Carle Wunderlich - Get Out in Front of Customers!


 What do you do in the industry?  

I am a Manufactures Rep. I represent around 20 different Toy and Game lines. We sell to the independent retailers in IL & IN.


What is your claim to fame in the industry?


The fact I’ve been in the toy business for 38 years.  My father and grandfather were retailers and carried toys in their stores. I have stuff about them and the toy business going back to the 1940’s. Now, my son is the 4th generation of Wunderlich that is in the toy business.


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


After college I worked for a Dept. Store in South Bend IN as a men’s clothing buyer for a several years and I was transferred back to the Chicago area to be a toy buyer for a large catalog on January 2, 1980. I didn’t really have a choice, up till then I was buying men’s clothing. It took about a month and I was going to be in the toy business for a long time.


What are you working on now?


Now is the time when customers want to get the buying finished so they can concentrate on sales in the store.  I have many appointments and traveling now.


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


Games and puzzles are on a big upswing. And not just young kids games , but games for teenagers and adults. Adult puzzles are the best sellers.  There is an item from Ravensburger that’s not a puzzle or game. Gravitrax , a fun science and engineering concepts like gravity , magnetism, and kinetics make STEM exciting.


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


Learn everything about the entire process from the idea in your head and to the game/toy on the store shelf. Call Mary she will get you all set up.


What advice would you give a young adult graduating from high school or college today?


Work! Always have a job, especially if you not sure exactly what you want to do.  Keep your eyes open for the right opportunity.


What does your typical day look like?


I start off by going thru my emails and trying to answer them. If I have an appointment I get everything together to get to my appointment. If I don’t have an appointment, I get caught up on paper work, and making appointments.


What’s your workspace setup like? 


I have a small office with toys and picture of my kids and grandkids. I don’t want it to be too comfortable, keeps me out of the office and in front of my customers.


What is the most rewarding part of your job?   


Anytime, I’m with a customer. Many of my customers I have known for over 30 years. They are more like friends than customers. I like to get to know them.