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2. Taking Action & Getting on with it.

Anything related to matters of the mind

Spenny

Bronze Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Nov 16, 2022
146
255
United Kingdom
This continues on from my last post of Keeping Myself Accountable. I'm posting weekly to keep myself accountable & see my progresssion. I'm posting a day early.

Progress so far
Ticked off 3/3 goals from last week.

Finished Chemistry Stencil Prototype & Researched Manufacturers
I'm currently developing this product: a chemistry stencil. I'm a chem. student - drawing these repetitive and annoying shapes can be a drag in lectures and I've been exploring ways to solve this need (of course after doing market research). Its a small market, but I think its worthwhile doing. The strategy is to get a prototype & pitch it to my university - also sell some of these online. After some sales I can then go to other universities to sell to.

Never done CAD before, but taught myself over the past week. Had to do this because a laser cutter can only read CAD .dxf files plus I'm sick of relying outsourcing. Also added in some more annoying to draw shapes. Waiting back on a manufacturer for a quote of how much it'll cost to make a prototype & get it made in stainless steel.
1670101787869.png1670100962974.png
V1 on GoogleDraw // V2 in LibreCAD

Key features that make this different to competitors
  • Quality & bendable stainless steel - the others are plastic
  • Sustainability - metal is more recyclable than plastic (plus it lasts longer)
  • Shapes that are not avalible on existing products - the ones I saw had bits missing.
  • Size of a credit card - easily deployed.
  • Space for a logo (in the case for selling to universities)

Creating a flow diagram for my co-founder
This is for the other business. We do student merchandise for university societies - they're lazy and cant be bothered to look for a manufacturer & in most cases they don't know where to start

Haven't made a massive flow diagram before either. This details our quoting system. Going to have a meeting with him tomorrow on if this is good or absolute crap.
1670102467023.png

Researching bulk T-Shirts
I've found some sustainable garments that I'm interested in getting in for our press, now going to have a meeting with my cofounders with the results I've researched.

BONUS - Sales, Sales, Sales!
Began doing cold emailing prospect clients for the Merchandise business. Already contacted 14 to date. 0 have come back.

Final Thoughts
This past week I've found myself disappointed. Lots of things I've done have been action faking and I've been looking to address this. Still been really looking critcally at what I've been doing in my life up to this point.

Next Steps
  • Cold email five potential clients everyday for the next week. I got this massive list that I need to churn through.
  • See if I can get a prototype/an order in for the stencil.
  • To be honest I need to do some study for chemistry - gonna begin revision on Monday.
Cheers
 
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Robdavis

Bronze Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Nov 16, 2022
116
148
United Kingdom
This continues on from my last post of Keeping Myself Accountable. I'm posting weekly to keep myself accountable & see my progresssion. I'm posting a day early.

Progress so far
Ticked off 3/3 goals from last week.

Finished Chemistry Stencil Prototype & Researched Manufacturers
I'm currently developing this product: a chemistry stencil. I'm a chem. student - drawing these repetitive and annoying shapes can be a drag in lectures and I've been exploring ways to solve this need (of course after doing market research). Its a small market, but I think its worthwhile doing. The strategy is to get a prototype & pitch it to my university - also sell some of these online. After some sales I can then go to other universities to sell to.

Never done CAD before, but taught myself over the past week. Had to do this because a laser cutter can only read CAD .dxf files plus I'm sick of relying outsourcing. Also added in some more annoying to draw shapes. Waiting back on a manufacturer for a quote of how much it'll cost to make a prototype & get it made in stainless steel.
View attachment 46168View attachment 46166
V1 on GoogleDraw // V2 in LibreCAD

Key features that make this different to competitors
  • Quality & bendable stainless steel - the others are plastic
  • Sustainability - metal is more recyclable than plastic (plus it lasts longer)
  • Shapes that are not avalible on existing products - the ones I saw had bits missing.
  • Size of a credit card - easily deployed.
  • Space for a logo (in the case for selling to universities)

Creating a flow diagram for my co-founder
This is for the other business. We do student merchandise for university societies - they're lazy and cant be bothered to look for a manufacturer & in most cases they don't know where to start

Haven't made a massive flow diagram before either. This details our quoting system. Going to have a meeting with him tomorrow on if this is good or absolute crap.
View attachment 46169

Researching bulk T-Shirts
I've found some sustainable garments that I'm interested in getting in for our press, now going to have a meeting with my cofounders with the results I've researched.

BONUS - Sales, Sales, Sales!
Began doing cold emailing prospect clients for the Merchandise business. Already contacted 14 to date. 0 have come back.

Final Thoughts
This past week I've found myself disappointed. Lots of things I've done have been action faking and I've been looking to address this. Still been really looking critcally at what I've been doing in my life up to this point.

Next Steps
  • Cold email five potential clients everyday for the next week. I got this massive list that I need to churn through.
  • See if I can get a prototype/an order in for the stencil.
  • To be honest I need to do some study for chemistry - gonna begin revision on Monday.
Cheers
With this student merchandise idea, can you not use a website that produces merch to your design? I think that redbubble does this and I am sure that there are others. In that case all you would need to do in principle would be to receive an order, do a design, agree it with the customer and then upload it to the website and then purchase the required number from the website. I just think that it might simplify your process a bit. You would need to decide if you wanted the website to despatch the products direct to customer or if you wanted them to come to you first to give yourself a check at quality control before onward despatch.
Looking at your chemistry stencils, there are a couple of things that niggle me. It's worth noting that I've never been a chemistry student so I may be way off base. The first is, does steel really add a lot of value? My impression is that steel is much more expensive than good quality plastic but doesn't make the stencil last that much longer. My guess would be that many of your customers need the stencil to last for the length of their degree and then not much longer, they will get a job that doesn't involve drawing molecules. Also in my experience students tend to be quite broke and so are very price sensitive.
The other thing is that when you originally showed us the shapes that you wanted to be able to draw, you had images like a benzene ring with three double bonds depicted. But your stencils to me don't seem to allow those extra lines to be drawn. Also you had a "chair" shape which depicted a ring molecule from the side and had some shading on it to represent the fact that the ring wasn't flat, it was bent in 3D. Your stencils to me don't seem to make it easy to do that shading either.
Well done on taking action in the last week, that's the important thing I think, that you are moving forwards all the time.
I hope that this comment is useful, I don't mean it to come across as overly critical, I hope it doesn't. Feel free to ignore everything I've said if you think it's wrong.
 
Last edited:

Spenny

Bronze Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
Speedway Pass
Nov 16, 2022
146
255
United Kingdom
With this student merchandise idea, can you not use a website that produces merch to your design? I think that redbubble does this and I am sure that there are others. In that case all you would need to do in principle would be to receive an order, do a design, agree it with the customer and then upload it to the website and then purchase the required number from the website. I just think that it might simplify your process a bit. You would need to decide if you wanted the website to despatch the products direct to customer or if you wanted them to come to you first to give yourself a check at quality control before onward despatch.
I'm not really looking to do a drop shipping model. The main problems I have with this method is:
A) its not individuals making a design, its someone making a design on behalf of a group. That works well if its a small order (0-5) but I'm looking to do 0 to 500 for a single order.
B) No barrier to entry. Yes going through this process takes time but thats what make the opportunity. Everyone looks to do that sort of thing and the only people who make lots of money are the people making the t shirts. Anything simple to set up is not a business that will last.
C) It's expensive to buy off of those sites & I'll make no money off of it to make it worth while. The margins will be horendus as well as the time I put into filling the pockets of the suppliers.

Looking at your chemistry stencils, there are a couple of things that niggle me. It's worth noting that I've never been a chemistry student so I may be way off base. The first is, does steel really add a lot of value? My impression is that steel is much more expensive than good quality plastic but doesn't make the stencil last that much longer. My guess would be that many of your customers need the stencil to last for the length of their degree and then not much longer, they will get a job that doesn't involve drawing molecules. Also in my experience students tend to be quite broke and so are very price sensitive.
The price doesn't actually add that much I believe. I got some general ideas of pricings for 200:
PETG (plastic): £2.10/item
Stainless Steel: £2.90/item

It adds another 80p to the costings, but my retail price target is £5 an item (I'm sure I could sell it for £6 as metal though). Even if I did sell it for £5, whatever, I lose 80p on a product that A) gets another USP B) is slightly harder to replicate for backyard laser cutter enjoyers & C) I know, and my customers know, that they have a sustainable product that can be melted down and used again.

The other thing is that when you originally showed us the shapes that you wanted to be able to draw, you had images like a benzene ring with three double bonds depicted. But your stencils to me don't seem to allow those extra lines to be drawn. Also you had a "chair" shape which depicted a ring molecule from the side and had some shading on it to represent the fact that the ring wasn't flat, it was bent in 3D. Your stencils to me don't seem to make it easy to do that shading either.
I see what you mean by not being able to draw the extra thickness of the lines, but there's not much valuable space on here. I dont draw many chair conformers as much as I used to, but I know I draw a hella lot of benzene rings. I'll put it in if its a specific request and I hear it a lot.

Well done on taking action in the last week, that's the important thing I think, that you are moving forwards all the time.
I hope that this comment is useful, I don't mean it to come across as overly critical, I hope it doesn't. Feel free to ignore everything I've said if you think it's wrong.
No thank you, I'll take the comment on the extra line thickness bit, because I need to get feedback on it. I don't want to come across aggressive either. My ideas are seperate from me, I will do as the market demands me to.
 

Robdavis

Bronze Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Speedway Pass
Nov 16, 2022
116
148
United Kingdom
I'm not really looking to do a drop shipping model. The main problems I have with this method is:
A) its not individuals making a design, its someone making a design on behalf of a group. That works well if its a small order (0-5) but I'm looking to do 0 to 500 for a single order.
B) No barrier to entry. Yes going through this process takes time but thats what make the opportunity. Everyone looks to do that sort of thing and the only people who make lots of money are the people making the t shirts. Anything simple to set up is not a business that will last.
C) It's expensive to buy off of those sites & I'll make no money off of it to make it worth while. The margins will be horendus as well as the time I put into filling the pockets of the suppliers.


The price doesn't actually add that much I believe. I got some general ideas of pricings for 200:
PETG (plastic): £2.10/item
Stainless Steel: £2.90/item

It adds another 80p to the costings, but my retail price target is £5 an item (I'm sure I could sell it for £6 as metal though). Even if I did sell it for £5, whatever, I lose 80p on a product that A) gets another USP B) is slightly harder to replicate for backyard laser cutter enjoyers & C) I know, and my customers know, that they have a sustainable product that can be melted down and used again.


I see what you mean by not being able to draw the extra thickness of the lines, but there's not much valuable space on here. I dont draw many chair conformers as much as I used to, but I know I draw a hella lot of benzene rings. I'll put it in if its a specific request and I hear it a lot.


No thank you, I'll take the comment on the extra line thickness bit, because I need to get feedback on it. I don't want to come across aggressive either. My ideas are seperate from me, I will do as the market demands me to.
Thanks for the reply. You've obviously thought it through a lot, which is good.
 
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