GPI’s Jack Scheurich, Matt Dacruz, Tom Wetzel and Tami Murphy on mistakes new companies make – and how to avoid them

Jack Scheurich, Matt Dacruz, Tom Wetzel, Tami Murphy, GPI
GPI is an expert in helping new companies and inventors navigate the intricacies of manufacturing.

Jack Scheurich, Matt Dacruz, Tom Wetzel and Tami Murphy tell us how GPI helps those new to toys and games – and what some of the most common pitfalls
Guys, it’s great to catch up. GPI does a lot of work helping new companies launch into the industry and navigate the intricacies of manufacturing. Can you give us any nice examples of firms you’ve helped successfully embrace this space?
Matt Dacruz, Project Manager, GPI: A few years ago, Solid Roots approached GPI with a trio of holiday-themed games they were eager to get into the marketplace. Solid Roots brought the idea, passion and drive to get the games to market and GPI provided the technical know-how and high-quality product they needed to help the games succeed. Solid Roots is now well established in the industry and continuing to grow their segment of the market.

Great example. So for anyone reading who may be thinking about reaching out, what’s your process?
Tami Murphy, Account Manager, GPI: When a new company approaches us, the first step is to talk, ask questions and listen. That seems like a simple answer, but it’s imperative to understand why they want to enter the industry, what both their short and long term plans are and what they do and don’t know.

It’s our job to lead them through the process of launching their first item; it’s more than just asking how many cards, what components and the dimensions of their game box. We need to help educate them in the areas they don’t know they don’t know, connect them with people who can help their journey, and of course, if they need services beyond manufacturing, assist them with those services under the roof of GPI.

We have quite a few new companies entering the game market this Fall so circle back to me in the Fall on that!

Will do! Tom, let’s bring you in… Are there any big mistakes new firms sometimes make that are actually easily avoidable?
Tom Wetzel, Account Manager, GPI: Perhaps the most common mistake new – and sometimes well-established – companies make is not planning ahead correctly. More accurately, the mistake is making impossible deadlines.

Establishing difficult deadlines is an easy mistake to make because there are a lot of factors that affect production times and shipping. The easiest way to avoid this is to know how long each step in the process is going to take, and that’s where GPI can help.

At GPI, we are in constant contact with our factories. So, when someone asks us when we should start working on a product due in the fourth quarter, we can give them a deadline based on their specific needs.

Jack, any other mistakes you feel are avoidable?
Jack Scheurich, Project Manager, GPI: On someone’s first project, a mistake I’ve seen people make is to compromise on materials or the appearance and vision of their product and packaging. Don’t settle for cookie-cutter! First projects sometimes can have a longer incubation period. Accept that as part of the process, especially if you have unique materials.

Lastly, don’t set age-grade based on safety testing or avoidance of safety testing.  People in tabletop market will often make this mistake.

Nice advice. For anyone outside the industry that’s looking to break in, where do you see opportunities? Are there sectors ripe for innovation and ‘new blood’?
TW: I’m constantly surprised by the innovation I see in the industry, and it’s not limited to a single sector. New toy and game concepts are being released all the time, but we’re also seeing new company structures, new marketing strategies, and new selling methods all the time. I expect to see original toy and game ideas every year, but I also expect to be blown away by how companies are connecting with their customers.

Guys, one last question before I let you go. Why do so many people look to enter this industry? What do you think is so great about toys and games?
TW: As the tabletop industry continues to grow it’s attracting new designers, artists and publishers. These new creators are pushing the boundaries of what a tabletop game is, which is attracting new players and new creators. It’s a beautiful upwards cycle that has no end in sight.

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