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HOT TOPIC UPSCALE: What do you think of my invention?

csalvato

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I looked at making a simple pocket, like a magazine rack you see at a doctors office to put your scale in that's mounted just above the baseboard. I thought that was going to be the perfect solution for me. For some people it probably is, but I'll explain why it doesn't work for me.

I don't think this explanation is something I can quantify and show as a true benefit to the customer. It's all about degrees of freedom. Objects not attached to anything have 6 degrees of freedom they can rotate about the X, Y & Z axis. They can also be translated in each of those directions.

People don't realize how much coordination it takes to pick up a 5 pound scale, rotate it around and place it in that pocket attached to the wall. It takes coordination to get it out of the pocket, flipped around and placed on the floor. I'm not saying it's difficult. It's not. I don't think most people would do it with one hand. But, how many times do you need to repeat this motion before you accidentally bang it into the wall and chip your paint or crack a wall tile? Same goes when your putting it down. You're tired, it's first thing in the morning and you bang the corner of the scale into your tile floor when your setting it down. Maybe you didn't break a tile or crack your glass scale this time. But if you're older, a little shaky or if your kids want to weigh themselves. I'll bet an accident is likely to happen. This manual manipulation of a scale was more than I wanted to do every morning (I'll admit, I'm lazy).

Back to degrees of freedom. A hinge is a simple mechanism. Your bathroom door opens and closes with just the push of one finger. It goes to its fully open to fully closed position with great ease. This is because it only has 1 degree of freedom. Now, remove one of the hinges (or both) and try to open and close it. Not so easy, but it can be done. Too many degrees of freedom.

UpScale is not a hinge. It rotates your scale while guiding it above the baseboard. When you want to use your scale, Upscale rotates it, lowers it towards the floor and pushes it out from the wall (you can't use a scale that is tight to the wall). UpScale's greatest benefit is that it has 1 degree of freedom. This 1 degree of freedom means this entire motion can be done with 1 finger(with the biggest, heaviest scale you can find). It can't bang your scale into the wall and the control you have with only 1 finger allows your scale to be gently placed on the floor. Even when you're not fully awake.

People buy things that they think they're going to use (like a bathroom scale). But, if there's too much resistance to using it, it just sits unused. UpScale makes your scale very usable. I like to compare it to a coat hanger vs a coat hook. A coat hanger is very easy to use, but takes two hands. A coat hook is a one handed operation and is simple and fast. That pocket scale storage shelf is like a coat hanger. UpScale is like a coat hook.
I understand where you’re comping from from a product design perspective. However if that’s the case then this is prohibitively expensive.

As someone in your market I’m telling you I don’t care about any of that and am ok with the awkward situation of pulling it out and putting it back.

Also one of the problems you mention is paint chipping, and that can be solved with a larger backsplash around the caddy.

If you’re going to do B2C then this price is just too high for me.

I like the idea of B2B at this price point.
 

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BrianLateStart

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Hey Brian, I see the value in your product, very cool! As people have mentioned, your price is high, however, if you can land a contract with a high-end hotel with multiple locations, your price per unit would come down over night. Think outside of residential. Great work!
A little over a year ago I learned that part of the Star ratings hotels get (4 Stars, 5 Star hotel) is based on the score for the number of amenities are available for guests. Bathroom scales add to the score. I talked to a couple of high end hotels (before I had UpScale ready for sale) just to test the waters. There wasn't a person at the hotel that could make that kind of decision. I haven't tried to contact corporate offices to see if there is interest.

So far in all my travels I've only had 1 bathroom scale in my hotel room. It was under a very large sink. I had to actually get on my hands and knees to pull it out. It was a brand of scale I haven't tried (I was in Wroclaw, Poland). I wasn't really wanting to weigh myself, just test the scale. It displayed that it was low on battery when I tried to use it. I have yet to find a hotel room that wouldn't have a convenient place for a scale if they had UpScale. Sometimes the only available space was the back of a door.
 
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BrianLateStart

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As for your product, it looks really cool, but honestly I'd never buy it because scales don't tell me anything useful about my fitness that my eyes can do better, so I wouldn't be a customer. That's an advantage in that I can give you an outsider's perspective.

