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HOT TOPIC Has anyone produced a backpack?

Woodsman81

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Ever since I started hunting with a backpack I have wanted features on my backpack that I can't find on the market (this is before I read the book). Now I am starting to figure out how they are going to work. Well I sketched them, but I am a terrible artist.
As I did my research on other backpack company's I found one that is about a hour away. After spending some time on his site I think this company builds some quality packs and has made me realize how much goes into building a quality backpack.
I saw on their site where they will do custom backpacks for you. Is it a bad idea to approach them and see if they would build me a protype and or would manufacture the pac? My fear is that my unique features will end up on there packs long before mine even hits the market.
 

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Is it a bad idea to approach them and see if they would build me a protype and or would manufacture the pac?
I would say that if they have their own brand and sell direct to consumer, you shouldn't approach them with your ideas.

It would be far better to find a backpack factory that produces backpacks for many different brands, and then discuss customization and exclusivity of your features with them.

These probably aren't the type of backpacks you are interested in but this site has "radical transparency" about their business model (I love this idea) and lists the name of their factory for every product they sell. Might be a great place to start: Men's Backpacks, Bags, Weekenders & More
 

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I have created a gym yoga bag before.

Here are some simple steps.

1. Find a factory in China. There are many.
2. Request a catalog and look for the back packs that resembles your idea but with your added features.
3. Request a sample. Choose a few factory. You will know which one are good quality. I usually look for the ones that can deliver on time and ships me in a well packaged product.
4. From there, you can take the back pack and start sketching your features on it. You can have them change the zipper, the style, the inner layers, inner pockets...etc. If you are a bad artist, hire someone from upwork. When I designed mine, I hired a textile designer. She made me 10 different textile designs in AI or EPS format. The factory can use these textile design and print it onto the fabric.

When I was in HK, there was a apparel expo that I attended where there was many many factories that sell their backpacks. A lot of them were great quality and that is how I landed my manufacture.
 
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Woodsman81

Woodsman81

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It would be far better to find a backpack factory that produces backpacks for many different brands, and then discuss customization and exclusivity of your features with them
That is what I thought but didn't know if there was a good way to approach them.
I think it may be good to have a prototype before finding a factory because I am going to be pretty specific on the way I want this bag to function. Does anyone have have any suggestion on getting a prototype made? I was thinking it would be best to work with someone local so it's a hands-on experience for making changes.
 
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Woodsman81

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I have created a gym yoga bag before.

Here are some simple steps.

1. Find a factory in China. There are many.
2. Request a catalog and look for the back packs that resembles your idea but with your added features.
3. Request a sample. Choose a few factory. You will know which one are good quality. I usually look for the ones that can deliver on time and ships me in a well packaged product.
4. From there, you can take the back pack and start sketching your features on it. You can have them change the zipper, the style, the inner layers, inner pockets...etc. If you are a bad artist, hire someone from upwork. When I designed mine, I hired a textile designer. She made me 10 different textile designs in AI or EPS format. The factory can use these textile design and print it onto the fabric.

When I was in HK, there was a apparel expo that I attended where there was many many factories that sell their backpacks. A lot of them were great quality and that is how I landed my manufacture.
There are a few high-quality hunting backpack companies out there. Is there a way to find out who manufactures their stuff so that I could have the same factory make mine?
 

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I have created a gym yoga bag before.

Here are some simple steps.

1. Find a factory in China. There are many.
2. Request a catalog and look for the back packs that resembles your idea but with your added features.
3. Request a sample. Choose a few factory. You will know which one are good quality. I usually look for the ones that can deliver on time and ships me in a well packaged product.
4. From there, you can take the back pack and start sketching your features on it. You can have them change the zipper, the style, the inner layers, inner pockets...etc. If you are a bad artist, hire someone from upwork. When I designed mine, I hired a textile designer. She made me 10 different textile designs in AI or EPS format. The factory can use these textile design and print it onto the fabric.

When I was in HK, there was a apparel expo that I attended where there was many many factories that sell their backpacks. A lot of them were great quality and that is how I landed my manufacture.
There are a lot of companies on www.makersrow.com that specialize is manufacturing and designing bags here in the US.

It will be pricier than China but you'll be able to say "made or assembled" in the US and get exactly what you want.

If you want to create a sewn product from scratch, you are looking at about a year MINIMUM before you get a fully custom sample in your hand. So if time is more important than a fully custom product, you may want to go with the China option as mentioned above. If that is the case, find a manu that makes something close to what you are looking for and modify it.

Also you may want to consider your market. People who hunt and shoot in the US are more likely to prefer a brand that has "made in America" on it. If you go that route, try to stay in the premium side of the market.

