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evans14 evans14 is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 49
Do you like my new business or am I a fruitcake?

I am one of those 'lurkers' who enjoys reading all the threads here on Shell live wire - now it is time to log on and become a contributor!
For the past 8 months or so I have been busy getting ready (registering trademarks/taking out design patents/finding a supplier etc) to launch my first product (along with 2 friends) and this is what we have come up with. I used to work for an import company and decided i wanted to go it alone and import our own products.
We looked at lots of ideas about what to import but in the end went for 'collectables' mainly because they are cheaper to make and are not too complex to design. Also it seemed more fun to design wacky characters as opposed to importing beef carcasses or computer accessories etc!
Our first brand is called 'Little Hooliganz' and is aimed at the football fan market.
We have received one small batch of 'figures' and I sold them on a local market and wholesale to a few market traders. They sold well and so now I am trying to expand. We are aware it is a very shortlived brand so I want to get it out there before its time is up.
Our website is in development at the moment and is being updated daily. Next to come on the site is an outline of the 'Little Hooliganz' story as well as photos of the figures themselves. So far we have designed and imported one character each from the firmz of the 6 biggest footy teams - Arsenal, Liverpool, Man Utd, Spurs, Chelsea and Ncastle.
To be honest the target market are not likely to be any of you lot on the forum unless you are a 12 year old lad who is mad on football!!!
The next stage for me is to contact wholesalers and try and get our figures in the big retailers etc Also I need to get a more reliable supplier from China. (have a serious problem with one supplier and it is going to cost me a painful amount of money as he is either a) a fraud or b) going bankrupt taking my money with him).
In the meantime I thought I would use shell livewire as the first place to lanch our poduct/company to the world (other than by now bored friends and family) as I would like to hear your opinions and feedback on everything - the website, buiness potential etc etc! There is alot more than needs to be done and but I am sure your advice will be very useful.
I have also considered using a marketing company/PR company so I may need some of your services in the not too distant future.

Cheers! here are the links, first our new (ish)company:

and you can go through that to our first product but here is the link anyway:
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syka786 syka786 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: London
Posts: 141
Hi, I like the idea. I cover similar stuff on my blog. Please send me more information about your products because i couldn't see much on your site, as in pictures of actual products.
Look forward to hearing from you and good luck with your new venture.

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moneyman's Avatar moneyman moneyman is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Norwich and Aberdeen
Posts: 976
I hate them (not a 12 year old) but the idea will sell. you realy need photos of the products. if you are wondering abut how to distribute all of them i have contacts with other small businesses in the same field who deal with gift shops and how to handle ship and store the products is my specialist subject. if you want advice. give me a call.
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Simon Nolan Simon Nolan is offline
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 63
I dont really think you can sell them to young children. I cant see any mother (and that is who will be paying for them) wanting to encourage hooliganism. I can see the article in the daily mail now!

However i do think they are a good product for older kids/ students.
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Incepto Incepto is offline
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 1,093

Congrats on launching first of all.

I think they could be quite a good idea. Not really sure what they are though. Your site definately needs photos up!

The Little Hooliganz site looks nice, but your site is a little bland- rather forum-post like.

If you've managed to sell some at a market stall, then get the stall holder to buy more off you! Get a wide range of different 'characters' available, so people can properly get collecting. Get selling at different markets, even car-boot sales if you like!

There are hobby/collectable shops all over the place now, so try and sell to them, as well as toy shops. If you have the sole distribution rights, then due to the short sale life, you should start approaching some bigger players like Woolies, maybe even Tesco! Just get as many sold as possible before you approach them to show there is demand.

Good luck.
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evans14 evans14 is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 49
Thanks for all your replies and constructive critiscism. Yes we need photos of the products asap they will be there soon/tonight. Basically they are like the characters on the website PVC figurines 12 cm in height.

Mr Moneyman thanks for your offer of advice on distribution which I will take you up on soon. My main problem at the moment is the fact we are a small company and the Chinese manufacturers obviously want big orders rather than my small orders. Also the time problem is massive because it takes a month to ship it across which is causing me a headache with planning etc

But once again thanks for the advice it is very useful

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JustOneUK JustOneUK is offline
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: At my desk - always!
Posts: 1,034
they look like they would do OK as keyrings or something like that. Not sure if you are opening yourself up to major league prosecution for using the logo's ....and in fact also defacing them "O3" and " Carlsbarg" for example.

good luck with them

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MclearyCycles MclearyCycles is offline
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 134
I have the same problem with china. Basically they're greedy fookers. The best way to do it ive found is tell them your yearly spend, for me its around 30 000usd and tell them that if you're happy with the products your orders will increase. Get onto or and do some searching. ive went through a ton of places and as soon as they say something i don't like, such as "well you have to order 10 000 units" they get told to take a run and jump. you got an agent over there or do you deal direct with the factories? China slowly goes out my window and I head to Taiwan where they understand my needs better. For shipping, lead times on bike products are 45 days and sometimes 90 days so in order to overcome this, instead of ordering 3-4 months worth of stock people have to order 5-6 months worth and then order more while they have a ton of stock left. On small orders we just use DHL by air but that depends on the size of stuff. If its sea frieght,i can't really see a way to cut down on time other than get a manu closer to home.
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evans14 evans14 is offline
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 49
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..DN.. ..DN.. is offline
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 287
Interesting idea.

The website is not happy at all in firefox. Just thought I'd let you know.
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futurebobbers futurebobbers is offline
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 119
Website works in Safari, albeit with a dash of horizontal scroll on my screen.

Although not to my taste, I can picture these selling very well - I see shelves full of them in Birthdays and Clinton cards.

I dont really think you can sell them to young children. I cant see any mother (and that is who will be paying for them) wanting to encourage hooliganism.
Oh yes they will. Are there any under 18s who don't own a copy of Grand Theft Auto Whore Murder City on the Playstation?
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nick.martin nick.martin is offline
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 671
I like them, but I'd never buy one, lol.
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eimanshalash eimanshalash is offline
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: London
Posts: 482
Just a quick comment about your trademark. If you've registered your trademark and it has been approved by the Patent Office you can now use the ® which means it's registered officially.

I noticed you use the copyright symbol mainly.
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emmalr's Avatar emmalr emmalr is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne
Posts: 290
You may find you'll get into a lot of trouble by using other companies official logo's without permission. We needed to help a client get permission to use a well known logo for his product (childrens delivery van toy) and it's not as simple as just sticking the logo on the side.
We needed to draw up licensing agreements and agree on a percentage of 'royalities' from each sale to go to the brand owner.

You've also used official team shirts/logos - they are treated the same way as brands and are copyrighted.

You may want to check with a trademark lawyer.

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SMNorman SMNorman is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Bristol
Posts: 28
Hi evans

I think your website looks great - and this type of thing I reckon would sell really well - if you own the rights to your designs, you should see if you can licence them to companies who turn them into cards, notepads, keyrings, little cakes etc that you see in the shops mentioned above (Birthdays etc). I think there's a brand licensing expo at Earls Court every year where you can display your brand and talk to people about this sort of stuff. However, don't you have to get permission from famous people to use their image? Im not sure but I thought celebrities sometimes get upset when they're associated with something that they've not been paid to endorse? Just a thought.
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