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

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TheCj

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Here's another idea: a scale literally built into the floor. You could build a floor tile that measures weight, sends it to a laser display that shines the weight onto the floor and then goes back to being invisible when no one is stepping on it. If installed correctly, this wouldn't be visible to the average person.
Was thinking the same, would have to make it easily replaceable or repairable. Could have a see through frosted type tile show the weight from underneath. Better yet the top of the tile scale is a lcd screen so can have it show the tile pattern and display the weight when in use.
 

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ShamanKing

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Thanks biophase, we are planning to list it on Amazon. There's so much to learn and we've been so busy assembling that I haven't figured out how to get my product on Amazon. I know Shopify can coordinate it.

The device does not skew your weight (we're going to add this to our FAQ page!). The mechanism locks and unlocks with about 1/2" vertical sliding motion. This provides some slack in the mechanism so the mechanism isn't pushing down or lifting up skewing the results in either direction. There is about 1/2 pound of mechanism on the scale, but digital scales will zero it out if you zero it before using each time.

We do use double sided tape to attach to your scale. We also include more double sided tape as one of the wall mounting methods. We only recommend taping to wall if your wall is stone or tile. Sometimes you might not want to drill a hole in it.

Thanks for the comment! Brian


Have you tested and see how long the tape holds up?
 

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Was thinking the same, would have to make it easily replaceable or repairable. Could have a see through frosted type tile show the weight from underneath. Better yet the top of the tile scale is a lcd screen so can have it show the tile pattern and display the weight when in use.
I think the tile should be just a regular tile - the same kind of tile that is in the rest of the bathroom. The scale itself would be a plate that holds the tile and senses weight. It would send the measurement to a separate display somewhere (laser display, lcd, etc).
 

BrianLateStart

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Have you tested and see how long the tape holds up?
I have. The tape won't be a problem if the surface of the scale is cleaned first (or wall, if using it to mount to the wall). There's a whole class of tapes that are acrylic structural adhesives that are unbelievably strong and long lasting. I rejected some of them because I felt they were too strong. The particular tape I'm using is the same used by Velcro Industrial strips. Can be used indoor or outdoor.
 

Raveling

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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.
You're welcome BrianLateStart. Message me directly if you want my thoughts, even if it's just to check out your post.

Right now I'm REALLY busy trying to get some products to market and just yesterday had to tweak a design to get around cost/benefit issues.

Congratulation on your patent BTW, they're costly and take forever in many cases. Are you aware of how to leverage provisional patents for low-cost starts or product improvements? Unlike the PUBLISHED utility patents applications, you've got a one-year black box with a provisional. While it doesn't stop others from copying you, it does give you a year to capture funding or market share, and at the end, you may well have a in-market product before the "library of thieves"publishes you utility patent application details.
 

foodiepersecond

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Here's another idea: a scale literally built into the floor. You could build a floor tile that measures weight, sends it to a laser display that shines the weight onto the floor and then goes back to being invisible when no one is stepping on it. If installed correctly, this wouldn't be visible to the average person.
Sounds like this would make a great trap door mechanism :devil:
 

BrianLateStart

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Message me directly if you want my thoughts, even if it's just to check out your post.

Right now I'm REALLY busy trying to get some products to market and just yesterday had to tweak a design to get around cost/benefit issues.

Congratulation on your patent BTW, they're costly and take forever in many cases. Are you aware of how to leverage provisional patents for low-cost starts or product improvements? Unlike the PUBLISHED utility patents applications, you've got a one-year black box with a provisional. While it doesn't stop others from copying you, it does give you a year to capture funding or market share, and at the end, you may well have a in-market product before the "library of thieves"publishes you utility patent application details.

Thanks for the offer, I'll take you up on it!

