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[FIRST THREAD SPECIAL] The Ultimate Product Creation Mega Guide

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by Dan Chapman, Feb 24, 2017.

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Has this inspired you to create your own product?

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  3. Maybe (I don't have much time!)

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  1. Dan Chapman

    Dan Chapman Newbie

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    Hi Everyone,

    I've been lurking around this forum for years and have taken a lot of information from it - so I thought it was time I gave back! If anyone needs help please reply to this thread so everyone can benefit! Always open to JVs too so PM me if you think we can work together.


    About me (yeh yeh pretty boring - skip to next title if you don't care!):

    I have been wanting to make money since I was in school - buying sweets in bulk and selling them for a profit. Since then it's been a rollercoaster ride from buying diamonds to import and export and a lot in between. Product creation, development and design has featured heavily and I've had a few big wins which I will mention as we go through.

    Product Research (if you already have a product idea skip to next title)

    When you are creating products you have two options:
    1. Create a product from scratch and invent the idea behind it - this means the product is completely new to market.
    2. Take the idea from someone else and repackage it, make it better or be the first to sell it.
    Let's start with the first. If you are inventing a new product always ask yourself - "Does it solve a problem?" or "Is this different/interesting/new enough?".

    Start asking family or friends what things they find annoying and wish were solved. Do a search on Google for "why hasn't this been solved yet?" and trawl through forums to find golden ideas. Search for trends and create novelty products from these e.g. A Donald Trump Stressball - topical yet bizarre enough that it is unlikely to have been created yet. Look at new emerging technologies and work out product angles from these e.g. Augmented Reality Trading Cards.

    There are literally an endless amount of products you could come up with this way because trends change and problems always need solving.

    Case in point is a product I created called the Tap Wallet. I was reading the news and saw an article about something called card clash that was happening, daily, to thousands of people using the tube in London. This was happening because they updated the machines in the tube to read both the Oyster card (rfid travel card) and Contactless credit/debit cards. People were just putting their purse/wallet on the scanners and they were reading both cards - sometimes resulting in double charges, unpaid trips and barrier blocking! I woke in the middle of the night and had the idea to create a wallet with rfid blocking that also had an unblocked back pocket so users could still swipe and pay with their preferred card. This product went on to raise 10k on Kickstarter and be featured in newspapers like the Metro and Daily Mail. It still sells well to this day.

    Whatever your idea you need to research it to make sure it doesn't exist or the competition is very low. Make sure you search on Google for results in the last week, month, year etc to ensure that a new product hasn't popped up recently and think about different search terms people may use to find it. Get feedback from family and friends on your idea and always try and get them to find the NEGATIVE points in the products - sounds strange but if you have answers for the problems they find in your product or they find no problems at all then you know you are on to a winner.

    Ok so the second point is to piggyback someone else's idea and make it better or be the first to sell it. An example of this could be a toilet brush - most homes have one but they are disgusting and unhygienic - how about a self cleaning one that is safe for kids. This is a common theme you find on crowdfunding sites - people taking a common product and making it function better. Think about products you use and how you could improve on them.

    Then there is being the first to sell a product. I will use an example of this that happened to me - selfie sticks. Someone in my office told me they had been to London and saw Japanese girls with these strange sticks that they put their phones onto to take pictures of themselves. It sounded so weird and strange that I had to do more research and found that it was a trend that originated in Japan and wasn't yet here in the UK in shops etc. I looked on Alibaba and found a good supplier for them and delivered and boxed in three different colours with Bluetooth remotes they came in at £3.50 a piece - room for some serious profit. Because I knew that selfie sticks were becoming more well known I didn't want to take the distributor into stores route. And living in a very tourist heavy city I decided I'd sell them myself. I got a license that allows you to sell on the streets as long as you are moving and with a tray round my neck and a selfie stick for demos in my hand I went out and started selling them for £10 each. At first people looked at me like a madman but I was right on the crest of when they became a phenomenon in the UK and after a few days I couldn't order them in as fast as I was selling them!! I was coming home with huge bundles of cash every night and got my girlfriend to start selling them too. My biggest regret is that I didn't start getting people to sell them around the country because I could've made a fortune but I made a good amount (especially before Christmas when we were doing £1k clear profit a day!) and learnt a lot. We stopped as soon as they got into stores but had a good 8 months of sales before that happened.

    This shows that if you can get on to a trend that is about to hit you can really cash in. Try looking at Japan trend sites and talking to people in other countries and listen to product news regularly and you may just find a goldmine like this.

