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How to Start a Wooden Toy Shop

by Brian Hill, studioD

Once you've completed a business plan for your toy shop, it's time to put that plan into action by setting up shop. Wooden toys may be antiques, collectibles, educational, or just plain fun. They could be painted and decorated, or left plain. Toys appeal to all ages from infants through nearly middle school aged children. They are appropriate for girls and boys and are also not gender biased.

Find Crafters and Vendors

Scout out arts and crafts shows for wooden toys. Ask the crafters if they would be willing to stock their toys in your shop on consignment. Consignment means that you don't pay the crafter until the toy sells. It's one way to stock your store without spending cash on inventory. The downside is the crafter sets the sales price and you receive a percentage of that price from 20 to 25 percent. An alternative to craft shows is to seek out the crafters that participate in arts and crafts oriented online web stores. Vendors wholesale toys for about 50 percent of retail. You make a greater profit on those toys than on consignment toys. However, you have to buy them outright rather than take them on consignment.

Locate and Outfit the Store

Shopping malls are prime locations to take advantage of heavy foot traffic. If you can't afford shopping mall lease rates, consider a freestanding kiosk or sharing space with another store that attracts a similar customer base, but isn't competitive with your store. Antique malls are another option. Strip malls could be considered as well. Install shelving and lighting to display the toys. Consider setting up a play area with tile flooring for toys that have wheels or tracks such as wooden train sets. Wheels don't work as well on carpeting. While an old-fashioned cash register continues the theme of wooden toys, consider a point of sale system instead. It tracks sales, adjusts inventory and calculates sales tax.


Be creative with your marketing strategies so your target market will take notice of your shop. For example, ask some of the crafters to come to the shop and demonstrate how they make the toys. Another idea is to have easy-to-assemble wooden toys for children to put together at your shop under their parent's supervision. Announce the demonstrations through flyers, signage on the shop and press releases. Other marketing strategies include an online presence with a website for the store and social media accounts. Post photos of the toys, children playing with the toys and your shop on photo-oriented sites.


Besides the point of sale system, set up an accounting software program. The 2 systems should be integrated. An accounting firm can assist you in getting started. You may need an attorney to determine whether your shop should be a sole proprietorship or a corporation. Contact the Internal Revenue Service to see whether it's necessary to obtain an Employer Identification Number. The store will require a business license and license to collect sales tax. The licenses may be required for both the state and city. The business development office of both the state and city have information about the applications you need to submit and the fees.

About the Author

Brian Hill is the author of four popular business and finance books: "The Making of a Bestseller," "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital," "Attracting Capital from Angels" and his latest book, published in 2013, "The Pocket Small Business Owner's Guide to Business Plans."

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