I struggled for a long time and did a lot of research into which type of patent to go with. One issue I have with provisional patents is, just like utility patents, they only protect what you've claimed. I read a lot of comments in many forums, file a provisional and you're good. Maybe you are. You can't file a quick provisional and then put the detail and do it correctly later in the utility patent. New claims and new information added to the utility patent aren't protected by the provisional and will be dated at the time of filing the utility patent, not backdated to the provisional filing. So if you've been sharing your work and ideas for that year, you may not really be protected under a provisional.

I have a few ideas for other products if this one doesn't work out. The ones that aren't as complex (or I don't like as much) I will go the provisional route.

Thanks again. I can tell you have a lot of knowledge, experience and are willing to share so I will take you up on your offer.
 

OverByte

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Agree with everyone on price.

At my Lowes, they're selling toilet paper holders for $15-$24 that are very simple parts that have to support a 3 ounce roll

Just because that product is simple and only has to support 3 oz doesn't matter, it sells because it solves a need worth $15-24 for consumers. That is an impulse buy range.

The device does not skew your weight (we're going to add this to our FAQ page!)

You may want to address this in main copy as it's a possible concern and many customers won't search for information if not immediately available.

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

I'd guess that most people with the problem of "I want scale out of way" are in this boat and care more about having a convenient holder than having it fold up and down. If you can't get the price down with current design this may be a more profitable product design.
 

OverByte

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I'd remove most of the text (like affiliate link) and update the button with the amazon logo. (ie buy from "amazon-logo")

Not sure about showing the stock like this either but that maybe something worth testing.

Overall I think the website looks pretty good, nice work on that.

The product is a cool idea, price is better at $49 though still seems expensive since as others have pointed out the accessory is more than the product (ie scale)
 

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BrianLateStart

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Any updates? How did it go? I see you lowered the price to be more optimal

The short answer:
I'm extremely happy, but most people here may not consider it a success.
I'm currently selling about 2 per month, mostly on Amazon without really trying. I've had customers tell me that they searched and searched the internet before they found my product. I'm working on a plan to get my product more prominent in search results. Also working on a Youtube channel (just starting) that should help expose it to more people. Tried facebook ads, did sell more, but cost more than the profit. Wanting to grow it organically with youtube.

Had a lot of life happen since I last posted (took early retirement from full time job and moved to another state). I was extremely burned out and about ready to call it quits. Today I'm excited again and at the best point I've ever been in my life...and it has nothing to do with the success or failure of my product.

Long Answer:
I've made tons of mistakes along this journey (should start a progress thread to document it) It will be 5 years this September that I came up with the idea. It was suppose to be a little side project. I had a full time job that was very demanding, but it was a job I liked. Well, at least I thought I liked it until I read MJ's books. After reading TMF, I could see how this job was taking my freedom. I was already in my 50s. Most of my friends and coworkers were retiring or thinking about it. I was getting fired up to start a new adventure. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got and I knew if I didn't at least try it, it would be something I'd always regret.

I worked every night after work and every weekend for the first few years without much problem. After about year 3.5 years it started taking a toll. I still kept working on it, but I could tell the enthusiasm had gone, for my project and my full time job. It was only because I had a rigid schedule that I stuck to that got it to completion (meaning had it fully designed and manufactured).
This was right around the time of my last post. I took the advice from this forum that the price was way too high. I set the price at what I thought seemed reasonable and spent a ton of time trying to make my own video ads (for Facebook). I enjoyed the process of learning a new skill, but as I mentioned, I was already burned out and my full time job. It was overwhelming to me. I did make sales from the ads, but the cost ate up more then the profits.

Decided I wanted to grow the business organically. Following a strategy from a book by Mark Schaefer, "Known", I was going to start a youtube channel. This forum has so much great info from others that have started their channels. But, reading about it and doing it are two different things. It was much harder than I expected. Plus, I was balancing my full time job on top of this. On March 26, I was told we'd be working from home due to the pandemic. This made it a little easier on me. It gave me back a little more time each day for my project. After a few weeks working from home we all had to take a two week furlough. This was the first time that I can recall I didn't do any of my full time work while I was off (we weren't allowed to even check email). It was amazing! All I had to do was work on MY project.