2nd also, you should probably do a mockup/photoshop prototype and test market demand via FB/ IG ads before you start approaching manufacturers.
 
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There are a lot of companies on www.makersrow.com that specialize is manufacturing and designing bags here in the US.

It will be pricier than China but you'll be able to say "made or assembled" in the US and get exactly what you want.

If you want to create a sewn product from scratch, you are looking at about a year before you get a fully custom sample in your hand. So if time is more important than a fully custom product, you may want to go with the China option as mentioned above. If that is the case find a manu that makes something close to what you are looking for and modify it.

Also you may want to consider your market. People who hunt and shoot in the US are more likely to prefer a brand that has "made in America" on it. If you go that route, try to stay in the premium side of the market.

2nd also, you should probably do a mockup/photoshop prototype and test market demand via FB/ IG ads before you start approaching manufacturers.
+1

Listen to this guy, he knows this market very well.
 

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How many 'hunting back packs' were sold last year?

Think I'd dig around into just how big or small this market may be. Hit up the NRA and hit up state wildlife and conservation offices to see how many hunting licenses were sold last year. Then estimate how many of those people buy a hunting back pack in their lifetime. (I have one and probably will never buy another)

Then do some paid traffic market research with a photoshop and bullet point listing. Also do some keyword research seeing how many searches are made for hunting back packs.

Don't spend a year making something unless you know someone wants it. Someone other than you and a couple of buddies that said they might want one....

Like the idea a lot. Prove the market is there and big enough to build a company before you go too far down the path.
 
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Woodsman81

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Thank you! looks like I have some work to do
 

markK

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Thank you! looks like I have some work to do

Another option to possibly consider:
If after you do the research and realize that the market may not be large enough to build a business around your design features, you might consider reaching out to the established companies and see if they look at new design ideas. If they do, and you can establish a licensing agreement, you get to see your idea come to the market and make passive income.

The up-side is they already have manufacturing, marketing, and distribution established. You would just be adding to their product line. Check to see where they would sell your backpack design...REI, Bass Pro, etc.

The down-side is that you lose some Control, but you do gain Time because they do all the work. You make less money per unit sold, but don't have all the overhead depending to what Scale you would build the business.
Your Scale would then be limited to their distribution (i.e. how many stores they are in or online sales potential)

You could possibly protect your ideas with a "design" patent, which is pretty inexpensive. I'm not sure if you could get a "utility" patent on your design features. The "utility" patents cost a lot more.

This might be worth considering, depending on your research.
 
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Woodsman81

Woodsman81

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You could possibly protect your ideas with a "design" patent, which is pretty inexpensive. I'm not sure
That might work with my concealed carry backpack idea.

Keyword searches per month Per. Wordtracker.
Bow hunting backpack 5400
Best hunting pack 1300
Best hunting pack 1000
Wal-Mart hunting backpacks 390
Hunting backpacks Walmart 390
Easton hunting packs 190
Blaze orange hunting packs 90
Shed hunting packs 90
Concealed carry backpack 2900
Concealed carry backpacks 2900
Are these numbers good?
I was going to work on how many hunting backpacks were sold last year next. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do this?
 

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MakeMoreMoves

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There are a lot of companies on www.makersrow.com that specialize is manufacturing and designing bags here in the US.

It will be pricier than China but you'll be able to say "made or assembled" in the US and get exactly what you want.

If you want to create a sewn product from scratch, you are looking at about a year MINIMUM before you get a fully custom sample in your hand. So if time is more important than a fully custom product, you may want to go with the China option as mentioned above. If that is the case, find a manu that makes something close to what you are looking for and modify it.

Also you may want to consider your market. People who hunt and shoot in the US are more likely to prefer a brand that has "made in America" on it. If you go that route, try to stay in the premium side of the market.

2nd also, you should probably do a mockup/photoshop prototype and test market demand via FB/ IG ads before you start approaching manufacturers.
In the process of doing my own entirely sewn product as well. Not a backpack though. Silly me...I thought i could get a fully custom sample in like a month. haha. What I struggle with also is going entirely lean on this. It is easy to get mockups for traditional stuff like T-shirts, hoodies, common jackets, shampoo bottles, books, etc.. But something entirely custom, especially clothing or a backpack for a mockup is hard to find.

I am sure others will find it helpful as well if anyone knows someone that does entirely custom mockups, none of that template crap.
 
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Woodsman81

Woodsman81

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In the process of doing my own entirely sewn product as well. Not a backpack though. Silly me...I thought i could get a fully custom sample in like a month. haha. What I struggle with also is going entirely lean on this. It is easy to get mockups for traditional stuff like T-shirts, hoodies, common jackets, shampoo bottles, books, etc.. But something entirely custom, especially clothing or a backpack for a mockup is hard to find.

