I learned a lot about people and a lot about business hawking my homemade arts and crafts across the state. It was a wonderful time in my life. But some things came to a head, I was down on my luck, and I needed a change. I was twenty-seven years old.
That summer, I read an article about a new kind of teddy bear produced by the company Worlds of Wonder (WOW). It wasn’t very cute. In the past several years, I’d discovered I could sew stuffed animals out of the patterns I made from tape and paper. I would simply lay the design down on fabric, and sew. I had the skills to make the toys but couldn’t mass-produce them. I needed to learn how to be a real pattern maker if I wanted to progress. I could sell on a street corner, but could I sell in a store?
I had built a small portfolio at the time and approached WOW, a small company of only about twenty employees, for a job. I was hired to make that ugly looking talking bear cuter, as well as create other characters.
That talking teddy became none other Teddy Ruxpin, a number one selling toy. WOW exploded into the fifth largest toy company in the world.
The job changed my life. I traveled to the Far East and spent months helping assist with manufacturing and production. I worked on the engineering of numerous other successful products, such as the talking Mickey Mouse and Mother Goose. Before, I rarely traveled outside of Santa Clara County. Now, I was frequenting New York City and Hong Kong.
Worlds of Wonder was one step of many. But my time there taught me invaluable lessons about manufacturing and bringing a product to market. My perception of the processes changed. I learned that it was one thing to have an idea, and entirely another thing to bring it to market. I left WOW to start my own company in the Central Valley. I wanted to start designing my own ideas and showing them to companies. Why shouldn’t I get in on the action?
InventRight: Helping to Bring Your Product to Market