I could feel the energy and enthusiasm returning. As great as this was, it made the return to work even worse when the 2 weeks were up. I had a taste of freedom and wanted it back. The job, which once was something I enjoyed, now felt soul crushing.

Then in June we were told they'd be giving an early retirement offer to those qualified, followed by steep layoffs. I qualified for the offer and took it. Wasn't really ready to retire at 56, but the offer was much better than if I had gotten laid off.

So many people on the forum talk about these ideal places to retire. I pictured myself moving to Arizona, Texas or some other retirement friendly state. Instead, I moved to NY (not NYC, but a small town where I grew up and have family). The pandemic made me see that I needed to be near family. That was more important than what might be ideal for finances.

Everything is still in boxes in a garage making it difficult to work on my youtube channel, but I'm not too concerned. I've been enjoying some time off from both jobs. I'm in temporary housing at the moment (house in Michigan sold, but doesn't close for another month) and it will be a couple of months at the earliest that we can get something here. But, I couldn't be happier.

In the next week or two we'll dig out our camera gear, lights and other equipment and continue working on our youtube channel. I'm finding it's something I want to work on even if I don't have to.
 

OverByte

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Didn't realize this thread was started a year ago when I had commented. I saw the "Hot Topic" tag and assumed it was brand new..

Glad to hear you've got your head in the right place, this is definitely the most important. For what it's worth I think it's impressive you build an innovative product from scratch so kudos for that.

In terms of tactics on selling the product, I think Facebook has some advantages for this product over google since it has a neat factor and solves a genuine need for people but those people are likely not actively searching for the solution. So it doesn't surprise me that you got more sales with facebook. How close were you to profitability with that platform? It seems well suited for it and maybe you just need to learn a bit more about facebook ads? That being said, targeting for this product would be tough, would be interesting if other members had suggestions there. One suggestion could be to do an engagement campaign based solely on demographics (age/gender/location) and then you could build look alike audiences off of page engagement and 75+% video views and run conversion goal campaigns to those audiences. Not sure if that's something you tested or how well it would work but engagement campaigns are cheap so it may be worth testing. You can also retarget the customers who engaged this way.

I don't have experience with youtube ads so can't comment there.
 

BrianLateStart

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You may want to address this in main copy as it's a possible concern and many customers won't search for information if not immediately available.
I'd remove most of the text (like affiliate link) and update the button with the amazon logo. (ie buy from "amazon-logo")

Not sure about showing the stock like this either but that maybe something worth testing.
I don't have experience with youtube ads so can't comment there.

OverByte, thanks for taking the time to look over my site and give suggestions! I've already updated my site so that it doesn't show how many are in stock on Amazon. I added this at the start of the pandemic when Amazon was only allowing restocking of essential items. I don't think people even knew Amazon was doing that so it really wasn't necessary. I believe I have to state that it is an affiliate link to meet Amazon's terms of service.

I have been asked by customers if UpScale skews their results. I added that to the FAQ, but I think you're right, people won't search for it and need that kind of information immediately. Haven't added that to the site, but will soon.

For the moment I'm not planning on creating youtube ads (or facebook). We're creating a youtube channel that reviews bathroom scales. We test them and show how accurate and consistent they are and give better advice on how to use one properly. So many people use a scale incorrectly and don't know what features are possible to get. Most youtube videos on bathroom scales are unboxing videos without much substance. As part of the review we'll show how well the scale works with UpScale and without. So many bad bathroom scale reviews have tens of thousands of views. We hope to be the authority when it comes to bathroom scales, whether you want an UpScale or not. It should at least bring some free exposure to it.

Thanks again for the suggestions!
Brian
 

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OverByte

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We're creating a youtube channel that reviews bathroom scales. We test them and show how accurate and consistent they are and give better advice on how to use one properly.

While this is a long term strategy I think it's a really good idea for organic traffic. You'll get people searching for scales and a certain % will see the links to your product (which I'm sure you'll find a way to feature prominently) and think 'hey I could use that' so you capture that market which isn't searching directly for your solution! You could also include affiliate links to the scales for extra revenue.
 

