Ball Gum Machine and Bed Bugs Container (Fleer Chewing Gum 1981)
In a move to avoid the continued expense of my consultant design service, Fleers had their in-house cartoonist replace my efforts as product designer. To me it seemed an obviously a lack of knowledge or appreciation of talent. My abilities were perfectly suited for their needs, offering a combination of creative skills and specialized engineering knowledge of intricate plastic molding. My recent past experience was extremely unique for their purposes. Not only instrumental in the development of the recently invented polypropylene hinge but applying that technology to containers for their close competitor, Topps Chewing Gum.
Mr. Tegan, Vice President of New Products, and their cartoonist reviewed my previously submitted and unaccepted ideas and re-selected the Ball Gum Dispenser. Their final design was poorly executed, it would not function and was impossible to produce. Once again looking further into my previously submitted and unaccepted ideas, they selected the Bed Bug container. Rather than chance the design function with their cartoonist, Mr. Tegan placed the design and engineering responsibilities into the hands of an inexperienced custom molding company. The attempts were costly both in inferior design as well as production capabilities. Eventually they were forced to put the concepts aside and accept the heavy financial loss.
Apparently, I made my function seem easily performed. Therefore they incorrectly believed anyone with a little sense could do it.
|Finished Bed Bugs|
Light Bulb Container (Toy Pak Corporation 1983)
When our relationship was starting to wear, I submitted third drawing to Fleer and it was turned down. I retained the rights to produce and sell the LightBulb myself.
With the aid of willing investors, I incorporated a new company and named it, Toy-Pak Corporation. A primary partner was an association with a molding company. A second investor recently retired from his job with a leading bank and came to work as a financial advisor. Other investors remained in the non-functional background.
|Photo Dave and Joe Homer|
Gumballs were everywhere. We purchased qualities of 2000 pounds at a time. We became the largest buyer of gum balls in the United States. Loading the gum balls into the Light Bulb was first done with Plexiglas scoops that were custom made to hold 13 balls of gum. Later the scoops were made of stainless steel as the Plexiglas tubes began to break. We had about 15 people on our production line all of them were sight impaired. They were our best workers.
|Photo Dave and Joe Homer|
The investors did not abide by the pre-incorporating understanding to pledge a specific infusion of cash. Had I known they were going to do this, I would have conserved more cash and not invest in loading machines and other expenses. At the same time, our sales reps were now promising greater sales from the west coast and wanted more product faster.
Lack of cash caused long deadly delays, but worst of all the lack of future new products ideas as outlined in our business plan. Part of that plan was to sell our product with cost incentives in order to gain market recognition. In other words, we were losing money with each Light Bulb sold. But that was a part of the plan that we all agreed upon in order to get our name out there. Inexplicably, some of the investors began complaining about not having more products in production and were adamant about not extending their promise of funding. This lack of action and understanding on their part would eventually result in the company’s failure. Being desperate for cash, I started designing new products for other companies. These very successful products will be discussed in future post. But for now it can be said a hand shake deal was no longer a valid way of doing business and Toy Pak was forced to close the doors for business.
The market lost a new exciting source of fun-candy supply and I learned to respect qualified corporate decisions.