I won't give any further feedback unless you verify that:

1) You're open to honest unvarnished feedback, both good and bad because I've discovered some
members on this forum are very sensitive and by feedback actually mean praise, agreement and ego
validation only, and that won't help you succeed.

2) You're honest about how much detail you're willing to share because the more information I have,
the better I can help you, and I won't ask anything that isn't relevant and necessary to helping you with your product.
Thanks for taking the time to reply. I am wanting honest unvarnished feedback. I'll give you as much detail as you ask, I just might reply to some of the request in a private message if they're details I'm not looking to have too public.

About you not using a scale that they don't tell you anything useful about your fitness that your eyes can't tell you. I agree with this! About 15 years ago I weighed 205 pounds. At 6 foot 1, I wasn't crazy over weight, but I decided I needed to loose some excess. At the time I didn't have a scale (didn't have a place for it) and mostly lost weight by cutting back on calories. I was hungry all the time and irritable. After many weeks of this I almost gave up. Thought I was wasting my time. Then one day it was actually noticeable that I was loosing weight. People started noticing and asked what weight I wanted to get down to? I didn't know. I told them I'll know it by feel when I get there. I almost quit because I didn't think all the cutting back in calories was doing anything. If I had a scale, I would have seen the progress earlier.

Now, I set a target weight (I'm almost always below it, except after the November - December holiday season). I want to know how close I am to my target and make daily adjustments. I need a scale for this.

Thanks again, I'd like to hear more of your feedback!
 

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The average scale I bought is closer to $39. I do have a $20 scale. You wouldn't want to use it if your were serious about monitoring your weight (these people aren't my target audience).

As much as I wanted to monitor my weight, having it in a closet or in a vanity under the sink was enough of a hassle I wouldn't bother weighing my self.

I appreciate all this feedback. Sounds like it's really an issue with price. I can deal with that!
Your argument doesn't make sense here.

People who are "serious about monitoring their weight" would not have the issue you are trying to solve, they would not have it in a closet or in a vanity under the sink . And it wouldn't be a hassle to then to get it out and step on it. If that stopped someone from weighing yourself, were they really serious about monitoring your weight daily? I'd think about your target person a little more.

I paid $150 for my scale, it's not stuck in a bathroom, it's actually in my living room.
 
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biophase

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@BrianLateStart i would buy one right this instant if it was a caddy that was $15-$30. Would be an absolute no brainer for me.

It doesn’t need to fold down so I can use it then fold back up.

Just needs to hold my scale on the wall so leaning it on the side doesn’t scratch my bathroom paint and cause it to crash down when my kids tear through.
Yes, a scale holder would be much better and cheaper. Since they are mostly flat, just pick it up and slide it into some sort of vertical holder.

So the question is, is the person who would bend over and lift and put the scale into a holder daily the same person who would spend $50 more in order to make that into a one step function?

Or is one person the same type of person who would by diet pills and soloflexes from infomercials?
 
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Raveling

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Neat idea.

What i recognized is, there's a lot of bending over required to open and close it. It's especially painful for people with high weight (or the eldery) to bend over or pick things up, because their back tends to hurt quite often. Yet this might also be target audience if they want to manage their weight or lose some.

Maybe that's fuel for another value skew.

Best of luck.
Good point Danny,

That's a real issue with your probable target market. I have some solutions to offer, let me know if you're open to real feedback about some solutions.
 

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Before I start replying to these messages, I just want to thank this community for all the feedback and advice I've been given. I've had more help since posting this yesterday than the entire time I've been working on this, and that will be 4 years this Septemver. I wish I knew about this community back when I started. Thanks MJ and everyone that's part of The Fastlane.

One other thing I've noticed . Not only are the people here great, but the forum software and moderation is better than any community I've been a part of. I'm the type of person that gets going on a project and goes deep with it. I've spent countless hours reading, learning and posting in forums. Everything from Engineering, photography, home automation, computers, forums on specific vehicles (cars and motorcycles) I've owned and maintained (I've heavily used many forums). I haven't seen forum software that is as functional and has a good look and feel as this one.

Thanks again MJ
Thanks, glad you found value in it.