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Hello @BrianLateStart ,

I just read through your thread, congratulations on creating your product. Great story !

I was wondering if you could share some insights about the prototyping phase. I have an idea for a product that (I believe) would make some specific aspect of life a little bit easier. It is quite similar to yours in terms of complexity, albeit in a different niche. It would probably be very easy for a team of mechanical engineers to come up with a design, but I'm alone and inexperienced in this field.

How did you brainstorm and come up with a prototype at first ? I mean, designing the different pieces, how they work and interact together, how do physics apply (for example, say, what kind of pneumatic cylinder do I need to exercise a given force and move an object)...
Did you use a CAD software or just tried to build it physically and iterate through trial and error ?

Hope that makes sense. Originally I was going to PM you but I figured it could be of interest to someone else. Thanks !
 

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We're creating a youtube channel that reviews bathroom scales. We test them and show how accurate and consistent they are and give better advice on how to use one properly. So many people use a scale incorrectly and don't know what features are possible to get. Most youtube videos on bathroom scales are unboxing videos without much substance. As part of the review we'll show how well the scale works with UpScale and without. So many bad bathroom scale reviews have tens of thousands of views. We hope to be the authority when it comes to bathroom scales, whether you want an UpScale or not. It should at least bring some free exposure to it.
Quick thought, what about reviewing other bathroom/health/weight loss devices too?

I'd imagine the types of people that 1) use a scale and 2) would buy an additional accessory for that scale, would also be looking for other products as well.
 

BrianLateStart

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How did you brainstorm and come up with a prototype at first ? I mean, designing the different pieces, how they work and interact together, how do physics apply (for example, say, what kind of pneumatic cylinder do I need to exercise a given force and move an object)...
Did you use a CAD software or just tried to build it physically and iterate through trial and error ?
At the time I was working as a mechanical engineer (I'm retired now) and worked in CAD all day. Building the CAD model was one of my strengths. Only, I learned different CAD software for my project than what I used at work. I use OS X and home and Windows at work. Did not want to use my work computer for personal project. Learned Fusion 360, works great on a Mac too.

Early on I 3D printed prototypes (uploaded them to Shapeways), even the parts that were sheet metal. The 3D printed parts didn't behave like sheet metal, but they were inexpensive and useful in the early stages. At some point I knew I would need real sheet metal parts. Those are more difficult to come by and MUCH more expensive. Even finding a place that would work with me was difficult. I did a lot of googling on prototyping sheet metal.

At one point I looked into adding a pneumatic damper so it would drop slowly to the floor. When you're using my device, lifting under the front part of the bathroom scale, there's very little forces on the mechanism. You're hand takes much of the load. But, when I tried to add a damper, the forces went crazy and the links were bending. Would have had to make the links much stronger. The damper was way too expensive anyway. Would have added too much to the cost.

I honestly didn't really know what I wanted when I started. I knew how high I wanted the scale be from the floor in the up position and how far out from the wall when down, but I didn't know what it looked like. I didn't have a clue how I was going to attach it to the scale without interfering with the scale's results. I didn't even know how I was going to lock it in the up position. It was a lot of studying and trial and error. If I wasn't doing the CAD myself, I never could have afforded to pay someone. Even as I got some of the details worked out, there's was always another issue that I wasn't expecting.
 

YanC

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At the time I was working as a mechanical engineer (I'm retired now) and worked in CAD all day. Building the CAD model was one of my strengths. Only, I learned different CAD software for my project than what I used at work. I use OS X and home and Windows at work. Did not want to use my work computer for personal project. Learned Fusion 360, works great on a Mac too.

Early on I 3D printed prototypes (uploaded them to Shapeways), even the parts that were sheet metal. The 3D printed parts didn't behave like sheet metal, but they were inexpensive and useful in the early stages. At some point I knew I would need real sheet metal parts. Those are more difficult to come by and MUCH more expensive. Even finding a place that would work with me was difficult. I did a lot of googling on prototyping sheet metal.

