Is Your Product Really Ready for Kickstarter?
In our previous blog post we discussed the potential a nice prototype or sample of your physical product can have and how important is it to have the actual working piece on hand when preparing for the crowdfunding campaign. Anyone who has tried to start or has worked on a product startup will tell you that there are many development stages before you are holding a functional prototype in your hands. Hardware consumer products are hard and take a long time to develop before you can mass-produce them and deliver them to your backers or stores. Luckily, at EmperorFBA.com we've been doing it since 2010 and can help you a long the way!
The early stages
Many of the successful everyday consumer products, smart devices, cameras and others do actually start with a sketch on a napkin and the story goes on from there. The process, in general, is pretty much standardized at this point and as an example for this blog post let’s say you will develop and launch a non-electronics based product - a water bottle with a cool lid. You have already visualized it in your mind. It comes in various colors. It's going to be BPA free plastic or double-wall insulated stainless steel so that everyone just loves it no matter what. Then you do market research and learn it's a different story.
Figuring your market and consumers
You quickly find out that a similar product has been made already 5 years ago and it sold in Target and was funded on Kickstarter raising $48,000. It was a mediocre win but it is not available anymore and the company now sells 20 models of generic models with custom logos printed on them - what happened? The market is saturated with all kinds of bottles. They even come smart, with self-cleaning technology so you would think there is no way you can push your idea too. This is wrong because while there is so much competition in the world, the story and overall brand messaging is what holds major products high.
Following the story of Swell bottle or Hydroflask, the story is the same as yours and they started with the movement having a unique angle and the sales took off. You always have the chance! Now with the product idea and category figured, you need to design and develop your product.
Design and Engineering
With the aim to fund the manufacturing side on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you need first to develop the product and come to that ''functional prototype'' stage. You will need an industrial designer and possibly a mechanical engineer to work on your bottle, start with the design and the visuals of it! The designer will do your design style research, suggest what fits the market, what is trending, what colours, materials and finishes. Most importantly, however, he will ensure that your product is mass production ready. Getting a design on Fiverr to fill in for the mechanical engineer at the factory can be a costly and useless exercise.
There are many aspects that make one product successful and your product designer should cover and communicate this information. From the initial designs, concepts and functional ideas, the 3D model and CAD are necessary to ultimately make your sample and when you are searching for the prototyping and mass manufacturing price, these files and technical details are crucial.
The packaging and branding can be thought of along the product development and here also a branding and graphic design agency or individual can do wonders if you can afford them. Remember, you need to tell a story that holds and which is in fact honest and provides the benefit for the end user.
Where to Prototype
This type of product is fairly straightforward but you want a good prototyping company/manufacturer to deliver 3-5 samples you can use for your campaign and to send to influencers while promoting the upcoming launch, if you can afford up to 10 great samples, do it! South China, Shenzhen or Dongguan are great places to fish for the manufacturer and if possible get there, be amazed by the environment which breeds invention, design and manufacturing and meet your manufacturer. By getting on the factory floor, seeing how the sausage is made bring even more ideas and ways to optimise your process.
The manufacturer will ask for the CAD, offer materials they work with for prototyping and production, later on, agree on finishes and kind of packaging you want, this all can be agreed on while visiting for a couple of weeks in China. The prototype might take 10-20 days, shipped to your address and if it is what you like, you are ready for those shots and social media sharing - you have a valid product idea in your hands, congratulations!
As discussed in our last post, your prototype should look almost like the final thing, be functional and something other influencers will like to be seen with and share with their audiences.
Who will want your prototype?
Start with top Youtube reviewers and ask them if they would like to review a new amazing water bottle with cool features, pitch your product to them and be clear that you will be sending a prototype prior to a crowdfunding campaign launch, many will say yes. After this, see where your branding fits, what groups will like your message and if the community will take you on as their own - people like a newcomer with an idea and they will like your effort to present and crowdfund as common folk. Your inspiration clearly can be Instagram and what is trending, what is the hot new packaging style and what materials to use and feature as everything positive about your brand is selling your product, this might even result in a distribution deal before you even launch your campaign. The market is vast.
Why not start today?
The ideas are plenty and one can be indecisive but picking a winner is hard and even if the endeavour doesn't prove to be fruitful, the process will teach you so many aspects of a business, how the market works and brand positioning. Pick an idea and stick to it, this is how major brands started and their founders did not have these fast and amazing design and prototyping options. It was never better time to launch your napkin sketch idea.
Want to get started? Setup a free consultation with us here.