Tony Levine: Creator & Maker

Everything on these pages I created, produced, manufactured and internationally distributed over the span of 30 years.

More to come.

Tony Levine
Kizzymax Company.
About image

Big Teaze Toys

After years of being a Inventor and product designer, I would look at industries that were ripe for innovation. When I started research on products in the industry, like many others after me found, there was little concern for materials used, health and safety standards, mainstream marketing appeal. And honestly I thought it would push my boundaries, be eye opening and be fun. The question was where to start. I quickly realized I couldn’t compete with the old established large suppliers. So I had to have a strategy to be able to make unique product that had consumer appeal and sneak under the radar of the industry known for knockoffs. So I started with my own fears or ideas I had about adult toys and their relationships in our lives. So many people had these products, but so few people spoke of them publicly. Even fewer had any thoughts or concerns about the quality and safety of the materials used in products. With the thinking that people enjoyed Sex, But many were not knowledgeable about toys… I set out to make products that would create conversation and be able to get press exposure where usual adult products couldn’t get coverage. Discrete and humorous was a good place to start. I spoke to women who used the bath to masturbate, but didn’t want to leave toys out that people would find. That led me to the hide in plain site plan. The idea of a rubber duckie was perfect. It was approachable, non threading, marketing friendly and a great newbie toy for women or couples. I didn’t trust working with adult factories at the time, I had fears of knock offs, poor quality and standards. I also decided to do full bore Independent lab testing. Something I had never seen before in the industry. I didn’t rely on the manufacturers to supply test reports. I wanted my products to be able to meet safety standards and be able to prove we care about how are products are made. The ability to have a fun product that had great visual appeal made a huge difference in being able to get sales world wide and acceptance from large retailers that normally wouldn’t touch this category of product, even though they knew it was a very profitable market base. When I think about a product, I think about the idea, Manufacture ability and how to tell a story or issue that people can relate to. The adult industry, understandable so, didn’t want to take a risk on something sold to adults that looked like a toy. We never initially marketed it as an adult toy, but it took off like crazy when it was seen in Cosmopolitan magazine. And the industry changed their mind. They already felt vulnerable because their marketing and products and packaging were so sexist and dated. And wanted to stay out of site so they could charge what ever they wanted for the crap they sold.

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Ruff & Tumble Co.

I knew the pet industry was big, but that wasn’t the reason I started ruff and tumble. I had an idea for a product nobody made. It was perfect opportunity, no direct competition and a prebuilt consumer base that had a fear and need regarding their and their pets safety. I used to walk with my Dad and our dogs at night after work. On Fridays we would stop at 31 Flavors and get everyone ice cream. Including the dogs! We lived in area that didn’t have street lights at the time and the Main Street we walked in was pretty busy at night. Like many people we would carry a flashlight as we walked, but it was a pain in the ass. So one night I realized there was an answer for this problem that no one had brought to market. We engineered a way to build in a flashlight, batteries and reflectors for a retractable leash that was compact and convenient to carry in one hand. It took two years of research and developed. There was so much to learn about China factories communication and materials. I sat in factories for weeks to get things right. I had my first set of molds taken ransom from the first factory, so I had to start with a whole new factory and that took another year and tens of thousands of dollars in new mold costs. But once back in our feet things moved quickly and we had customers like Petco and Petsmart who had thousands of stores. Sharper image bought knock off product from my first factory, they claimed they had never seen my product before, but to their dismay I had a copy of the buyers signed fed receipt of my item I had sent them previously. Guess who would up helping me recoup my old factory mold costs  For years we focused in night safety products for dogs. We did well, but decided to move on as more and more customers were buying knock offs directly from China. Sort of takes the wind out of your soul. I had wanted to bring my sense of humor and creativity into the pet industry, but they were not willing to take the risks. If you ever happen to come across one of the early version of our Spotlight leash. You will find the engraved names of the people who helped and supported the start of the company. Especially my parents.

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Krushed Kritter Kompany of Kalifornia

If there was ever a product idea that was the result of gut instinct and lucky timing it was Krushed Kitty. In the 80’s I had worked doing R&D for the company run by ex Disney creatives that developed Teddy Ruxpin, a smash toy hit. Sadly, the company had a very large layoff and I lost the joy of working with some of the best people in the world. Around that time in the late 1980’s Garfield plush toys were stuck to inside of car windows across the world. It was such an annoying fad, but a very popular one. At the time an old friend of mine had been having breakfast meetings trying to brainstorm ideas that we could make and sell. After many joke and sketches, we decided to make a sarcastic resort to Garfield, within weeks some of my old toy friends made us samples. The first time we drove down the freeway we had people honking, waving and smiling at the half of a cat butt that hung from our trunk. We knew right them we had hit in something. Our first day at local toy trade show, our sales rep told us we would do well if we sold 500pcs. We actually sold 5000 the first day! We had a smile you couldn’t wipe off our faces. This project was the start of my real hands in education and experience in marketing, manufacturing and sales in a international level. It took 18 hour days working from my little bedroom office. It looked like it was Garfield smashed in the trunk of your car. Boy did we get shit for that. My partner and I loved cats, but people didn’t think we did. I still have hate mail from people damning me to hell for it. But there also love letters because people were telling us who to rush next. Gratitude of my ex partner for his energy and support.

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  • Los Angeles, California, United States