    So now you know how to come up with or find a good idea and you are ready for the next step which is:

    Product Design

    This step requires a little time - if you are creating a new product you will need to sketch out your ideas taking into account the dimensions and try to get a digital mock up made - fiverr is great for this and you can get a high quality 3D cad model for pretty cheap that is great for passing on to manufacturers. You can also look for prototyping companies that can help you get a working prototype that can again be shown to manufacturers. In the past I have also got a 3D design mocked up and then had it 3D printed to see the overall look and feel.

    If you are simply repackaging or being the first to sell a product from another country the hard work will have been done for you and you can move on to the next stage here:

    Product Manufacturing

    Finding a manufacturer can be pretty hard - especially when you aren't ordering huge numbers to start with and need to keep your costs down. I always recommend looking in your own country first for manufacturers - that way you can get the product made quickly and avoid long postage times and customs fees. If you are doing well with the product you can then look at manufacturing overseas. Taking our Donald Trump Stress Ball example earlier I would begin by searching "custom printed stress balls uk" or "stress ball manufacturer uk" and then contact them all to find out prices. Always order a sample first to test the quality whether you are ordering in your own country or from overseas.

    Make sure you find out their minimum order quantities (MOQs) and price breaks so you can factor this in later down the line when you are ordering more stock.

    If you are getting a product from another country to repackage or resell then you will have to check Alibaba first to ensure it is available. Always check the sellers account age, status and reviews before buying - also I would recommend always paying with PayPal to give yourself extra cover.


    Product Packaging

    So you have your product in your hand - exciting! Now all you really want to do is sell it. But whether you are going into retail stores or simply selling online your customer should be receiving a product that has a consistent brand and packaging is essential for this. Over the years I have found a few tips to creating amazing packaging quickly and easily that is retail ready.

    Always check first with your manufacturer to see if they have any recommended packaging suppliers or if they do this themselves. It's always better to keep everything in one place where possible.

    I recommend, like the manufacturer, to find a packaging supplier in the country you're in to start with. Yes it is much cheaper overseas but a lot of the time you are looking to get the product out to consumers quickly and there is no time to wait for shipping etc. You can always move it overseas once you are happy with how it looks - this is good as it means if your product is profitable when everything is done in your own country then you know that you can start bringing your cost price down thus further increasing your profits.

    Ok so let's take our stress ball example - due to the sizing and shape we would have to use a box to package this - possibly one with a window that shows the user what's inside. You may also want to have a Euro slot holder built into the top so your product can be hung on rails. Search for "custom box retail packaging" and go through the different options available. It is always cheaper if your box is already created by the packaging company as it means you are ready to simply send them your design. If it isn't you will have to sketch out your box shape and it's dimensions and send this to them so they can create a new die cutter for your box. They will charge you a premium for this though. Always get quotes from a range of different companies and samples before you commit to a large order.

    So boxes work for a huge range of products but might not always be what you are looking for. For example you may want to package up something very thin. You have two further options that are very cost effective (assuming you use pre made sizes): blister packs and display cello bags.

    Blister packs come in a range on different sizes and can be very cheap - they self seal to create an incredibly professional retail ready finish. You can have a cardboard insert printed that fits perfectly inside. Search for "stock blister packaging" and as always get samples before committing.

    Display cello bags are see through plastic bags that have a seal at the bottom and a Euro slot holder at the top. You can put printed cardboard in these with your product inside and it looks very professional. They are incredibly cheap and a great option for a wide range of products.

    Before you start designing your packaging you will need to think carefully about all aspects of it:

    Make sure you use "buying" colours throughout your design. Yellows and reds for example are incredibly eye catching.

    Make sure your product is instantly understandable and users aren't having to pick it up and read the back to understand what it is. Check with friends and family that it works before committing.

    Make sure if you are using images on your product that they are high quality as you don't want a blurry finish.

    If you are selling to retail stores you will need a barcode on your product. You need one barcode per product variation. They need to be in EAN and UPC format to be able to be read by almost all tills. They are pretty cheap you shouldn't pay any more than $5 for one.

    When you are sending the company your designs always ask for a template for the product first. Then mock your design up in photoshop or illustrator. If you don't know how to do this then use the design service that most packaging printers provide. If they don't provide this use Fiverr.

    If you are reselling a product or shipping it over from overseas and don't want their designed packaging (usually has horrendous English, looks pretty rubbish, doesn't contain barcode etc) then search for OEM and your product name - most sellers will provide a customised packaging option. Again make sure you use a template they provide and that your artwork is high quality. If you don't want to wait for a packaging sample ask them to create one and take pictures of it.