1) You're open to honest unvarnished feedback, both good and bad because I've discovered some
members on this forum are very sensitive and by feedback actually mean praise, agreement and ego
validation only, and that won't help you succeed.
I think he's already proven that he's open to critique. Many folks have cited concerns already and he's been most receptive. Win or lose with this particular product, I think he has a winners mentality.
 

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Looking at the picture, it looks as though it has to be screwed into the wall.

Does it?

Dan
 

Raveling

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Thanks for taking the time to reply. I am wanting honest unvarnished feedback. I'll give you as much detail as you ask, I just might reply to some of the request in a private message if they're details I'm not looking to have too public.

About you not using a scale that they don't tell you anything useful about your fitness that your eyes can't tell you. I agree with this! About 15 years ago I weighed 205 pounds. At 6 foot 1, I wasn't crazy over weight, but I decided I needed to loose some excess. At the time I didn't have a scale (didn't have a place for it) and mostly lost weight by cutting back on calories. I was hungry all the time and irritable. After many weeks of this I almost gave up. Thought I was wasting my time. Then one day it was actually noticeable that I was loosing weight. People started noticing and asked what weight I wanted to get down to? I didn't know. I told them I'll know it by feel when I get there. I almost quit because I didn't think all the cutting back in calories was doing anything. If I had a scale, I would have seen the progress earlier.

Now, I set a target weight (I'm almost always below it, except after the November - December holiday season). I want to know how close I am to my target and make daily adjustments. I need a scale for this.

Thanks again, I'd like to hear more of your feedback!
Awesome!! First, I respect your accomplishment Brian. Most people CAN lose weight but find excuses why they can't, you're a doer:)

Your point is well taken, if weight loss is made more visible for heavier people, it may keep them on track and motivated to see a number when 1,2, or 5 pounds of weight loss is hard to see. For me, if it's not a six-pack, I want to lose more, so all I need are my eyes. And it's been years since I last had one:-?

Regarding Danny's point, a simple mechanism that allows the UpScale to be actuated from a standing position would be a real value add for your likely target market. I've thought of a few potential solutions, but either private messages might be better, or Skype, just because talking is faster than typing, either way, I have some ideas for that.

Second, I've intentionally NOT looked that carefully at it yet, to give my immediate elevator impression. It's cool, but seems unnecessarily complex wrt mechanism, which will add MAJOR cost to production. I will look through again in more detail another day, but that's my immediate impression.

Even if you've spent tons of time and cash getting it to where it is, it may be worth reimagining it in it's most simple form without losing its primary functionality. Even if you decide not to change it, it can be a great exercise and may lead to huge unexpected cost reductions and production insights with no loss of function.

On the flip side, you may want to go the exact opposite direction, giving it powered actuation up and down, make it light-activated or some other crazy high-end feature for a high-end market who'd pay for such frills. That said, I think you should stay Uber simple for now, get it working and get some kind of feedback from real potential users as soon as you can.

That's always tricky because it's a balance of disclosing the product to others who may try to steal it, yet you'll need the feedback eventually. You may be able to get people to sign an NDA, but that may kill your potential for feedback pool. Honestly, I've never done any focus group/s so I can't help you with how to do them except to say I think you'll have to do them for a product like this because it's novel and there ( probably ) isn't an existing equivalent product on the market to demonstrate demand.

To that point, you should put in a solid day or so searching for prior art on Google patents, the retail market ( Amazon...) and possibly Alibaba to see if you can find anything similar. It may save your butt down the line if your current design infringes on some prior art.

Alibaba would do you double duty if you haven't looked into sourcing yet because at least you'd have some ideas who could manufacture it for you when you get to that stage.

timbgreen
 
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Scot

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and still make them in the USA and offer a lifetime warranty.
Is “Made in the USA” something that’s important to people with small bathrooms who weigh themselves..?

I’d venture a guess that it’s probably not.

Why not explore making this in China for pennies on the dollar? I’m sure some of the importers on the forum can weigh in, but I can’t imagine this costing more than $10/unit landed.
 

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BrianLateStart

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Looking at the picture, it looks as though it has to be screwed into the wall.

Does it?
It does attach the wall. Attaching with screws is the standard method of attaching heavy items, such as towel bars and large mirrors to walls in the bathroom. I do include several types of fasteners to attach many wall/door surfaces. One of those is double sided tape. I only recommend using it on stone and tile. Even then, you have to be very careful if you ever want to remove it from the tile. You may end pulling the tile off with it. I've used a putty knife behind the it to cut the tape from the wall without scratching the tile several times.
 

