We are finally ready to begin submissions for licensing. Since my last post, I've obtained the best manufacturing prices and samples for the purpose of getting real costing numbers in advance to meeting with potential manufacture/distributors.
We have a PRIVATE SITE put up on the web designed for the eyes of agents, attorneys, and prospective companies. The site is rich in graphics, plus videos of the product being used by kids to adults, regardless of age or sex, not to mention professional coaches, trainers, and instructors if martial arts, boxing, and fitness.
The kids market consists of one variation of the product that features favorite comic book and action movie heroes making it a retail product, but also a less expensive version for premium promotions, such as motion picture openings, in addition to premium giveaways as an add-on or stand alone product.
My question is twofold. First, if we decide to use a licensing agent for representation, should I be looking at a company to license multiple markets such as toys and sporting goods, or one that specializing in a market? Second, which licensing agents might you or others on the board recommend?
Sounds like you are making good progress with your product. To answer your questions in order I would say they ideally you would want to licence the toy in as many areas as possible so toys and sporting goods are good starting points. You will need to ensure that any licence agreements signed allow the product to be sold through other or multiple distribution channels. Toy maker here on the forums may be able to offer better advice on this? Re: agents this is always a tricky one due to personal experiences of myself and other toy inventors. A couple that I have heard of however are Marra Designs (Mike Marra) (US - fee based i believe), SevenTowns (Chrisi Trussel or Mike Moodie - free subs) (UK). There are also Royalty Pros (US - $99 sub fee) and Nextoy. I have also found Ayers concepts and Excel Development on the web.
We cannot 'recommend' anyone but this is probably a good starting point if you take the agent route. Personally I believe approaching companies direct is the best route as you will be getting a better percentage if a licensing deal is reached and you don't need to give the agent a cut of your earings.
It is possible to place your concepts without agents but it is not easy. Most major US toy manufacturers will only deal with inventors via agents as this filters out most of the concepts that would just be wasting their time.
We have managed to license 50 toy, games and gift products now without an agent. This was only possible because we were able to see and present to the right people. Once you get a few successful products away, almost all toy companies will see you direct.
We tried going down the agent route in the very early days, but it did not work for us, and paying 50% (or more) of what you make reduces the appeal further!
If you want to go direct to a manufacturer, then you need to find out who the correct person is to present to (via their inventor relations), this helps a lot. I would also recommend protecting your concepts as much as you can as there are some sharks out there.