Sit, Lulu, Sit!

Toy Soldiers

Good things come in small packages.

Names and ages: John Weems, 43, and Joe Morrison, 53

Company name and description: Morrison Entertainment Group Inc. creates new toy concepts, then licenses them to various toy companies. One of their most successful projects: The "In My Pocket" series of toys, a line of pocket-sized figurines that includes "Kitty In My Pocket" and "Pony In My Pocket."

Based: El Segundo, California

Founded: 1989

Start-up costs: $100,000

1998 sales projections: $30 million

Prior pursuits: Both partners left successful careers at toy giant Mattel Inc. to found Morrison Entertainment.

Going to their heads? Last year, Morrison and Weems formed an alliance with British toy and collectible manufacturer Corinthian Marketing Inc.; the partners now own a minority stake in Corinthian and run the U.S. operations. Their first joint products, called Headliners (miniature figurines of baseball, basketball, football and hockey greats), have been a huge success--six million of the big-headed collectibles sold in 1997.

Not just child's play: "Nothing goes in a straight line when you're in a start-up environment," says Weems. "Whatever curves get thrown at you, you need to be flexible enough to change your business plan and maybe even your whole mind-set about what needs to be done to accomplish your goals, even when the circumstances change."

Contact Sources

The Mitchell Gold Co., (704) 632-9200, http://www.mitchellgold.com

Morrison Entertainment Group Inc., 300 Continental Blvd., El Segundo, CA 90245, (310) 726-5620

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This article was originally published in the January 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Sit, Lulu, Sit!.

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