yo)


#1

I’m thinking of starting to make yo-yos, i have the all of the designs and measurements for them. I just need a way to make them, I would like that cost effective(cheap so people can buy them) but i dont want to skimp out on quality. ive got so many different ideas and shapes. if someone would be interested please reply to this post and buddy me. ive got them painting idea, i have them created on a 3d design program(now i got the program free from emachineshop, but they wand 367$ for the 2 halfs), so all i need is for them to be CNCed then i will have atleast a proto-type. I’d really like someone’s responce(opinion or help) on this. I know what im doing, i just need resourses. any help would be great.


(Q) #2

If you have to ask a yoyo forum for advice on making your own yoyo company, just don’t.


#3

Most any shop you go to will charge you that much or more for a one off prototype. The price break comes when you get into producing in large quantities.


#4

im asking the forum cuz id like do know this question. Are you interested?

ill try ordering in larger quantities


#5

You’re not going to want to make large quantities until you’re done making and testing prototypes, which will be expensive as they will be either 1-offs or very small runs(often 5 or less). That has to be factored in to the final bottom line that will involve the larger run. I recently read a big post on another site about the history of the CLYW Peak, and you want to avoid dealing with the companies that can make these choosing to make changes do your design for whatever reason, especially once you’re out of the prototype stage.

Not to talk business, but you need to turn a profit to make this worth your time. Between your R&D, design, prototypes and testing, you’ve still got your large runs AND shipping. All those will determine your for sale price. I don’t mean to suggest the profit needs to be massive, but let’s just say you manage to at least come out slightly ahead enough to justify doing your second run or other designs. Don’t forget that you have to eat the costs up front(you pay and hold inventory until it sells). Then, are you aware of the retail chain route?(such as selling through YYE) They have to buy at a price where they can make money on it a well.

This is why you see an MSRP price(what it SHOULD sell for), the street/list/retail price(what we consumers pay) and the wholesale price(what a retailer will pay) and the price per unit(what it costs you to have them made). I doubt with yoyos there is a Tier1/Tier2… type structure. Like for example, as a data comm reseller, I buy from either Tier 1(gets it from the manufacturer, say, Cisco for example) or a Tier 2(buys from a Tier 1) before I mark it up and sell to customers. Each involves a stage of mark-up. A couple of brands I buy direct from the manufacturer, which I in turn sell to customers, which is most likely how the yoyo community works.

For example, YYJ shows one price on their web site for direct sales. YYE shows a lower price on their web site for what they will sell to us for the same model. That means that YYE is paying LESS than that for the same item in order to turn a profit of some sorts. What that number is, I am not concerned with as I feel that the price YYE charges for what I end up receiving feels like a fair price.

So, I’m not going to say “don’t”, but I am going to say that you better have some money behind you before you start. If you’re getting a bank loan, remember, those monthly payments HAVE to be made on time, and what will your collateral be as I don’t think any bank is willing to make an unsecured loan right now. Now, if you have them made, you have to ensure that your price does a little bit more than break even. If you want to sell them all through direct sales, that’s fine, you can make more profit as you can do the full MSRP price or match street, which should give you a nice profit. But, if you’re going through retailers, they want “cheap” in their costs to them(within reasonable expectations) so they can turn a profit. So, you want your wholesale price to still be at a break where you’re going to make your money back. Don’t forget, the price of something is worth more than the sum of the elements that went into it. Just to remind you, you have to recover the costs of your prototypes, testing, overhead and general costs of doing business. Some of these costs may be very minimal to almost non-existant. You’re also going to need to give some away, most likely to either “name” players, or to retailers to evaluate the product or to review sites such as yoyoskills.com. You can place conditions on that give-away requiring it to be returned within X-amount of days or it is considered a sale and needs to be paid for(this isn’t unusual).