At one point I looked into adding a pneumatic damper so it would drop slowly to the floor. When you're using my device, lifting under the front part of the bathroom scale, there's very little forces on the mechanism. You're hand takes much of the load. But, when I tried to add a damper, the forces went crazy and the links were bending. Would have had to make the links much stronger. The damper was way too expensive anyway. Would have added too much to the cost.

I honestly didn't really know what I wanted when I started. I knew how high I wanted the scale be from the floor in the up position and how far out from the wall when down, but I didn't know what it looked like. I didn't have a clue how I was going to attach it to the scale without interfering with the scale's results. I didn't even know how I was going to lock it in the up position. It was a lot of studying and trial and error. If I wasn't doing the CAD myself, I never could have afforded to pay someone. Even as I got some of the details worked out, there's was always another issue that I wasn't expecting.

Thank you very much for answering my questions. It's definitely helpful to know more about the process you went through.

Spending hundreds of hours to learn some CAD beforehand is probably not the best idea for me. I think what I'll do first is build a digital 3D model, as realistic as possible, to try to gauge potential interest from the marketplace. If there is interest indeed, I'll then see how to manage the prototyping part. Already got a student version of Creo Parametric (PTC) and a few of my friends are mechanical engineers, I might be able to find some help while learning the basics myself (I'm an engineer myself but in a different area).

Thanks again !
 

BrianLateStart

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Quick thought, what about reviewing other bathroom/health/weight loss devices too?
I'm not sure what other weight loss devices we should review. I really did invent UpScale to solve a specific problem and it did it very well. My wife and I have been able to manage our weight by watching what we eat and weighing ourselves regularly. For us, bathroom scales are the key device in weight management. Other devices feel like they would try to solve a problem we don't have. I have tried a few apps that track my weight. Having a few years of data has been helpful to see seasonal weight fluctuations. I have a good idea how much weight I'll put on over the holidays and how long it will take to get back to normal (usually mid-March, early April). Maybe we should look at devices on the health side and not focus just on weight. Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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Perhaps a redesign with the base idea still in place could help lower the price problem.

While I was thinking of different ways for the product I was trying to come up with I remembered yours and thought I might share the concept I was looking at that could help yours maybe.

Instead of using your current dampeners method, you could be using cordage that has the ball on the end to lock it into place. Obviously you might have to play around with the concept a bit to get it to fit right in terms of accessibility and easiness but thought I would share. :)

Here is a horrible paint drawn example. LOL hope you get the idea.
Bungee (Cordage Example) Line with Ball to lock into place

So pretty much you are using the balls to lock the scale into place at the top to hold it against the wall. Then the cord lets it down to the ground as well. I see this as a decent option to consider since your customer needs to bend over to bring it to the floor and up either way.

An rough example of what it would might look like when laying on the ground.
(Paint Picture Example Edit from your site)
View: https://i.imgur.com/S9HEbHX.png


I just realized also having the cord go under the scale probably defeats the accuracy of weight so it might have to go ontop like adhesive or just.. and now the more I look at your product the more this idea falls apart and turns into a ghetto weight scale backpack lol. I'll post it anyways incase it leads to some eureka moment. Good luck with your product man!
 

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*** MODERATOR NOTE

THIS POST WAS EXTRACTED FROM THE SELL-ME SATURDAY
SELF-PROMOTION THREAD.
DUE TO DETAILED DISCUSSION,
IT WAS EXTRACTED TO ITS OWN THREAD




Thanks MJ for allowing us to post our product on your forum. There's a lot of knowledge and talent here. In the name of transparency, as much as we'd like to sell our product, our product, website and my wife and I are very new to this business. We could really use any feedback on the product and the website that this community has to offer.

The problem: My wife and I were trying to manage our weight, but we just didn't have a place to keep our bathroom scale where it was convenient to use. We would stand it on edge, but often it would slide down the wall and break a foot off the bottom. We never would have even considered getting a larger, nicer, glass scale. We usually just skipped weighting ourselves.