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This is a great idea. I’ve never seen it before. It’s obviously serving a purpose for a ton of people.

1. IP is essential
2. Lowering cost per unit is also essential

This thing will make you millions if you can sell it for $24.99 and make it for $12.50
 
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BrianLateStart

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Awesome!! First, I respect your accomplishment Brian. Most people CAN lose weight but find excuses why they can't, you're a doer:)

Your point is well taken, if weight loss is made more visible for heavier people, it may keep them on track and motivated to see a number when 1,2, or 5 pounds of weight loss is hard to see. For me, if it's not a six-pack, I want to lose more, so all I need are my eyes. And it's been years since I last had one:-?

Regarding Danny's point, a simple mechanism that allows the UpScale to be actuated from a standing position would be a real value add for your likely target market. I've thought of a few potential solutions, but either private messages might be better, or Skype, just because talking is faster than typing, either way, I have some ideas for that.

Second, I've intentionally NOT looked that carefully at it yet, to give my immediate elevator impression. It's cool, but seems unnecessarily complex wrt mechanism, which will add MAJOR cost to production. I will look through again in more detail another day, but that's my immediate impression.

Even if you've spent tons of time and cash getting it to where it is, it may be worth reimagining it in it's most simple form without losing its primary functionality. Even if you decide not to change it, it can be a great exercise and may lead to huge unexpected cost reductions and production insights with no loss of function.

On the flip side, you may want to go the exact opposite direction, giving it powered actuation up and down, make it light-activated or some other crazy high-end feature for a high-end market who'd pay for such frills. That said, I think you should stay Uber simple for now, get it working and get some kind of feedback from real potential users as soon as you can.

That's always tricky because it's a balance of disclosing the product to others who may try to steal it, yet you'll need the feedback eventually. You may be able to get people to sign an NDA, but that may kill your potential for feedback pool. Honestly, I've never done any focus group/s so I can't help you with how to do them except to say I think you'll have to do them for a product like this because it's novel and there ( probably ) isn't an existing equivalent product on the market to demonstrate demand.

To that point, you should put in a solid day or so searching for prior art on Google patents, the retail market ( Amazon...) and possibly Alibaba to see if you can find anything similar. It may save your butt down the line if your current design infringes on some prior art.

Alibaba would do you double duty if you haven't looked into sourcing yet because at least you'd have some ideas who could manufacture it for you when you get to that stage.
Thanks again for the feedback. For some background info, I do have a utility patent. It was issued Tues (Aug 6th) and a very competent patent attorney did extensive searches for prior art so there's at least one thing I don't have to worry about :). I also have an international patent application filed that included an international search. I have about 8 months to file in other countries if I want. My patent covers a couple of designs. One of them is significantly less complicated, but I liked the compactness of the current version.

I do need to reloop and look at less complicated ideas. That is a good idea.

One of my original designs had dampers so it lowered to the floor slowly on it's own. Dampers were fairly expensive and I was surprised how much force it transferred to many of the links. A couple of them were really bowing under the force. Parts of it would have to be made much stronger. The extra cost was only beneficial when lowering and I gave up that idea. I had though about a possible cable driven version that you didn't have to bend over to raise and lower. My still look at that again in the future.

Thanks again for the suggestions.
 
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BrianLateStart

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1. IP is essential
2. Lowering cost per unit is also essential

This thing will make you millions if you can sell it for $24.99 and make it for $12.50
Got a utility patent already issued. So, 1 is covered. What do you think about 39.99?
 

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Got a utility patent already issued. So, 1 is covered. What do you think about 39.99?
If I was at the store and wanted to buy it and saw $39.99 I would make a groaning/humming noise and make a face and walk away because it’s just a little too much but just barely.

But that’s a focus group of 1, so who cares what I think.

See what the market thinks. See who will pay money for it. Or sell 2 versions, a regular and deluxe. One is manufactured cheap and the other is very nice. Just my .02, I’ve never had a successful product business so my opinion is on par with a regular consumer in this area.
 

