As mentioned in our previous post, we are working on extending the range of products we offer. Soon new products from established manufacturers will be appearing around here. Besides big manufacturers, this is an opportunity for you too!
Smartie.Store is here for smarties like you. Not just that we want to provide you with great stuff to buy, we also want to help you sell your great stuff!
The beginning of your story
Perhaps you are one of the guys interested in 3D printing for quite some time and maybe you are also interested in electronics. Maybe there’s two of you or more. Since you are usually wandering around the cutting edge tech and have a way better insight than an average muggle into how things work, you often get ideas of products that should be on the market, but the world is still waiting for the first person to start making them.
Boom! All of the sudden you get a pretty good idea! The world has been always missing such a thing. It’s so totally obvious. And it will make you a fortune.
You guys start discussing, brainstorming, put an initial design on a paper. Your car is destined to rust outside from now on because your garage is turned into your lab over the weekend.
You spend several hours in Tinkercad just to find out it can’t do all the stuff you need like stress analysis or simulations. You start looking for an alternative, get a few calls from SolidWorks to find out it’s too expensive, then decide to spend cash for Inventor.
After two weeks of intensive attempts, you actually manage to put your design in 3D with everything it should have. You have actually scrapped the whole design a few times and did it all over just for the sake of learning the CAD. Now it’s a version 1, you can already see what’s wrong in there and do several adjustments. Then you start looking for actual [electronic] third-party components to work with your “skeleton and shell”. So far you thought these will just fit in somehow, but you realized they won’t. After a few revisions, everything seems right. At this point, you have already exhausted all your energy and motivation and you give up. Not to mention the fact that the components you found locally make your product 5 times more expensive than you originally thought and you have no idea what wholesale prices to count with.
No, wait! You realize you can actually finally start printing your prototype, that gets you back on your feet. After printing your current 3D version, you realize the CAD lied to you, it’s nothing like it was supposed to be. Okay, redesign and another print. Redesign and another print. Physical revision 3 or 4 is way better. Except it’s just one of the parts of the whole product. 3 months later you have already spent 2-3 thousands euros/dollars for your prototype and seems to be looking correct. Or maybe you have given up for a few months in between and it’s actually half a year or more. Anyway, you feel like a hero, because you’ve survived so far and a friend of yours told you it’s great (and that’s enough for market research, right?).
Oops, you still have to develop the software. If you are lucky and can code somewhere between Sketch/C/C++/Java levels, you might be able to get your thing working on its own. Otherwise, you have to spend a couple of thousands on that, because these spoiled programmers get excited easily, but never manage to finish an app on a royalty basis. Your epic quest for a working prototype has not ended here though, you were lucky to find a sorcerer, who helped you to get over this part and only wanted your soul in return. That’s a fair deal for a usable prototype of your awesome idea.
You were also lucky enough to find an investor who:
- has the same interests as you, so they get excited about your thing,
- have enough money,
- are crazy enough to put their money into such a risky venture with no history or a tiny guarantee of success.
You only have to sacrifice your house in case all went wrong to return something to the investor.
Alright, time to start manufacturing. Wait, you forgot to tell your investor that you haven’t yet found the components that would be cheap enough to sell the product for the price you told them. You were secretly hoping that you would find way cheaper equivalents in China, but you realize that:
- it is pretty hard to find equivalents if you can’t touch them,
- the Chinese quite often deliver something completely else then they tell you,
- shipping from China takes long and it multiplies with each revision of your prototype,
- certain parts don’t have equivalents. In short, you basically have to redo your design by at least 60% and make it work all over again.
You are late with your plan by another 3-6 months, fortunately, your investor is a wise guy who understands that projects never go exactly according to a plan, so they are not freaking out, because you are at least managing to show them some progress. At this point, you are so exhausted, frustrated and late with your plan that you don’t even think about market-testing your current working prototype. It would only demand more revisions and you just don’t have time and money for it (hoping that everything will be OK, but after finding out the people’s feedback on your first shipped batch you find out you have to revise your prototype again anyway).
A year’s gone, you feel like a Terminator, Superman and Captain America in one person because you’ve survived so far and you are ready to start manufacturing, hoping that it will be a piece of cake from now on.
Nope, it won’t. So far it’s been only the first step of becoming Steve Jobs. You have to master your supply chain, logistics and marketing. Not just that this takes years of learning and experience, but you mainly have to reconfigure your brain to business thinking, which takes even more time.
This is where Smartie.Store comes in.
Collaborating with Smartie.Store
Smartie.Store is by no means an accelerator, which could help you build your prototype, find an investor or mentor you along the way. What we can help you with is selling your product, which reduces a massive part from your personal requirements on becoming successful: your marketing knowledge, experience and search for a sales channel. That’s a great advantage from the very beginning.
Besides that, we can also give a few thoughts on:
- Looking for suppliers.
- Logistics and warehousing.
- Price composition (on top of your Bill Of Materials / BOM).
- And maybe a few other tips along the way.
Do you have a product in your mind that you would like to create, manufacture and sell? Feel free to get in touch with us, even if it is still just a concept. We can talk and try to turn your vision into reality together and it is best to start planning from the very beginning. You can email us to [email protected]. We are always into supporting great ideas!
– Your Smarties