One day my wife asked why couldn't I make something that could store a scale off the floor and out of the way? This got me thinking. After several years, countless CAD models and prototypes, my wife and I are proud to present:

UpScale

UpScale keeps your scale off the floor, out of the way and ready for use.

View attachment 26508

View attachment 26509

View attachment 26510

We believe UpScale can work in even the smallest 1/2 bath. It can even attach to the back of a door.

View attachment 26511

View attachment 26512

We hope once your scale has been UpScaled, you may want to decorate the bottom of it to enhance any bathroom! We use laptop decals, but, leaving it plain it fine too.

View attachment 26513

UpScale is made in the USA (my wife and I rivet them in our garage) and has a lifetime warranty.

As our introductory offer, we're discounting UpScale 10% with free shipping. We're also giving an additional $10 off if you use the checkout code Fastlane.

As I said earlier we welcome and appreciate any feedback. At the moment we're only offering it for sale in the US, but would love to here from forum members outside the US whether or not this product is useful in your country.

TheUpScaleScale

Thanks again MJ and Fastlane community!
Brian and Lisa
Sounds interesting to people who live in regions that every space is valuable.

Manhattan..Hong Kong...
 

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Yes, this would be excellent in wet rooms and similar areas. A great target audience would be competitive figure models, macro trackers, bodybuilders, and other similar diet and fitness niches where tracking your weight is very important. I know this because I'm on the scales all the time!

I hope your business goes great!
 

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Instead of using your current dampeners method, you could be using cordage that has the ball on the end to lock it into place. Obviously you might have to play around with the concept a bit to get it to fit right in terms of accessibility and easiness but thought I would share.
Thanks for taking the time to share your idea! This really is the most amazing and helpful community I've ever been a part of!!

In my early concepts, I really wanted to attach to the bottom side of the scale. I found out that some scales have all kinds of room on the underside, others have large battery compartments and conduits that run out to the feet. So you're correct that running the cords under the scale would probably mess with the accuracy on many scales.

My current design doesn't use a damper. I tried adding them in early concepts because I thought it would be cool to watch it slowly lower to the ground on it's own. The expense was too much and it is already very easy to to raise and lower the scale with just your fingertips of one hand. Looking at your sketch, I don't think I understand how the cord is acting as a damper. It looks like to raise the scale, you would grab the balls on the end of the cord and pull them up and place them in the ball lock. I'm not sure if that is much different than lifting the scale with your fingertips and pushing it up.

The bungee cord lock method may be a great add on for people living out of RVs. Full time RVing is very popular. I've considered this market for a while and have looked at the inside of many RVs and trailers. There's almost always multiple places they could mount a scale that's out of the way and doesn't take up precious storage space. Problem is that UpScale unlocks from the wall with a simple 1/2 vertical lift (similar to how a you put your coat on a coat hook). Going over a bump could easily unlock it and have your scale bouncing around while you're traveling. A bungee chord could easily hold it in place while traveling. I think a person could easily rig up something on their own, but making one that's a little more thought out and designed specifically for the product would look and function much better!

Thanks again for your suggestions. I'm always looking for ideas and ways to improve!
 

BrianLateStart

Bronze Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
Jun 11, 2019
81
144
121
Horseheads, NY
Sounds interesting to people who live in regions that every space is valuable.
I've shipped the most products to New York City. Most other sales have been to urban areas as well. I haven't been able to draw any conclusions as to why. Is it because space is more valuable? Are people more fitness focused in urban areas? It's possible the price isn't as much of an issue to someone in a big cities as it is in Smalltown USA. Or it could just be simple statistics and that's where the largest population of people reside.

My sales are mostly Amazon FBA so I don't have a good way to contact the buyer and get their feedback. If anyone has some good ways to help me to gain this insight I'd appreciate any suggestions. I don't believe Amazon's service terms allows me to contact customers for this purpose.
 

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