Frequent Questions

Who are you?

We are the Small Actors Studio, a small, family-run company that has designed and built custom professional puppets for years. After many inquiries from our customers regarding mass-production, we branched out into puppet manufacturing. Eventually, our business grew to include plush and other toys. Our hands-on experience designing, sculpting, patterning and sewing puppet characters, as well as engineering joints and mechanisms, gives us a unique perspective on toy design and production that other companies cannot offer. And, yes, we still create one-of-a-kind custom puppets. For more information on those, you can visit us at

What kinds of toys can be mass produced?

Just about anything you might have in mind. Most commonly, we are asked about finger puppets, hand puppets, and stuffed plush dolls or animals. Toys made of or including rubber or plastic parts are also possible, as are toys including electronic components (such as sound chips). We can do giant plush toys, baby toys, or dog toys as well.

What is the minimum or maximum order?

We don't have an absolute set minimum order, however, typically mass production begins to make the most economic sense at about 500 pieces and prices begin to drop off rather dramatically as quantities go up. If you have a question as to whether production in quantities of less than 500 will work for your product, please give us a call and we'll find out. No quantity is too large. Our factories are capable of producing hundreds of thousands of pieces if necessary.

How much do prototype samples cost?

We charge a small fee, usually between $250 and $500, to create a prototype toy for your approval. If you decide to place an order for manufacture, and your order is for 500 pieces or more, this sample fee is applied toward the costs of your order, less sample shipping costs. Initially, photos of the prototype from multiple angles are e-mailed to the client for comments. We will modify the prototypes until they look right in photos and then the physical sample can be sent to the client for final approval prior to beginning production. The sample fee includes all necessary modifications and international shipping costs.

How long does the first prototype sample take to complete?

Once we have a design drawing to reference, we can typically get the prototype sample constructed within several days. If a design is fairly well fleshed out on paper, or is based on a toy that already exists, it is possible to have a photo-approved sample entering production in less than a week.

Where is the factory?

We use several different factories in China, depending upon the particular project.

How long does it take to get the product to me?

Most plush orders take about 30 days in production after sample approval. This can occasionally be shorter or a little longer depending on the design and quantities of a particular order. Shipping times can be 2 to 3 weeks for ocean freight, though air shipment at additional cost is also an option for rushed items. All told we recommend allotting 6-8 weeks for standard delivery. During certain times of the year, usually in late spring and early summer, the factories can be very busy fulfilling the next season's holiday orders. This may add a bit of time to sample construction and production runs.

Are rush orders possible?

Yes. As an example, we recently approved a sample, produced 1500 puppets, and shipped by air to a client in NY -- all in 10 calendar days. Pricing for severe rushes will likely be higher for a few reasons including air freight, international priority shipping, and factory design and overtime labor costs.

How much does all this cost?

As you can imagine, there is quite a bit of variation in price per piece, depending upon the design and quantities produced. Differences in pricing by only a few cents can add up over an order of a few thousand pieces and hence we are always striving to offer you the most competitive price possible without compromising quality in the production process. We will give you a free, no obligation quote on your project. Frequently, we can analyze a design and give you a ballpark range of pricing in a day or less.

How about shipping costs, tariffs, and customs fees?

We usually include all duties, customs clearance, and transportation from the factory to your front door, in our per piece price to you . If for some reason you prefer to handle shipping through your own carrier, we can also quote you a price without all of the above.