Ever thought about trying to sell stuffed animals?
To sell stuffed animals is actually a multi-billion dollar business.
Many people make their entire living working in the stuffed animal trade.
And just to clarify, by selling stuffed animals, we’re talking about the cuddly kind of stuffed animals.
Not stuffed as in taxidermy, though we’ll touch on that subject a little later.
From manufacturing to selling to collecting, there is a lot of money in what seems at first to be a simple children’s toy from the previous century.
The key when trying to sell stuffed animals is to find your niche for the work.
Find your niche to sell stuffed animals!
There are three basic ways to get into the business of selling the toys. The first is to become a manufacturer.
This means making handmade toys at home and then selling them for a profit over your raw material costs or building.
Or contracting with a factory to make the animals which you then turn around and sell.
The animals can easily be manufactured for example by a Chinese factory.
Then you import the stuffed animals to the United States where you need to arrange for the sale of the items.
The second possibility is to become a middle man, purchasing the animals wholesale from someone who makes them and then reselling to retail channels.
In something resembling the process above except that you never contract with the factories directly, instead simply becoming a chain in the link.
Finally, you can also get into the business of selling vintage and antique stuffed animals.
This is a business with huge market potential and much bigger profit margins.
Brand new low tech toys, unless they are specialty items typically don’t make much of a profit.
You’ll need to rely on high volume to make it profitable to do business.
Typically, these toys are sold to collectors who are looking for a specific model that reminds them of their childhood rather than to children to play with.
How Much Can You Make ?
Most toy stores and toy manufacturers don’t have much of a markup on their products.
Expect after all expenses are in to make no more than a dollar or two on each stuffed animal.
This is in the case that you sell new, non exclusive merchandise.
This means that you need to deal in volume in order to make this a viable business.
If you want to sell stuffed animals that you make yourself, you can typically make significantly more money on a per item basis.
But remember that you are then limited in the numbers you will sell.
First because you simply cannot make that many stuffed animals in any given day.
And then because you are now dealing in a boutique market where you are selling a certain mystique about the hand crafted “one of a kind” toys that you have to offer.
You are no longer in the general retail market where parents buy their kids a stuffed animal.
In the vintage and antiques market, the margins can be huge, especially if you can find good stuffed animals for cheap.
But more realistically, expect to take in anywhere from 10 to 50% profit on each stuffed animal you sell.
Then expect to sell at most a few dozen a week.
Meaning that you can again, earn a decent living, perhaps in the $40,000-$60,000 per year range, but you are not going to get rich doing it.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities | Tips to sell stuffed animals
If you like the idea of trying to sell stuffed animals but are not sure about the pre-made market and the antique market doesn’t really do much for you either, consider instead opening a franchise of build a bear.
These places allow kids to custom design a stuffed animal of their own and then fill it with foam filling on the spot.
You may also want to look into working with taxidermy.
This is not nearly the same thing as selling stuffed animals.
However, it is a related field where people collect the items, though in this case you are working with animals that were once live.
No matter what you choose, remember that you need to keep your stuffed animals for sale as clean as possible.
That means storing them in plastic bags and keeping them out of the reach of children or pets who may damage them.
When dealing with antique stuffed animals, never try cleaning them as this may cause their value to deteriorate.
Consider also working on places like eBay and Amazon.com marketplace where you can sell both new and vintage/antique stuffed animals.
Qualifications / Requirements to sell stuffed animals
There are no formal requirements or qualifications to get into this business. Mostly, you need a good head for business .
If you work in one of the specialty fields, either making your own or buying and selling vintage/antique stuffed animals.
You also need to know something about how to make them and or how to evaluate their value.
Start by studying the market. Go to toy stores and see what their most popular models are.
Consider street selling, especially on highway off ramps that are located near hospitals.
If you plan to work in the antiques field, learn more about the stuffed animals.
Know which ones are in demand and start looking at completed eBay listings for various items listed there.
eHow: How to Make Money Selling Stuffed Animals on eBay – ok, the picture is positively creepy looking on this article. But it does have some great advice on getting into the business of selling stuffed animals.
Found Value: What Sells: Steiff Bears and Stuffed Animals – primarily about one specific type of stuffed animal for sale. However the advice here is useful no matter what kind of stuffed animals you want to sell.
Business Franchise World: Build a Bear Franchise – As previously noted, this is an alternative to selling stuffed animals that are already made.
The cost of entry isn’t cheap though. You need to invest $125,000 just to get your foot in the door and that doesn’t include paying for your location, advertising, expenses and raw materials.Image by Sam Howzit via Flickr