I am sure others will find it helpful as well if anyone knows someone that does entirely custom mockups, none of that template crap.
How did you go about finding someone to build your product? If it is a company that you think would be able to help me would you mind disclosing who they are?
I was thinking of putting an ad on Craigslist or trying to find someone local that does Gear Repair and see if they would build me a Frankenstein backpack as a prototype out of some new used packs.
I have no intentions of doing a 3D mock-up because you cannot show functions with it. I think a prototype would much better serve me even though it may cost three times as much.
 

MakeMoreMoves

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How did you go about finding someone to build your product? If it is a company that you think would be able to help me would you mind disclosing who they are?
I was thinking of putting an ad on Craigslist or trying to find someone local that does Gear Repair and see if they would build me a Frankenstein backpack as a prototype out of some new used packs.
I have no intentions of doing a 3D mock-up because you cannot show functions with it. I think a prototype would much better serve me even though it may cost three times as much.
Maker's Row. The company I worked with solely does clothing, so they wouldn't be able to help with backpacks. Never heard of this Frankenstein backpack thing. But yeah, building a backpack seems significantly harder.
 
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Greg R

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Maker's Row. The company solely does clothing, so they wouldn't be able to help with backpacks. Never heard of this Frankenstein backpack thing. But yeah, building a backpack seems significantly harder.
That is completely false. There are pages of sewing contractors and designers who do bags.
 

MakeMoreMoves

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That is completely false. There are pages of sewing contractors and designers who do bags.
I was assuming OP knew that Makers Row is a platform. I was stating that the specific company i work with only does clothing. That is what the OP asked for.
 

Greg R

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I was assuming OP knew that Makers Row is a platform. I was stating that the specific company i work with only does clothing. That is what the OP asked for.
My bad. I misunderstood you. +2 For Makers Row.
 

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I was going to work on how many hunting backpacks were sold last year next. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to do this?
I'm in this market... both on the brand side and as a consumer. I'm sure you know there are a ton of hunting packs sold every year.

I spent $600 for one of the best on the market last year.
The real question here is... Is your idea actually any better/different? If so, how much?
I would say it needs to be drastically different than whats available now for anyone to take notice.

You have companies like; Kifaru, Stone Glacier, Exo Mountain Gear, Eberlestock, Oregon Pack Works, Kuiu, etc. that are dominating the premium market.
And companies like; Badlands, Tenzing, Sitka, Cabelas, Bass Pro, etc. offering more affordable packs to hunting market.

Not to mention the slew of companies making tactical backpacks.

How big of a need are you really filling with a new pack with a couple new features? Just something to consider. :)
 
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Woodsman81

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The real question here is... Is your idea actually any better/different? If so, how much?
I would say it needs to be drastically different than whats available now for anyone to take notice.
You are hitting the nail on the head perfectly with one of my main concerns. I keep asking myself is this backpack just for me or will other people like it. You're right there is so many great backpack companies already out there it is a daunting task to try to research them all and can I really compete with them.
As of now I have gotten a little side tracked at the moment. @markK mentioned a design patent and think one of my features that was originally on the back burner has got my main focus right now. I have been doing a lot of research trying to figure out if someone else already has it built into there pack. It may mean building a different pack to start with for a brand name and then following through with the pack of my dreams.
Does anyone have any advice on design patents?
Thank you all for you advice!
 

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You are hitting the nail on the head perfectly with one of my main concerns. I keep asking myself is this backpack just for me or will other people like it. You're right there is so many great backpack companies already out there it is a daunting task to try to research them all and can I really compete with them.
As of now I have gotten a little side tracked at the moment. @markK mentioned a design patent and think one of my features that was originally on the back burner has got my main focus right now. I have been doing a lot of research trying to figure out if someone else already has it built into there pack. It may mean building a different pack to start with for a brand name and then following through with the pack of my dreams.
Does anyone have any advice on design patents?
Thank you all for you advice!
Yea, stop thinking about patents.

Too much thinking and not enough action here. You don't even need to look at patents until you make a product and you won't need to buy one until you've proven some sales.

If you've got your soft proof already, start calling manufacturers on Makers Row and get this going. You're wasting time at this point.
 
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Woodsman81

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Yea, stop thinking about patents.

Too much thinking and not enough action here. You don't even need to look at patents until you make a product and you won't need to buy one until you've proven some sales.

If you've got your soft proof already, start calling manufacturers on Makers Row and get this going. You're wasting time at this point.
Should I spend the extra 65 dollars a month on the concierge service?
 

