Working With Longpack Toys To Produce a Children’s BoardBook
I follow a fantastic podcast called “The Toy Coach: Making It In the Toy Industry,” a podcast that aims to help those who want to start their toy inventions or companies. During a morning run, I was listening to the latest episode, and the host, the excellent Azhelle Wade, interviewed a project manager from a toy company named LongPack Toys.
A shiver ran up my spine as I listened to the interview. Starting first as a printing company, then as a boardgame manufacturer, LongPack Toys has since broadened its business scope to all toy products. I love that LongPack welcomes smaller toy companies and that they have dedicated design teams and advisors focused on helping their customers refine and polish their creations. Kate Khvorostianova did an amazing job talking about her company. Her passion and enthusiasm really shined.
I thought, “Hey! Our book is like a board game. This company sounds amazing; maybe they’ll be willing to produce my book!”. As soon as I returned from the run, I jumped on the computer and shot them a message via their Facebook page.
Within a day, I received a message back. Yes, they like my project and would help me create some samples. Yes, they can go as low as 500 MOQs for the initial run. I waited a few more days to get an initial price quote, and it came back cheaper than any of the quotes I had received so far. Good stuff! Not only do I get to bring the cost of production down, but I also get to work with a company I wanted to based on the fabulous podcast interview and the feedback from members of the MIITI Facebook group.
Over the past few weeks, I worked directly with a dedicated project manager named Shelly, who is wonderful and patient and extremely helpful. We communicate mainly through WeChat and emails. Initially I wanted to hop on a train and go visit their team in person, and to take a tour of their company. However, China’s restrictive zero Covid policy made that nearly impossible.
Shelly was kind enough to share a few photos of the factory instead
Longpack Toys do have access to Google Drive and other blocked websites (using VPNs to get around the Great Firewall of China). But the downloads of 2GB to 4GB Adobe Illustrator files were taking them hours, so I felt bad and subscribed to a service called WeTransfer, which works much faster in China. WeTransfer Pro is $10 (usd) a month and lets you transfer files up to 200 GB.
After a couple of weeks of back and forth, we are ready to make the first few samples of the book. As of now, I am waiting for the samples to be created and mailed to our residence in Xi’an, which will take 1 to 2 weeks. I can’t wait to see the final result!
Link to the podcast: