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Created perfect prototype, need to find manufacturer...

Discussion in 'Product Creation, Inventing, Importing, Sourcing' started by Daytraderz, Nov 13, 2017 at 2:34 AM.

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  1. Daytraderz
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    I have created something that I plan on building a business around. I have registered the domain name, applied for a trademark, and am currently waiting to discuss the costs of having a patent attorney file my non-provisional patent vs. me doing it myself. I have figured my next step is to find someone who will be able to manufacture the product itself. I will order/send the items being used in the product and just need someone to assemble it. My question is do I need to use a manufacturing rep. to help me find this company or can anyone think of a more simple (and cost efficient) approach? I'm thinking I could go to the local fabric store and see if I can just get a few of the older ladies there to sew it for me for $x/item. It doesn't take too long to sew and isn't relatively large.

    Any ideas and productive feedback would be much appreciated!
     
  2. timmy
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    timmy Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Hi......Search for "Stephen Key" in the search bar on this forum

    First don't assume your product is patentable. Use you own logic as to whether or not it could be easily copied. If patent protection is deemed to have nothing to offer, then first to market will be your only route. However , it may be possible to conceal within some of the "know how" and so allow extra time for your brand to dominate the target market. I would suggest you purchase enough materials to produce 2-3 units. That way someone is more likely to want to help as you have taken the first sting out of the process for your willing prototype builder. Find someone who has the skillset to make one unit and reward them well financially. Experiment to cut down on Material / make it more functional / add more features so that it has more added value to the end user. Where you go from there will be depending more on what it is, scaleability and logistics.... Good luck, stay focused and do not be distracted on logic.
     
  3. Daytraderz
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    My question wasn't pertaining to patent-ability, it was pertaining to manufacturing. The product is patent-able, I have already done thorough research on my own. A non-provisional patent will be filed which will protect me more than not having one for at least a year while i explore different routes to take with the business (run it or sell it).

    I appreciate the response though. I have started emailing different bag manufactures since my product uses the same materials as theirs and requires less work than a bag. I told them I will order the products myself and have them delivered to their store. You have a good point on the experiment portion as well, I am still finalizing the product and getting a finished prototype. The product came from an idea I had because of a trip I am going on in December so I have until then to get all of this done. I am using the trip to shoot an advertisement for the product while I travel. So hopefully, this will keep me focused. Although, it is beginning to make me not care about finals haha.
     
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  4. timmy
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    timmy Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    [QUOTE="Daytraderz, post: 652258 I have started emailing different bag manufactures since my product uses the same materials as theirs and requires less work than a bag..............

    ....look up Alibaba. I used a company called Success Bags for a sports bag run. Vita is the contact person there is lovely .....Unlikely to copy as they are solely production driven....No Specs. required........ Just a sample to send them and your off. Tell them you need a sample only before you will commit to ordering anything. However on first contact you must put on your sales & marketing hat to convince them of scaleability factor. Expect to pay. Good price on volumes of 10K +. Logo embroidery is included if you can provide a zip File.
     
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  5. Walter Hay
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    Walter Hay Platinum Contributor Speedway Pass

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    I would be wary of having the product made in China. Although I teach importing, from what you have written I think you would be better off having it made in the US. See comments in my AMA on the subject of copying.

    If it can be fabricated by old ladies with sewing machines I would think that is a great idea.

    Walter
     
  6. Daytraderz
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    I do not plan on using a company in China. After thought, for a business to keep its supply chain tight and not worry about errors in it, it is best to have it as close as possible. Just like rentals it seems; if the house is beside you, you are more likely to be successful with managing it. This way I can drive to the facility if need be and be more personable in my networking. I do not know how many old ladies I will eventually need, but during my 12 month provisional period I might as well start up with a couple in the bag (get it?) to handle the initial orders, while I negotiate with manufacturers on prices for bulk orders if more sales come through.
     
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  7. Walter Hay
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    Don't sell the old ladies short. See the thread GOLD I Built A Worldwide Business From Broke.

    @Carol Jones has built a great business with high volume production using such workers and also ones with disabilities. I have done likewise. Your supply chain will be secure and you are less likely to encounter copycats working for a manufacturer, whether in the USA or not.

    Walter
     
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  8. LateStarter
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    I'm manufacturing a product with a fabric component already.

    Look for a company that does contract cutting and contract sewing. If you have a local fashion district, start there. Knock on doors and talk to people. They'll help you to refine your design to make manufacturing easier and less expensive. The contract sewing company should also be able to create a digital pattern and nesting template for you to maximize your yield (efficiency) if you don't have this already.
     