Now, I’m stepping out on a limb here, and I don’t know what people do in their own time(assuming they have any), but I’m sure the folks who run YYE are all avid yoyo, spin top and skill toy enthusiasts of various skill levels. I’m willing to bet they try every single model that comes through the doors to determine if this is an item worth carrying and selling, as well as will it sell and how to market/describe it. For example, I notice YYE does not carry the Duncan Imperial or the Butterfly, most likely because these are common to get, easy to come by and sold through big box retailers all over the globe. Plus, the costs is so inexpensive, there’s probably little room for mark-up. Good, fun and inexpensive, but most likely not worth the headache of carrying them. Also, YYE doesn’t carry every single brand, which is most likely not a case of “we don’t like this brand or that brand” but more a case of “we can’t possibly carry all brands, but we will carry a sizable selection of brands to choose from”, knowing full well the risks that go with those sorts of business decisions. For example if I want a certain make and model of yoyo, and YYE doesn’t carry it, well, I’d have to go to another store to buy it. That’s business.

You’ve also got to look at the fact that if you do this, you’re a NEW brand in the big scheme of things, and as such, you’ve got no reputation, so retailers might be hesitant to pick up your product line, even if it turns out to be great, you’ve got to have a few places rave on about your product.

Also, you’ve got to be prepared for the possibility that you might lose it all on this project. So, be prepared for complete failure and total loss. Hopefully that doesn’t happen, but you have to plan for it.

Personally, I like everything I throw so far. I support the community how I can, mostly by TRYING(but not always) to be helpful. I have paid for a customized FHZ through a known modder. I am having a custom modification done to a yoyo through another known modder, as well as a purchase of an Agape. I do most of my purchases via the online stores, mostly YYE. I like small businesses. Who knows, if the price is right and I like how the yoyo looks, maybe I’ll buy one from you.

Big risk. If you can afford it, maybe it’s time to step up. Form an LLC or corporation, get your stuff organized and start making contacts with machine shops(or those that can do your machining) or plastics companies(if you’re going that route) and start talking to people. It costs money to make money.


#6

to Studio42:

I thank you so much for all of that information. it truly is helpful, i was hoping to find information like this. I was thinking about all this on my own, but was wanting someone to solidify my thoughts. I still think its worth the risk. If indeed i do fail, i still will have my products to show memories for my failure(even though that could be taken as bad, i could take it as motivation) and I thought of doing this for fun and just had a friend who said you should spread your love to other people so i thought about it more and more until it led to this. and you know i feel kind of dumb(or blindsided by thinking that wow, this would be easy and id instantly get it just because i’ve done my math) but I still want to take this risk just because if it does pay off then i can say i would be proud in doing what ive wanted to do. it will be a bumpy road, but ill meet several people along the way and i think thats what its all about(meeting people, havin fun, and the pursuit of happiness), right?


#7

I’m assuming because of the high price of machining that you are designing full metals. One option you may have is to make a prototype in plastic. If you have already worked up the schematics in a CAD program it would be a lot cheaper to send that file to a plastics company and have a plastic prototype built in an injection mold. You are still talking some serious loot though. I agree with studio on this, you would have to take a giant risk and expect little to no return initially.


#8

Sure. I can see where you’re going.

I feel the same way about multiple things. I do live sound and with lighting, camera gear and of course audio equipment, I have close to a million dollars tied into what I do. Top of the line gear. I GIVE away services to some organizations because I’d rather haul the gear out for free and do what I love to do for the benefit of others to enjoy. Of course, I also charge others for this too, not everyone can get it for free. Then again, most of the others around me have to rent gear(the other small guys), which means they lack consistency and the ability to ensure certain gear is available, and as a result of rental fees, they MUST charge more to do less than what I can do. I can afford to do it for free because I own the gear flat out.

Similarly, with yoyo, this simple toy is amazing. I am collecting and learning right now and want to spread the fun. I’m trying to develop a 1-hour program for exposure to yoyo in schools. I know I won’t turn masses to the yoyo, but I can at least show kids something else that can get them off the couch and away from the video games and computers for a bit. For indoor kids for whom sports isn’t a good fit, this is a viable option for many other kids.

