I've been working on making cat toys that will hold up to Jesse and I really do feel I'm on the right track. I made a prototype that I've been using to play with him with and so far, it's lasted a good long time. At first, I figured the toy would be just a "I make this for Jesse" thing, because it ran a bit high in costs for me to make. Not higher than buying a good quality cat toy, but enough so that selling it would be outrageous.
But, little by little, I've been looking about and finding things out and realizing I might be able to make them at a price that would make it worth my time to sell. Will I get rich doing this? Of course I will! That's the point, I want to be richer than snot! GO ME GO! Wait a moment, I'm in fantasy land again, aren't I?
Let's get back to reality. Nah, I don't think this will ever make me rich. But I love hobbies that give me a chance to be creative and work with my hands. I would love to have a hobby that is self supporting too. I almost had that when I did zines and I've missed it. It was nice being able to have a hobby and know it wasn't costing me huge money. I'd love it if I could come up with another one. So, what I'm hoping to do is to design and sell some cat toys, making enough for me to buy the supplies and a bit of "profit" that I can donate to the cat shelter I volunteer at. My time, of course, will be free, because again, this is a hobby.
(It will also give me a chance to play with my BIG TOUGH MASCULINE TOOLS, much to the dismay of certain folks at a certain Ace Hardware store nearby, but that's besides the point.)
Okay, I'm working on the toy. My first "experiment" will be donating some to the shelter to sell at their weekly indoor garage sale. Those, I'll just end up losing money on, but that's okay, at least I'll get an idea if people even like the toy. However, I don't just want to give them a bunch of toys, I want to give them a bunch of toys that look somewhat professional, so that if folks like them, they might look for them.
Eventually, if pigs fly and dreams come true, I want to have a website where I could sell this stuff, but temporarily, I'd just set up a quick page, so I can have something to put on the "packaging." I can throw together a website quickly with an email address and a few pictures of the product in action. That's not a problem
The problem is... everything else. I need to find a way to package the product. It'll be a "wand" product, so I need to be able to find bags that are 3 - 5 inches wide, by about 26" long. I'm not having the greatest luck with that, if anyone has any ideas.
Even more important, I need to design a tag for the bags. I want to design a cardboard strip that goes over the top of the bag, that I can staple shut and punch a hole in so it can be placed on a pegboard. I can probably design something like that with trial and error, but if anyone knows of any free software that might help me lay out something like this, that would be awesome.
Most important though, I need a logo. I'm calling this company "Tuff Cat" which is a sort-of joke on Top Cat, an old cartoon my husband loved as a kid. It fits what I'm doing though, because the idea is that I'm trying to design cat toys for cats that are rougher and tougher on toys than your average cat. Okay, I can always write out "Tuff Cat" in an interesting font, add a drop shadow and make something that looks okay, but really, I need a graphic.
I had two ideas for graphics, one very simple, one not so simple. The simple one would be a sillohet (sp) of a Lion lying down (male) and a sillohet (sp) of a cat sitting up in front of it. Lion in one solid color, cat in another solid color, words "Tuff Cat" below in one of the two colors. The words Tuff Cat being in a sort-of B-Movie jungle font, similar to the last four fonts on this page
The more complicated one would be a cat on a motorcycle in a black leather jacket. Below that would be "Tuff Cat" but in a more "street" style font. (Something like the First font on this page) The only real specifics beside the leather jacket, is I don't want the cat wearing a helmet, and I want the bike to be more of a chopper style than a racing or touring style. As for color of the cat? Well, I lean towards Jesse's coloring, of course, but really, as long as the cat doesn't look delicate and dainty, I'll leave that up to the artist. Considering my art talent for drawing begins and ends with a crooked line, I don't have any right to get nit picky. The most important thing would be that the drawing had a cartoon quality to it, and could shrink down to really small, really well, and look decent in black and white as well as color.
The only problem with this, of course, is that I am not made of money and cannot afford to pay huge money for this. I can afford to pay a little and I'm willing. However, if I pay, I expect that it's a business deal. I get the logo, you take the tiny bit of money, and that's that. If someone was willing to donate a logo, I'd do my best to pay them back with credit. When I got a website, I'd credit them and link to their site, or their email address or both, of course. I'd also plug their name/website etc. on the actual tags I'm going to make for the product and the insert I plan on putting inside. No, I can't afford to do a "I'll give you so much for each toy sold" deal, because the whole idea of this is that I won't make a profit, that I'll just pay for supplies and the rest goes to the cat shelter. However, if hell freezes over, and for some reason, I do find that I'm richly sucessful at this and make millions of dollars and find myself needing to draw a salary, so I can devote my full time to this nobel pursuit, I will retroactively reward any logo maker with the cash they would so richly deserve, because let's face it, if I did become sucessful, I'd owe a lot to that logo. A logo does play a significant part in making or breaking a small business. It can't take a terrible product and make it sucessful, but a good logo goes a long way in helping a good product become something people remember.
So, does anyone want to, or know someone who might be interested in taking this on? The logo making, I mean?
And, any idea on how to get my hands on the other things I'll need? Like plastic bags and possible software for designing the pegboard tags? Yes, I've looked on the net. And I have found plastic bags, but most of them want me to buy an awful lot of them to start with (Like a thousand) and sorry, I can't afford to do that. Not for a project that might fail before it really gets started. How about software that might help me to design a hang tag easily?
As I get further along in this, I'm probably going to need help in other areas, like testing. If I'm at all able to, I want to be able to offer people a chance to become "testers" for free. I'll send them the toy for free, they use it with their cat, and their "payment" is to let me know what they and their cat think of the toy. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to give the toy away from free to testers, it's the postage and handling I'm not too sure I can afford to cover, or if I'll have to ask testers to kick in for that. If I do need to ask for postage help, I'll find the cheapest way to send it and only charge that exact amount.
So, any ideas and suggestions? If you're interested in the logo and want to know what pitiful amount I can pay, but don't want to ask here, you can send me an email instead. Yes, of course I have an lj address.
Thanks for any and all help you might be able to offer!