Grand Prix International (GPI) has launched a new manufacturing program assisting BIPOC and Women-owned toy and game businesses to bring their products to market. The new initiative allows young and growing businesses to accept mass-market retail purchase orders that previously would have been a financial challenge to accept.
GPI has created a Mass Market Manufacturing Program that provides extended payment terms on the manufacturing of goods to fulfill mass-market purchase orders awarded to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and Woman owned small toy and game businesses. Manufacturing products to fulfill a mass-market purchase order can be an insurmountable financial challenge for some of these businesses. GPI has been servicing the toy and game industry for almost 50 years and recognizes that they are able to do something about this hurdle and to work with its customers in fulfilling these big PO opportunities.
“Tailoring the customer’s terms to the entire PO process, allows our customers to accept these POs and grow their businesses. We have talked for years about the lack of diversity in our industry, and after becoming aware of this financial hurdle BIPOC and Women-owned businesses face, we decided that it’s time to stop talking and do something positive,” said Mike Fisher, President of GPI, Inc.
Typically, inventory manufactured overseas needs to be paid in full before the factory will release the goods for shipment. That alone can be a hefty price tag for a small BIPOC or Woman-owned business, especially when adding in the freight costs and warehousing costs after production. If that doesn’t stop a business in its tracks, on the “other side” of production many toys and game business do not receive the revenue from that mass-market PO until 160 to 190 days after they’ve placed the order to the factory to begin producing their product.
GPI is proud to step up and be part of the solution to help increase diversity and inclusion in the toy and game industry. This program will allow smaller, new businesses the opportunity to accept purchase orders from mass-market retailers.
“We don’t need more mentors, what we need is capital,” says Amanda Wilson, A+X Puzzles. Even with a PO from Target, one of the largest retailers in the US, Wilson was unable to secure funding through conventional channels to subsidize the manufacturing of her puzzle line for the Target PO.
“Not having enough capital to fund the orders and wait to receive payment months later. That is the biggest financial hurdle. ” Daedrea Fenwick, founder of Kulture Karaoke said. “It is more difficult to find investors as a woman of color. Especially angel investors, since a one-product gaming company is not the best-suited company for most venture capitalists. Often, it’s challenging to get into rooms with decision-makers or to convince investors to support you when you are newer in business.”
“We were offered a loan through our bank, but the amount was significantly less than the amount we needed,” said Erika Chambers, co-founder of Puzzles of Color. “We are currently running this business with limited staff while working full-time jobs, so time and money are truly a commodity. The biggest challenge we currently face is balancing, taking the time to find more funding and apply for grants while also needing to operate the business with things like customer service, product development, and sales. It is a constant hustle!”
Amanda Wilson – Founder, A+X Puzzles
Daedrea Fenwick – Founder, Kulture Karaoke
Ericka Chambers (left) and William Jones (right) – Founders, Puzzles of Color