It’s complicated and, since our competitors can read this, we can’t tell you everything. But, let’s talk about you first. What do you collect? Cars, trucks, motorcycles, aircraft, trains, dolls, action figures, robots or…? Maybe you don’t collect, but you like to play with toys. Race ‘em, transform ‘em, launch ‘em, crash ‘em or whatever. Toys aren’t just for kids. Just the possibilities mentioned above cover a huge amount of products. When you include different scales/sizes and whether it’s stock (just the way the factory made it) or modified you’ve just multiplied the number of choices again. And then there are colors…and decorations…and sometimes accessories… Ay carumba! What to do? What to do? If you are a collector you know that when you see that certain item, you want it. Although some people have a clear plan such as acquiring every red Corvette replica ever made regardless of scale or level of quality, others have a more general interest such as collecting 1:64 cool-looking (or ill or sick or whatever word that you want to use) cars and trucks. From past experience, we know that models of the Dodge Viper, Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Mustang both new and old are popular so we make lots of ‘em in many sizes, colors and variations. It’s our job to predict what you might want six months or a year from now. It’s called judgement and it can’t be learned from books nor easily described in words. We’re always looking out for new styles and categories so we keep an eye on car shows, magazines, movies, TV, music, shows, internet sites and everything else that displays creativity. We’re watching and we’re listening to what you tell us you want when you write to firstname.lastname@example.org Most importantly, our talented group of designers are creating. Not only Maisto products, but music, art and other creative activities outside of work. And that translates to keeping up with (and going beyond) the real world when they’re in the Maisto studio. Usually there are trends to follow. Sometimes military die-cast is hot, sometimes motorcycles are. So we jump on them. Often a vehicle manufacturer will give us a sneak preview of a new vehicle or concept with the hope that we’ll snap it up. If it’s right, we generally know it the instant we see it (just like you know when you see the latest “gotta have” item). Sometimes we like to think that we’re on to something early that will grow large. We did it with the Pro Rodz line and the Scion xB. Not enough time has elapsed since we launched roborodz but we think that it will be a winner, too. Other times we go with a gut feeling to produce products that maybe only one of our designers thinks is the hits (ummmm, we have to be kinda careful about spelling). A frustrating thing that happens is that we have what’s hot but we just can’t convince enough retailers to order it. If they don’t stock it, you won’t see it. We know it will sell, you know that you’d buy it but sometimes it just doesn’t happen because the guy in the middle wants to play it safe. If there aren’t enough orders we can’t begin production. Sometimes the retailer tells us what they want us to make. If it seems reasonable, and they order enough of them, we do. We also make special items that aren’t sold in the usual places and sometimes aren’t even sold at all. For example, once a year the Seattle Mariners give away a specially-decorated Maisto die-cast train car or locomotive at a home game. You won’t see these at your local store. Other specially marked items, called imprints in the trade, are available exclusively through the National Hockey League and Shell gas stations. Still, our taste or the retailers’ taste may not always be your taste. There’s nothing stopping you from making or modifying your own. Spray on a different color, do some hand lettering or apply decals, change the wheels or other details. Cut the body in half and stretch it with some sheet plastic and body putty. Chop the top or drop in a bigger engine. Hey, you can have fun doing this! The possibilities are endless and you’ll have a genuine one-of-a-kind item.