  9. Greg Rutkowski
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    Great thread. I am also currently working on a sewn product that is nearly ready to take to the manufactures. I like the granny idea too but I would pay per unit, not per hour since they may be a little slower.

    Interested to hear how this unfolds for you since we are nearly at the same stage.

    Have you tested demand for your product yet as soft proof? I am currently getting realistic renderings photoshopped to check demand before I spend a bunch of dollars on actionfaking type expenses like corporations, logos, and such.

    Best of luck.
     
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  10. Greg Rutkowski
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    Greg Rutkowski Act, Assess, Adjust Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I didn't know that cut and sew manus also make patterns? (Both a question and a comment)
     
  11. LateStarter
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    Many (of the bigger ones) here do. They're a one stop shop. They laser cut the material rather than cutting by hand with printed templates. So they can create different nesting patterns in the fly depending on the quantities and styles/sizes you want.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk
     
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  12. LateStarter
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    I'd recommend creating a handful of real products to test with rather than mock ups. There's a lot your can't determine from a render.

    Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk
     
  13. Greg Rutkowski
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  14. Wolfman
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    Hi Day, Wow, you and I are at the same identical place. I filed the provisional (no need for an atty.) and I'm doing the research on the provisional application process. I suggest applying to USPTO's Patent Pro Bono Program. It cost me $55. It may be different in VA. It will take about a month to get an answer. You have to prove your income.
    My invention is super low-tech and I'm going to work on the prototype myself. We should talk about this and the presentation for down the road (mfg/investors). I'm at the point where I'm not sure about hiring a patent atty. but I'm going ahead w/ the research as if I won't hire one. That way even if I do hire one, I'll be a better client. But I'm definitely going to need help making the drawings for the application.
    Greg
     
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    Hi Timmy, I'm at almost the same stage w/ my invention (super low-tech.) I talked about the patent atty. dilemma below (apply for pro bono.) I'm going to need help w/ the drawings for the patent application. Any suggestions? What did you mean by "conceal w/ in some of the know-how"? The other thing that is giving me fits presently is deciding on a product/company name.
    I'm not near the marketing stage yet but I'm feeling it's important to have a name as early as possible. What do you think?
    Thanks for sharing,
    Greg
     
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  16. NH 2 Chicity
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    Made something similar in 2015.

    I used LinkedIn to find a shortlist of seamstresses and then reached out to a few. One had previously worked for a sports apparel company so her experience was insync with what I needed.

    From there, she built prototypes and we refined a few. She also made recommendations of which contract cutters and sewers to use.

    I stopped short of the patent because research showed demand didn't warrant a 30K investment but the lesson is there.

    Embed yourself with a smart seamstress and she will have connections that are very worthwhile.
     
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  17. Wolfman
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    Hi Day, I'm struggliing w/ something that you may be able to relate to--paranoia. I'm worried someone will steal my invention so at present I'm in a dilemma. You and the others here are (presently) strangers. So I am reluctant to reveal details. On the other hand, I don't know if I'll get the maximumum benefit if I don't risk sharing my invention.
    What do you think?
    Thanks,
    Greg
     
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  18. Walter Hay
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    My 20 year long manufacturing and exporting business that I sold 30 years ago was totally unrelated to the industry being discussed in this thread, but a general observation on the three main subjects raised might help.

    Making prototypes and production models.
    I started with almost zero cash, and initially re-labeled and resold products made by others but for which I had a much better use that they didn't know about. When I started making my own superior products I had to improvise, both when experimenting and finally for full scale production.

    The experiments were repeated ad nauseum, over and over again, on a very small scale, but when I got it right, I was able to use the techniques that I had learned in my experiments.

    Maybe making small versions of the products being designed by participants in this thread might be a low cost way to iron out any problems? This is where the grannies might shine.

    Even using low cost materials for those trial production models might help. In that case, testing for durability would have to wait.

    Patents.
    I didn’t patent any of my products because patents are too easy to bypass in the chemical industry with minor changes. Are you all sure that your product can’t be slightly modified to bypass your patent? Maybe someone else can make an improvement that you haven’t thought of. Beware of your patent being over-specific. For example if you specify a particular fabric, you might leave the way open for someone to use a different fabric. (Just an example to show that a Patent Attorney might be a good investment.)

