Carlsbad resident Joan Colvin was no different than a lot of inventors and entrepreneur types. She had what she thought was a winning product idea but wasn’t sure what to do with it or how to get started licensing, manufacturing, marketing, distributing and ultimately profiting from it.
The product concept evolved from an activity she planned for guests attending her daughter’s fifth birthday party. The children stuffed small pillows labeled with positive character traits like responsibility, friendship, fairness, honesty and courage into empty teddy bears, bringing the bears to life in their imaginations. The activity provided a fun and imaginative way to teach character traits to children and prompted healthy discussion between parent and child about the value and importance of these traits.
“I had so many ideas and found myself in new territory,” said Colvin, a busy wife, business owner and mother of two young children ages seven and four. “I knew I needed help, but didn’t know where to turn. That’s when my good friend and old boss recommended SCORE. They have many different counselors, both active and retired, who have varied backgrounds along with the business experience I needed to learn from.” So Colvin began signing up for and attending SCORE’s low-cost, educational workshops on business-related topics. Colvin also took full advantage of SCORE’s unlimited, personalized business counseling, offered free to members either online, at their own place of business, or at SCORE chapter offices and business centers throughout the county.
Two years after it was established, Colvin’s new business is thriving. The first edition of Character Bear is out on the market and is currently on sale at Legoland, specialty toy stores like Learning Express and Thinker Things, as well as online through eBay and Colvin’s own website (www.characterbear.com). She is currently in negotiations to take the initial product concept into a licensed property with another company founded by Tom Wilson, who is better known for drawing the famous Ziggy cartoon.