Just an update on this -- we have everything lined up now, aside from finish painters, and are working on that plus designing a full line. I've pitched a number of retailers who carry Schleich, Papo, Safari and/or Bullyland figures, and have had some commitments to carry and feature our products when they're available. I anticipate (and fervently hope) that we'll have our first retail products being put in front of consumers by the holiday season, which makes me estatic.
More germane to the spirit of this forum, I have been taking extremely detailed notes on the process, and plan to condense them into an ebook going into every stage, from what inspired me to come up with the product in the first place, to how I worked on determining potential consumer demand; trademark and copyright research (to make sure I wasn't getting into something that already existed, but of which I wasn't aware) building prototypes, canvassing manufacturers and cold calling retailers to get from idea to products on the shelves. I'm not selling anything -- this will be a free book, which I hope to have completed by spring of next year, assuming we get products on the shelves in time for Christmas.
I'm pretty excited about this -- I don't think it's going to make any money worth mentioning, but I do think that if successful it might well turn into a genuinely profitable business in the future. More noteworthy, if we can get products on the shelf by Christmas, this means that the entire timeline from idle thought to retail product will run about nine months. I had the idea in March, literally just a random "Wouldn't it be cool if...?" thought that I had while playing with my five-year-old. Assuming I don't do a lot of travel, particularly to China, I estimate that when all is said and done I'll have spent less than $5,000 on this proof-of-concept exercise, and made at least some of that back. This is not to go on about how awesome I am -- I hardly need any ego reinforcement -- but merely to try to drive home the point that possibilities are endless when you keep your eyes and mind open, and are willing to do a little work and take a little risk in furtherance of making things happen.
Did I mention I'm excited? :)