    Labels.
    There was one thing on which I didn't skimp - labeling. I was competing against multi-national giants, so the labels had to look professional. I designed my own and shopped around until I found the best sources. Likewise, in my B2B importing business I didn't stint on labeling and the outcome was that supplying labels became a substantial part of the business when I franchised it in 4 countries.

    Choose your brand name and logo early and devise a marketing plan that is consistent in style, fonts, color schemes etc. Most people have a tendency to leave that all too late and they finish up with something that doesn't flow like a brand should.

    If you have carefully thought about what your logo should be, you should not have to spend a lot on logo design. Leaving it to an expensive designer without retaining control of the process is not a good idea. If you really know what you want you can hire a Fiverr gig with multiple changes so that they make a great logo that embodies your intentions.

    Walter
     
  19. Daytraderz
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    Hey Wolf, message me if you want to keep in touch and talk about anything at all. As for the paranoia, all I can say is do not reveal any serious points on your product. For instance, me saying my product relates to the same components in book bags is all I need to say in order to get to the discussion going on manufacturing. Try and keep the questions centralized on exactly what it is you are looking for help and thoughts on. Another thing, provisional patents are not expensive and they are able to be filed yourself if you do the right research and set up. They do not get accepted or denied, they only get "filed" (US is a first to file country so this is why it is relevant and useful). If you want to feel more comfortable, file the provisional patent (after thorough research) and then start asking questions. Keep in mind, you only have 12 months to file the non-provisional (super costly) from the mailing date of the provisional patent. I will be filing my provisional and putting the product on the market by the beginning of the new year and spend this first year doing market research and playing around with the field of the business. If I do not see value in continuing from there, I will drop it. I do not mind spending $1,000 and potentially losing it all on something that could potentially provide me with the life i'd like to live. Hope this helps, message me directly if you have questions or want to have a discussion!
     
  20. Daytraderz
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    Awesome feedback, much appreciated. You hit the nail on the head with the rough prototyping. I started this off by cutting up old thigns in my room and using whatever I possibly could to get a tangible rough prototype. This allowed me to see it and show it to my family to get their initial ideas and it even got my mom passionate enough to assist me making the prototypes (she can sew). Now I have someone to make all my prototypes while I finalize the design. It has only been a week since inception of the idea and I have had 4 generations of prototypes, each one becoming more simple and practical (while also cutting unnecessary costs and keeping the essence of the company).

    As for the patent, each industry is different so this advice is hard for anyone really (except patent attorneys, and even they have to have a science degree and usually in the field of patents they work in). There are three general levels for non-provisional patents to look at, 101/102/103. The latter being more difficult to prove than the previous. You are right on the windows being left open, that is why it is necessary to do good research and word the provisional patent as broad as possible while still executing the main things involved with your idea. For example, if you invent a new spoon, say how it works directly then say other ways that it could be made or work.
     
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  21. timmy
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    timmy Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    What I use ......Answer each of the following questions in 1 - 3 words

    What does it do ?

    What is the usp.

    What makes it different than whats currently out there.

    Any other wow factor (visual or side effect)


    Melt these 4 - 12 images back down to 2 words as most one word brands are already gone. Two words often gives more descriptive image of a physical product.
     
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    Hi Day, That is great advice about talking about details of my invention. There's no need to and plenty of risk. Aren't you worried that someone will copy-cat your invention before you get it fully patented? I know someone might still rip off my invention but I will do everything humanly possible to deter/prevent that.
    Did you come up w/ a name for your product yet? I'm struggling w/ that. You said "playing around with the field of business". That's another thing I'm struggling w/. Maybe I'm just dumb but it's hard for me to plan, and set goals and landmarks. Do you know of a book or something that can help? I'll call it a "Roadmap for Retards like Me".
    Thanks for listening, Greg
     
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    I got it!!! I'm going to call it the "Bazooka". (joking)
    But seriously, I did what you said and I think I have a good one. What is a "usp"?
    You are a huge help.
     
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  25. Wolfman
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    Hi Walter, Your post taught me a lot (some of which makes me squirm, but maybe it's better to squirm now.) That labelling emphasis hit a direct chord in my brain. For my invention a good label may be the key to the castle. Now I'm just going to file it away in my subconcious and wait for a brilliant idea to pop out in a few days. I tried to create a logo for a website before and it sucked.
    What is a "fiverr gig"? It sounds fun. My las logo experience was not fun so maybe that is why the result sucked.
    Thanks for all the good stuff--you have a lot to offer.
    Greg
     
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