There are plenty of yoyo companies out there. There are also lots of different models, shapes and designs out there as a result. Is there room for more? Well, that’s a hard question to answer. If the existing brands are coming up with NEW stuff, well, then apparently there is room in the market for new yoyos, which means in turn there is room for a new brand. It’s just hard for any new brand to really establish itself quickly. It can happen, it’s just unlikely. But there are small brands out there. IKYO with their Agape is one such brand that I know of because I’ve purchased one and yet to receive it, but since he’s doing mods to another yoyo right now of mine, I’ll wait for them both to come back at once. Double Take Industries is a small brand YYE carrie, and their model “Beast” looks like something I’d be interested in owning.

It appears that metal is the material of choice for small companies. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion. Molds are expensive for plastic yoyos, but spread out over runs in the thousands(maybe tens of thousands), the costs are justified. With metals, if they are machined rather than cast, it’s a matter of CAD type work, proper programming and you can get hard numbers from the machine shops where you have them made. Often, larger shops can have better price breaks because they buy stuff in larger quantities. Don’t limit yourself to just machine shops, but it might be your best way to go. Many custom vehicle shops also have the capabilities and might be looking for outside projects to help close the gaps in the inflow of money into their establishment and may be willing to think outside the box of what they traditionally do.

Your next steps are important. You’ve got to approach a shop to see what it’s going to cost to do a prototype or two(or 10), plus costs for runs at various numbers. You may want to have them advise you on numbers in order to get the prices more accurate. They may say “well, between this and that, it’s gonna run you X, and if you do these(higher) numbers, its Y(often less than X)” . The prices typically get smaller per unit as the number of units increases, but not always. Sometimes it’s “this is what we can do per unit, for as many units as you want”. Now you have some real numbers to work with.

Then the step after this is the buzzkill portion because it sounds negative, but it isn’t. I’d talk to a business consultant to help you get yourself organized and make you develop good business habits. You may want to either hire or learn bookkeeping and/or accounting and/or take some classes on QuickBooks Pro or BusinessWorks or maybe even PeachTree. Yes, these are cost items, but it should be seen as an investment in you for your future. You may also wish to consult with a business attorney, who will be able to advise you as to how you should structure your business. There are also recurring fees that may apply, such as taxes for certain types of business entities. You can start as a sole proprietorship, but you’ll be taken far more seriously as an LLC or corporation. Also, you might want to do a DBA(fictitious business name: Doing Business As, hence DBA) and the publishing of that. This is a small cost. You also are going to want to learn marketing and proper ways to find ways to make solicited presentations of your product to various companies as well as how to approach the various resellers of yoyos to carry your brand. Web marketing, product brochures, setting up a product table at local events and yoyo events to spread the word. Don’t forget a cool product demonstration video, a product demonstrator(which could star you), banners and other stuff.

The other buzzkill is that yoyo is very niche, which means that the way I see it, the market is very small, with the appeal being larger than those who actually buy in. LOTS of people enjoy seeing yoyo performances, but how many want to actually buy in and take the time? There’s a big gap there. So any business adviser is going to want to try to talk you out of this, and it would be irresponsible of them to fail to try that tactic. The logic is better to fail and bail NOW before you get in debt and trouble up to your eyeballs.(I was going to say something else but kids read here) Knowing and understanding that, banks will see you as high risk and not want to loan you money. These are just “barriers to entry”. It won’t stop you, but you have to find ways to break through them.

There’s NOTHING wrong with running this out of a spare bedroom, a laptop and boxes of merchandise in your garage, provided you’re organized and keeping on top of things.

Regarding your “memories”: Memories should be cheap or free. Personally speaking, I rarely want to see people fail. I don’t want to see you fail. If the fear of failure is what drives you, then great. If spreading the love motivates you, then all the better. But, run the business as a business. It doesn’t have to be cold and clinical, you just need to do certain things to properly function as a business, and you’ll figure out how to weave that in.

I love what I do, and hence, I don’t think as a result I’ve ever “worked” a day in my life. Oh, sure, I’ve “worked” until I’ve dropped, but when you’re enjoying what you do, you don’t mind it. But, unlike what you’re planning, which is delivering tangible product to a market, I am these days only offering services.

If you’re determined to do this, then get to it! Just be smart about it. I wish you success. In the event you do fail, I just want you to have a plan for that as well so you won’t be drowning in financial chaos and crisis as a result of this not working out.

