Entrepreneur of the Month: Elisheva Czeladnicki - Custom Toys, GoFigure!
In today's world, everyone wants to standout. They want their story to be different than the millions of others that walk this earth. Originality is what we strive for and uniqueness is what garnishes the spotlight in a culture where getting seen can take you to instant stardom. Elisheva and her brand GoFigure! truly embodies a product and business that is one of a kind. Tap into your early childhood mind full of imagination and play, as we explore GoFigure and Elisheva's story of building the world's first customizable action figures.
How did you come up with the idea for your Brand?
I would help my partner promote his moving company at trade shows where he would prominently display custom action figures of his employees he had made as an “employee appreciation” project. I noticed those figures got more attention than the actual business and many people asked if they could order a custom figure of themselves or a loved one! I suggested we create a custom action figure business doing just that; I took his process and refined it for a higher quality product, and just like that, “GoFigure!” was born!
Tell us a bit about your experience launching the Brand, the ride in general, and how you were able to drive it to where it is today.
We decided to pursue GoFigure! as a business around May, 2014. We had a soft launch in December 2014, debuting GoFigure! with a vendor booth at a local toy and comic show. Our first round of figures were all "trial samples" that we made as a proof of concept to show off at our vendor booth. We didn't get our first real order until October 2015; Since then we have been steadily moving towards a more profitable product.
How did you come up with the name for your Brand? What is the significance behind the name of the Brand?
We were brainstorming ideas for a name and as a joke "Go figure" was thrown out. Add a few stylistic touches (GoFigure!) and boom - a brand is born.
What is the social impact you would like your Brand to have?
When people see our action figures, whether they are interested in purchasing one or not, their eyes immediately light up and you can see them becoming a kid again. In an age of superheroes, who doesn't get tickled at the idea of owning an old school 90's style action figure of themselves? With all the political unrest going on, it's nice to be able to bring a momentary spark of joy into the hearts of the people. Within the action figure world there is an obvious gender imbalance when it comes to the number of male figures available on the market vs. the number of female figures. With our custom figures we hope to spread the message that yes, even an everyday woman can be a hero. I know so many artists who give up their passion for a steady paycheck. As the brand grows, I also want to be able to employ artists who would otherwise be forced to take positions in fields that don't always compliment their talents.
Where do you hope to see your Brand five years from now?
Hopefully our volume of orders will have increased to the point where I can open a co-working space where I can employ artists and other creatives to handle the volume of custom sculpting, painting, drawing and graphic design that each figure requires. Right now, we're just a two person operation (Ellie and Bryan) plus our vendors.
What advice would you give an entrepreneur interested in starting their own Brand?
Definitely make sure you know your product and the target market you are catering towards. Research, research, research.
Anything else you'd like us to know?
It was actually very important to us when creating GoFigure! that our toys be made for display AND play. Too often in the custom toy world do you end up with something that's pretty to look at, but fragile to play or interact with. We designed our patent-pending process with that aim in mind, and our figures can be handled, and withstand the rigors of play. That being said, even mass produced toys have age restrictions, and we do not recommend our toys for children ages 4 and under without adult supervision.