The mandatory references to the movie Big, made by almost everyone outside of the industry asking what we all do, aside from, a career in toys is often fascinating and fulfilling. It’s curious then that this is also a career, into which, for many of us, we have fallen in one way or another.
That it is a sector that attracts and retains such a wealth of talent, from product design and manufacturing to determined marketing and retail innovation, there to ensure that what the industry has to offer is placed in the hands of the next generation, only testifies to its own strength.
In a new series of reports, interviews and articles, ToyNews will celebrate what it means to work in the toy industry, bringing together a range of perspectives and opening up conversations about personal experiences, triumphs and successes. obstacles that present themselves; day by day, year by year, in a constantly evolving toy business.
With the launch of ToyNews’ new Inside the Industry series, we’re handing over to game designer and founder of Emmerse Studios, Emma May, the mastermind behind the popular family card game Quirk!
I fell into the toy and game industry as a happy accident. This was just one of the side effects I encountered while developing my card game, Quirk!
Watching it makes perfect sense now, of course, after seeing where my passions have taken me over the years. As I grew up, my drawings would receive a lot of praise; win contests and be printed in newspapers. However, it was in my teenage years that I concluded that I couldn’t make a career in drawing – but I could in 3D CGI.
I started learning 3D character modeling in college for the chance to work in the entertainment industry. Instead, I found myself working in the tech industry, designing and developing products in CAD software, and learning manufacturing. When I finally decided to go for it, these were all of these things I took with me to start my own business, Emmerse Studios.
Without this experience, I’m not sure I’ve made a card game, solo, so successfully.
Learning the ropes of the toy and gaming industry, I have found it to be an industry that has been extremely welcoming, but not without competition. On the gaming side – the side I’m heavily involved in – there is a shared market; we know that a customer will often buy from multiple manufacturers, if they like the same kinds of games. It gives us a great sense of community, equality and inclusion. This itself is an area that is gradually being improved upon as the industry expands and more and more creators enter the space.
On the toy side, the industry is just as welcoming, but I think there is always a barrier to entry for a brand newcomer. For someone who has not started a business based on a previous career in this industry, this is particularly obvious.
The toy industry itself is small, and it all ties together, and part of the reason why this barrier to entry is so high in this space. To meet this bar, you really have to put yourself in the retailer’s shoes. With limited storage space in stores, retailers are more likely to purchase products that can guarantee sales and will continue to work with businesses they trust. This means that as a foreigner you have to prove yourself and prove that your product works in the market before you give yourself a chance.
And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a very interesting challenge, which many independent toy and game developers have succeeded in. Through this process, I have met some great people who have broadened my opportunities in networking groups, and I have met increasingly helpful industry experts as my journey has progressed.
I am grateful for the lessons the toy industry has taught me so far.
I have just entered my fourth year in the toy and game industry, so I am still a beginner. But over time, I’ve seen my brand awareness grow – usually at trade shows that unfortunately won’t be held in the same way next year. This is the trade show that shows you a real insight into the industry.
For me, however, the happiest part of the toy and gaming industry is creating products that are loved and appreciated by others, while also discovering the impact of play on children’s lives. My friend sends me messages from time to time to tell me that her nephew is wearing a Quirk! t-shirt or asked to play the game, he recently asked when he would meet the person who made the game. It’s a weird world that I have fans in, but it’s a wonderful experience at the same time .
Provided you are able to build that crowd around the products you create, you will find that being in the toy industry is a rewarding and rewarding experience. There are so many new designers joining the industry every year and I am starting to receive an increasing number of requests for advice on building a successful brand and product in this industry.
In fact, I started to write a book about my journey, a book to help new designers think about how to run a small business from the inside out. Entitled Emmerse Yourself – How to Go It Alone and Break the Mold, the book will be released on November 24 of this year. It covers a number of elements involved in running a business on your own based on your personality and self-discovery, while also immersing you in time management techniques, how to focus and how to focus. way forward as an inventor.
I hope the book inspires new designers on what to expect if they want to take their ideas to the streets. Perhaps also to encourage them in their happy accidents.