Please note, I don’t relate to well to CAD drawings. I’m a visual kind of person but I relate best to tangible items. So, if I like what I see and anything I said was even remotely useful, you are obligated to sell me one of your yoyos at a good price! And if you’re using serial numbers, I want serial number 42 for obvious reasons, and then a <10 serial number(9 would be good) for saying “I got one of the first ones”! And yes, I WILL pay for it.


#9

Regarding prototyping:

One of the key issues is weight. This means that the prototypes ideally should be done in the target material.

If you’re just after shape, I’m sure some of these CNC machines and 5-axis machines can use tools designed for wood rather than metal to save on material costs for prototyping, but of course with wood being a more volatile material(more prone to damage) it may be difficult to get a perfect prototype but at least get something representative.

Clay is an option, but again, ceramics would only be good for a representational prototype but could be used to make your mother mold for plastics. I think. The problem with a prototype using an injection mold is that the mold process is very costly. But I don’t know that much about the plastics industry to speak intelligently. I know Lego makes a lot of pieces from modelling clay when designing new “cheater blocks” and other non-conventionally shaped pieces during new product design phases.

Delrin is a machinable plastic, so that might be an option. I have a Crucial Half & Half and it’s a fun throw.

I know there are these 3D printers. I’ve seen them on TV. That’s another inexpensive way to get a representational prototype as this will most likely lack any decent durability and would probably NOT be suitable for play. The drawback is it’s time consuming, but most likely faster than going with an injected molded plastic method. With metal, if they have materials in stock, that’s all you need.

It makes the most sense to go metal. It’s durable, long lasting and I bet would cost cheaper in small runs than plastics because a mold isn’t required.


#10

well to save costs, im talking to family that i know who does machining so im hoping i can get that “family discount” and im setting a $600 budget for a basic prototyping(including the product, shipping, and any extra fees). at least thats what i think would be a smart start


#11

You’ve got 2 things going in your favor immediately:
People you know, who may be willing to give you a price break.
A budget.

So, yes, you’re off to a very smart start. I’m not saying that it will work out, but you’re already thinking properly. If anything, you might end up learning what real costs will be and then can adjust your budget in accordance.

Chances are that they are going to need some sort of CAD type drawing/information to make this happen, especially if they are using automation. It just seems that is how that sort of stuff works.


#12

ill make it work(atleast for myself if not anything)


#13

A better Idea comes to mind. Find a local trade school, learn how to take measurements, learn metals, and metal work. The buy a used lathe and start making protos. If you are really, and I mean really serious, it is going to be hard to run down to your machine shop in the middle of the night to try something new that just came to you.Plus once you gain that experience you will be better suited to run your company. One other thing you will need. You will have to learn(if you do not know now) how to write a business plan. How every you decide to go, hope you the best of luck. tim


#14

Step one would be to take some basic business and economics classes. You may be thinking that all you want to do is make a yo-yo, but with the money and outsourcing involved, it sure wouldn’t hurt.

There are two serious flaws in this idea:

#1 Injection molding is not cheap. The molds themselves easily run over $1,000 because they have to be machined out of billet steel on a CNC mill.

#2 Prototyping an aluminum yo-yo in plastic isn’t going to give you much usable information about your design. Sure, you will get to see what your design looks like and how pieces such as bearings or spacers fit into it, but you won’t learn anything about the most important aspect of the yo-yo, its playability. Plastics are quite a bit lighter than any metal used for yo-yos so you aren’t going to get an accurate representation of your final product.


#15

i wouldnt want to make a prototype out of plastic anyway, id like to feel how it would be of metal cuz thats what i want the final product to be made of


#16

I just checked on an 10 cavity injection mold, 15 grand. And it was for a small part.


#17

Lol, Toasted yoyos, send me a screen shot of your yoyo! I’ve been working on some myself! Autodesk 123d. I already contacted my local metal shop.


#18

lol nice.im working on getting autodesk, how is the program?


#19

It was easy to learn.


#20

I like rhinocad more. Does all of its own 3d rendering and is compatible with all major CAD programs so no matter what the cnc runs off of it should work.