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As I am sure you know there’s a scale rack/clip for the wall that serves a similar purpose (as many above has described) as this on amazon for $15. That product looks to be some of your only competition but that price difference is going to be tough to beat (at least on amazon). I think to compete on amazon you’ll really need to close that price gap.
Even if you don’t focus on amazon, I think decreasing your costs and product price have to be #1 priority. I’m all for premium products but I think this is going to be tough to convince there’s $80 worth of value for the vast majority of buyers
 

csalvato

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I just bought this for $16.


Would have bought yours for $30-40, for sure. Because I prefer the way you solve the problem, $39.99 (an extra $24 on the $16 I spent) is totally reasonable to me.

If you are firm on that price you will need to talk to a market where there is more value ... like the elderly or disabled who really can’t bend down. Perhaps selling this as a medical supply makes more sense if you’re firm on that price
 
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Way to go on your progress and hope this evolves into a great success for you Brian!

Smiling at the thought of not stubbing toes on a scale and bathroom interior design feature keeping the floor visually clear and sleek.

Your toilet paper holder comment and a mechanism for those with difficulty in bending over combined into an idea for you that may also appeal to hotels as easy for anyone cleaning without much risk of damage to floor or walls in handling it. I'm imagining a product and mechanism that holds a scale under an included toilet paper holder made to be against the wall which also contains the button/lever/device to lower the scale to the ground and raise it back up to rest below the holder (without interrupting any use of the tp holder in either position). Have the exterior/bottom/all visible of scale matched to options for bathroom fixtures to help blend into all decor?
 

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BrianLateStart

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As I am sure you know there’s a scale rack/clip for the wall that serves a similar purpose (as many above has described) as this on amazon for $15. That product looks to be some of your only competition but that price difference is going to be tough to beat (at least on amazon). I think to compete on amazon you’ll really need to close that price gap.
Even if you don’t focus on amazon, I think decreasing your costs and product price have to be #1 priority. I’m all for premium products but I think this is going to be tough to convince there’s $80 worth of value for the vast majority of buyers
I just bought this for $16.

Would have bought yours for $30-40, for sure. Because I prefer the way you solve the problem, $39.99 (an extra $24 on the $16 I spent) is totally reasonable to me.

If you are firm on that price you will need to talk to a market where there is more value ... like the elderly or disabled who really can’t bend down. Perhaps selling this as a medical supply makes more sense if you’re firm on that price
I was aware of this clip. I did a lot of searching early on and almost didn't continue my idea when I saw it. This clip does solve the problem, in fact it's better than using a magazine rack like pocket to slide the scale into.

It is the ideal low cost version for solving the problem. I do think if you use it frequently, you're wall, floor and scale will get banged up. Scales can be pretty heavy and trying to manipulate them in a bent over position when you're tired first thing in the morning isn't optimal. Placing it higher on the wall would probably give much better control. But, the higher it is, it could get bumped out of the bracket when someone walks past (or a kid running) and even at only 6 inches off the floor, the results wouldn't be good for the scale or the floor.

Thanks for this follow up! Comparing UpScale to this 1 piece bracket for $16. Do you feel like $39 is still too much? I've been studying my numbers since posting this Saturday morning and I think I can offer this a $39 (not going to commit until later this week).
 
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BrianLateStart

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Way to go on your progress and hope this evolves into a great success for you Brian!

Smiling at the thought of not stubbing toes on a scale and bathroom interior design feature keeping the floor visually clear and sleek.

Your toilet paper holder comment and a mechanism for those with difficulty in bending over combined into an idea for you that may also appeal to hotels as easy for anyone cleaning without much risk of damage to floor or walls in handling it. I'm imagining a product and mechanism that holds a scale under an included toilet paper holder made to be against the wall which also contains the button/lever/device to lower the scale to the ground and raise it back up to rest below the holder (without interrupting any use of the tp holder in either position). Have the exterior/bottom/all visible of scale matched to options for bathroom fixtures to help blend into all decor?
Thanks Sheens! My sister works in an assisted living facility and she wants them in every room that has a bathroom scale. She hates moving them to mop the floors. They are a tripping hazard too. For a nursing home (or any home for that matter), if you put it on the back of the door, you can't forget and leave it down tripping on it later. You have to put it back up to to get out of the room.

