Interview with Vivian Greene on Learning to Dance in the Rain and More

February 14, 2017

Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

My chubby little Kisses characters began as a line of greeting cards which evolved into a syndicated comic strip and practically everything you'd see Mickey Mouse or Snoopy adorn. 

 

The cards were even in a chain of 55 salons. I was getting my nails polished (I don't wear the fake ones) and the manicurist was trying her best to hold back tears. She did not speak English, but I understood enough Spanish to learn her 4 year old son was in the hospital. They had been in an accident that day. She wanted to know how to take the bus. I said I'd drive her. Her boss said if she left, not to come back. She had appointments scheduled to the evening, and she wasn't going to have the ladies who do expensive acrylic just do Maria's job. Simple manicures. I told Maria I needed help in the ladies’ room, and stole her. She was from Bolivia, did not speak a word of English. We picked up her son and they moved in with me. She surprised me at Christmas with the handmade dolls you see - then embroidered my Kisses characters on hats and scarfs, etc. So that's how it started. When I exhibited a couple of them in my booth at the Book Expo, licensing offers soon followed.

 

What trends do you see in toys or games that excite or worry you?

Let's take TROLLS. I absolutely Love Love Love the movie. I wish I could help design the merchandise even though they are not my own creation, because the theme very much is just what the theme of Kisses and the trademark of all of my work says "All that is real is seen with the heart."®  The toys don't say anything... and there is so much potential there.

 

What's worrisome is the abuse and child labor still reported today. There have been many investigations, but no results in ending the problem.

 

What advice can you give to inventors who are presenting new toy or game ideas to you?

Embody elements of the stories and quotes of mine that are so popular.

 

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...

It's about learning to dance in the rain.

            ©Vivian Greene

 

Giving is the highest expression of our power.

 

Life is for giving so forgiveness is the key.

 

Hug your dentist. He has fillings too.

 

 

What was your favorite toy or game as a child?

My crayons were and still are my best friend. I had only one doll named Maggie. She had one arm. Maggie was special and needed me and I would teach her what she still could do with one arm.

 

What is the worst job you’ve ever had and what did you learn from it?

I'd only been working at an ad agency for three weeks when an executive grabbed my lovely twenty-one year old tush. I threw my coffee at him. I was fired. It was one of the best lessons of my life. I received my paycheck, a whopping severance pay, and my work was so good that the agency let me continue writing the commercials on a freelance basis. My $330 paycheck turned into $2390.00 - a lot of money back then.  I never had a "job" again. 

 

What inspires you?

Nature, creativity, music, films, dance, flying, puppies

 

Where were you born?

Seattle

 

Where did you grow up and how did that influence who you are today?

Mostly I was influenced by THE SEATTLE RAIN FESTIVAL

 

As you can see by my IP, it's been a great influence:

 

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...

It's about learning to dance in the rain.

            ©Vivian Greene

 

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

I canceled some contracts because products were being made by child slavery, or companies I don't respect were trying to horn in on my copyright. For some 20 years it knocked my Kisses creations out of the marketplace and not only did the products the Bad Guys made continue to be produced, they made things that didn't have the value that my messages would have offered. I learned the best way is to help those companies and new ones, for example, when we can turn an infringement into a legitimate license. When I can help the store to replace a vendor and be even more profitable. I'm good at this because I manufactured cards and gifts. I know how much the store needs to make per square foot - even the lighting, materials, cost of goods, etc. I also have worked with advocacy groups - who may not understand that - but have scores of volunteers and people working for a better world.