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I am not so great at drawing. So got out the scissors and duct tape. Cut up a few old backpacks and started making a demo to bring to a manufacturer. This was helpful for me I quickly ran into some function problems. Hopefully the manufacturer will be able to make it function better than me cutting up old 5 gallon buckets and bending them into place with a butane torch.
I also signed up for makers row. I search for backpacks in Colorado. There are four companies that came up none of them have any reviews. One says they manufacture military backpacks. Think I will hit them up first.
How many manufactures should I be getting a prototype/sample from?
Should I bring a non disclosure agreement?
I was hoping to start with something small like 20 bags and prove there is a market. Is this feasible?
What questions should I ask?
 

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Research.
Formulate a plan.
Get to work.

You have been at it for 10 days.

Some threads on the inside have gone years.

What are your next steps?
 

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I am not so great at drawing. So got out the scissors and duct tape. Cut up a few old backpacks and started making a demo to bring to a manufacturer. This was helpful for me I quickly ran into some function problems. Hopefully the manufacturer will be able to make it function better than me cutting up old 5 gallon buckets and bending them into place with a butane torch.
I also signed up for makers row. I search for backpacks in Colorado. There are four companies that came up none of them have any reviews. One says they manufacture military backpacks. Think I will hit them up first.
How many manufactures should I be getting a prototype/sample from?
Should I bring a non disclosure agreement?
I was hoping to start with something small like 20 bags and prove there is a market. Is this feasible?
What questions should I ask?
Anything is feasible man! Just don't be scared of trying and remember, above everything else you'll learn as you go so regardless it'll be a worthwhile experience.

None of us here know exactly how this is going to work out for you or what you'll encounter on this journey. Don't think too much about it just do it.

Don't worry about NDA's or someone stealing your idea, just move forward and figure it out as you go. :)
 
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Woodsman81

Woodsman81

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Research.
Formulate a plan.
Get to work.

You have been at it for 10 days.

Some threads on the inside have gone years.

What are your next steps?
Start talking to manufactures and getting samples made?
 

motivatedesign

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I have created a gym yoga bag before.

Here are some simple steps.

1. Find a factory in China. There are many.
2. Request a catalog and look for the back packs that resembles your idea but with your added features.
3. Request a sample. Choose a few factory. You will know which one are good quality. I usually look for the ones that can deliver on time and ships me in a well packaged product.
4. From there, you can take the back pack and start sketching your features on it. You can have them change the zipper, the style, the inner layers, inner pockets...etc. If you are a bad artist, hire someone from upwork. When I designed mine, I hired a textile designer. She made me 10 different textile designs in AI or EPS format. The factory can use these textile design and print it onto the fabric.

When I was in HK, there was a apparel expo that I attended where there was many many factories that sell their backpacks. A lot of them were great quality and that is how I landed my manufacture.
I appreciate the time you took to write this out. It caught my interest.

If I can ask, you referred to this as something you did in the past, why is it not something that you continued with? Is it because of the saturation? Is it because of the funds needed to get yourself off the ground? I'm just very curious because it sounds like you invested a considerable amount of time to learn all of this, but abandoned it?
 

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When you are lost in the woods, what do you do? Do you ask a tree what to do? Is it better to select a course of action and be decisive? If you go the wrong way for a little while and realize it, what do you do?

Use your wits, your knowledge, your equipment, your studies........ there is big game in these hills ....... you just need to put a plan together, provision the hunt, stalk the prey, and make the shot!

Hope that helps!
 

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I'm in a similar situation: I had an idea for a feature I wanted to have on an existing outdoor product, and hacked together a prototype. (It's an electronics thing, and I'm not really an electronics guy, but the prototype does what I wanted).

Some quick research revealed that one of the main manufacturers for the existing outdoor product created a similar add-on product a few years ago, but it's since been discontinued. The execution of the add-on product didn't work well & got bad reviews--but buyers liked the idea.

Market size is kinda hard to gauge:
  • the 2 main manufacturers of the main product have 80-150 employees each
  • 1 of the manufacturers of the main product generates ~$150MM annual revenue
  • monthly search volume for the main product is ~10,000
So, not sure what my next action should be:
  1. contact the 2-3 leading manufacturers about licensing my idea (not sure if I want to go down the road of manufacturing it on my own--licensing would be easier)
  2. refine the prototype & get feedback
  3. validate / gauge interest with a simple PPC campaign (using a simple demo video or photos), and send would-be buyers to an "out of stock" page
My gut says to try #3 (simple, quick validation).

Thoughts?
 
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Woodsman81

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Some quick research revealed that one of the main manufacturers for the existing outdoor product created a similar add-on product a few years ago, but it's since been discontinued. The execution of the add-on product didn't work well & got bad reviews--but buyers liked the idea.
Sounds like you already have soft validation if you can solve the problems in the bad reviews. Can you do that and still hit the price point people would pay?
 

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