Toymaker

Toymaker

Maya

15 Years Experience

Kansas City, MO

Female, 27

I make dolls and stuffed animals by hand, and I'm learning to do wooden toys also. Sometimes I design my own toys! I've been making them since I was 12 years old. (And this Q&A has been running for 10.) I sell them at craft fairs, farmers markets, through word of mouth, and also (soon) online. Ask me anything! :)

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26 Questions

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Last Answer on May 31, 2022

Best Rated

If you don’t mind me asking how much money do you make?

Asked by Jamie almost 3 years ago

Hi there! Not very much, mostly since this is more of a hobby business by now and I’ve largely been selling the patterns more than toys in recent years. It can pay my phone bill. But, I’ll soon be branching out into sewn toys and bringing them to market regularly, so I aim to make several hundred a month with it by then.

Hi, have you ever made a Minecraft toy?

Asked by Trump 2020 KAG over 2 years ago

No, I never got into Minecraft. But in 2016 (the year of Pokémon Go) I did make a multitude of Pokémon and poke balls. They were sold in a local retro video game shop.

What is your biggest fail and success?

Asked by Makenzie over 2 years ago

My biggest fail would definitely be a custom order for three snails that were supposed to look just like a character in a storybook. I took the commission after co-selecting a snail pattern I had not used before (will never make that mistake again) and the pattern turned out to be a confusing nightmare, as did the effort to incorporate the color changes required for the book character. It took ages longer than I had estimated, leaving me - and worse, my customer - harried and frustrated.

My biggest success has absolutely been the line of animals I’ve designed myself. I started knitting those and writing the patterns in 2017 and never looked back. They are my pride and joy!

Have you ever made a Pomeranian?

Asked by Dan almost 3 years ago

No Pomeranians yet! I would have to find a very fluffy yarn :)

Hello, how do you make sure your not breaking copyright, trade mark, among other laws like that when your making and selling toys?

Asked by Diane over 2 years ago

Good question! There are basically three categories of toys I can/do make: originals, patterns by other small business artists, and big licensed characters.

Mostly these days I am using my own original patterns, so none of those things are an issue.

When I use patterns from other small artists, their own product listing specifies their wishes, which I honor: some say you may produce a small number for sale, some are strictly for personal use. Many ask for a mention in your listing/tag on the finished product. Most all do not want their pattern used for mass manufacturing (reasonable).

When I am making licensed characters (for me this is usually Paddington, Pooh bear, Pokémon, or the occasional Disney character) is where this issue would mostly arise. Different companies vary greatly in their attitude toward fan art. Some are very open and encourage it, since they realize it’s made from the love of their fans - but all-importantly, it does not compete with their products, but rather does free marketing for them! In some cases e.g. Pooh bear, it’s going to be very difficult to enforce a ban on anyone ever making yellow teddies with red sweaters.

Ultimately it’s not a matter that concerns me very much - licensed toys are usually only an occasional one-off and don’t step on anyone’s toes. The rest of the time, I’m using my own work. :)