I like the idea of combining the toilet paper holder and UpScale. It would work in my 1/2 bath, but my full bath doesn't have a location near the toilet to work a scale and reach the paper. It may limit placement too much, but I like how you're thinking!!
 
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csalvato

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I was aware of this clip. I did a lot of searching early on and almost didn't continue my idea when I saw it. This clip does solve the problem, in fact it's better than using a magazine rack like pocket to slide the scale into.

It is the ideal low cost version for solving the problem. I do think if you use it frequently, you're wall, floor and scale will get banged up. Scales can be pretty heavy and trying to manipulate them in a bent over position when you're tired first thing in the morning isn't optimal. Placing it higher on the wall would probably give much better control. But, the higher it is, it could get bumped out of the bracket when someone walks past (or a kid running) and even at only 6 inches off the floor, the results wouldn't be good for the scale or the floor.

Thanks for this follow up! Comparing UpScale to this 1 piece bracket for $16. Do you feel like $39 is still too much? I've been studying my numbers since posting this Saturday morning and I think I can offer this a $39 (not going to commit until later this week).

i would have bought yours at 39
 

MJ DeMarco

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Just like the other invention we recently discussed here... (the brochure holders)


I'm thinking your best bet might be B2B -- hotels -- where you can be flexible on the price point as sales would involve a sales process and an negotiation. Instead of selling 1 to a consumer (1 order) you sell 1 to a buyer and get (200). Also when consumers see the product in their luxury hotel, they might learn of the product generating other interest.

While this is not something I'd buy, clearly others have indicated interest. As johnny boy said, a focus group of 1 is not entirely valid, but the focus group here at the forum of 25 has provided some great feedback.
 

Jay_Robles

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I have a small bathroom in my apartment and my scale is right next to the hamper . I move it with my foot or pick it up and weigh myself.

If I want the scale out of the way I’ll put it back in the closet were it sat in for years until I got into the keto diet.

Now I weigh myself at least twice a week to monitor my progress.

With that said there’s 2 main issues with your product.

1.How many people actually use scales enough to really need your product?

2. How many people actually buy scales?

Your product is geared towards people who already have scales, that they probably never use anyway.

What I would do is sell your product to a company that makes scales, so they can bundle it with their scales

or modify it for other things besides scales, it can be a multipurpose type of product .

When it comes to scales the only problem I have with them is having to look down. I feel like it puts a strain on my neck.

What I would like and I have no clue if it exists is like a screen that I can mount on the wall and when I step on the scale it’ll give me my reading.

Certain gyms have digital scales that do this but their usually bulky and the screen is connected directly to the scale.

So what I’m talking about is having a normal scale and then a separate small screen that I can mount on wall that displays my weight, Body fat percentage etc. and have it record all my weigh ins for me. That way I can better track my weight.
 

ChrisV

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I'm thinking your best bet might be B2B -- hotels -- where you can be flexible on the price point as sales would involve a sales process and an negotiation. Instead of selling 1 to a consumer (1 order) you sell 1 to a buyer and get (200).
Gotta love this guy. Great idea.

Also when consumers see the product in their luxury hotel, they might learn of the product generating other interest.
Make the branding prominent so they know exactly what it is.
 

Brewmacker

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Hi Brian,
Impressed to see you have taken action to develop something from scratch and your product photos look really professionally done. Well done. A few points

Price?
Enough said above.

Function:
  • Scales are pretty sensitive for domestic use, are you sure this device could not lead to false readings due to the hinge and support?
  • The underside of most scales are ugly and gather dirt and dust, not aesthetically appealing.
  • Could incorrect installation result to damage to walls/paintwork if installed incorrectly and the user stands on them? (personal liability)

Personal use:
Personally I just set my scales €30 against the wall when not using them and this normally works fine. Maybe a bit of a balancing act. Sometimes in the middle of the night they slip and go bang. But it is not enough to motivate me to go to amazon to find a solution.

Therefore you need to think "cheap as chips" or impulse buy.

See the attachments for some ideas - maybe these could help you.

Fancy Wooden/Bamboo shoe = €14.99
Rubber Feet = € 4.99
Wall Mounted Basket = € 8.99
(costs are estimates)
 

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