I need to decide what to do and I would like your help. It’s about my sock puppet critters.
People liked my puppet critters at shows. They are cute and entertaining, they use recycled milk jugs for the mouth pieces, they’re good for story time, they make you smile.
What’s not to love?
(If you’d like to learn more about how I came to make these, it involves school plays and a young man suffering from leukemia. You can read the back story on my Flickr page here.)
However, there are several factors involved. Which has caused me to hold off making more and putting them in my store.
The puppet critters are really time-consuming to put together, which increases the cost involved. Plus, ping-pong balls make the eyes work so well, but they are not easy to use or make. Not to mention they are difficult (and dangerous) to cut for use as puppet eyes. I need to build a jig just to help prevent injury. Additionally, they are hard to find without a logo printed on them (I learned the hard way logos don’t come off without melting the ball). AND, I can’t in good conscience sell these as toys someone might get for a toddler, because although ping-pong balls look really great as puppet eyes, they are not safety eyes. Not to mention there’s glue involved. Round ball-shaped safety eyes are not only expensive, but they are heavy, don’t look as good or work as well in this kind of application (on sock puppets). That kind of safety eye expects you are using the eye in a stuffed animal kind of shape, with plenty of puppet flesh to embed the eyeball into. Not a sock that needs to float over your hand, devoid of pointy uncomfortable parts inside. Ping-pong balls are lightweight and look great.
Sooooo, with all that rolling around in my head: though people on the one hand really liked them at shows, my thoughts were to sell the puppets in kits that people can put together on their own. The kit would contain the ready-made yarn sock, ping-pong ball already cut for use, stuffing, mouth form and stencils for the pupils. This would also allow customer to make the pupils whatever color they want and stare in any direction they want.
Offering kits instead of selling ready-made would save construction time on my end that I’d have to charge for. It would take care of the any danger involved with making the puppet eyes, for instance, because they’d come to the customer already done. They would just need to assemble them. Plus I could label the craft kit for above a certain age group, saving me heartache over whether a customer would buy the puppet for a baby or not. And it would also give the customer more freedom to customize the puppet as they like and save them some money. Kits would be easier to ship too.
But would people buy them? What do you think? Would a kit to make a puppet critter be worth it to a customer at about $18? Thanks for helping me out with your thoughts! The poll will be open until July 31st midnight. There’s even a place to type your own answer.