    Product Pricing

    It is essential that you keep a full list of your costs from start to finish so that you know exactly where you stand when it comes to what you need to charge. This can be quite difficult and you should always take into account your time as well as overheads you wouldn't think about like postage tape or office rent. Here is a rough pricing breakdown example with cost, trade and retail pricing worked out.


    Manufacture including shipping to me: £3

    Printed card for packaging: £1

    Blister packaging: £1.20

    Shipping to customer: £2.30

    Labour cost for time to pack and ship: £1

    Overhead cost for packing materials, rent, other hidden charges: £2

    Total cost of product picked packed and sent to customer: £10.50

    Profit desired = £5 so our trade price is £15.50 and we times this by 2.5 for our retail price £38.75.

    This is a very rough calculation but you can see how keeping track of every little expense makes sure you keep complete transparency when selling your product. You can adjust these figures to suit but just get used to being very careful when it comes to pricing because you don't want to get left high and dry!!


    Product Routes to Market

    So your product is manufactured, packaged and priced so now it's time to make some money!

    Obviously there are a million and one ways to actually sell your product - here are just a few:

    Distribution - link up with a distributor in your product niche and have them do the hard work of selling it for you! They usually have a huge reach made up of different retailers and can shift a lot of units so make sure you price your product correctly and are ready to scale up if necessary. As they see a lot of products all the time it can be hard to get them to sell yours. Send them your product with a covering letter if possible and something for them to remember you by (I often use a box of chocolates that look fancy but only actually cost about £1!).

    Approach buyers yourself - if you want to cut out the middle man you can approach buyers yourself. Research all the companies that you would like to see stocking your product and then do a search for that company and the word "buyer" in google. You can usually find a Linked In profile. Then send your product in the same way as above to their offices with the person you have found above as the recipient and follow up a few days after with a phone call. Be firm with your price and don't go too low just because they are a big company. You still have to make your profit after all!

    Sell direct to retailer - why not try selling direct to the retailer. Usually there are companies in your niche that are independents and are happy for a salesman to come in and sell to them. You might not get huge orders this way but it's a good way to shift some stock and because you are selling it yourself you know you are painting your product in the best possible light!

    Get crowdfunded - as I mentioned earlier I did a Kickstarter campaign for one of my products and did ok. The trick is to be completely committed because you will be spending your entire time working on it. You must create the sales copy, create a great video, set up a website and social media and so much more. Most of your time though will be spent trying to get people to cover your product. Journalists are very hard to pin down. I did the following:

    Source all the publications/blogs/websites you want to be featured on.

    Search for the people in your field i.e. Technology journalist Daily Mail. There are often more than one!

    Add them with your product social accounts.

    Send them an email and tweet. Wait a few days and then try and call them.

    In your email you should have a very well written press release with a link to high quality images of your product. They are lazy bastards basically and want an easy story so try to give them one on a plate and you will succeed!!

    Once you are successfully funded - send all your products on time and save all the users emails. You can then start a customer database and target them for repeat sales and upsells.

    Also search for large Facebook groups in the crowdfunding niche and post in those - I got a few sales doing that!

    Sell direct to people offline - if you live somewhere where it is legal to sell in the streets with a permit then go for it!! It is a great way to see how people react to your product and it's always nice to be paid in cash! In the U.K. All you have to do is apply for a pedlars license which costs around £15 and you're off!

    Sell direct to people online - you should always get a website for your product so that you can sell online. Shopify is incredible for this as you can set it up in about an hour! Make sure you have great images and content on it and then start pushing it! Try social media ads, ppc, sponsored Instagram reviews and shoutouts - any way to get traffic to your product - blackhatworld is a huge resource for methods to sell online so research and implement. We also haven't talked about eBay or Amazon - a while back I bought my girlfriend a shellac nail kit for her birthday and realised that there was actually a lot of money to be made in that niche. I set up an eBay store and the business grew incredibly quickly - I sold over 100k in stock before I got priced completely out of the market and it was no longer profitable enough to continue. You can also sell on Amazon and use their incredible FBA service where they take care of all the storing, postage and packaging for you.

    Other things to think about

    Retail packaging - if you are going into some of the big retailers you are going to need to create shelf ready packaging. This depends on the size of your product but usually a custom designed counter display unit (CDU) will do the job. Make sure you use their templates again and get samples before buying! Only do this if you know the retailer will demand it. If you can just get away with your product being hung on hangers or simply stacked then do it. Always try to keep costs down (without affecting quality obviously!)

    PR stunts - in my opinion the fact that people are walking around with their noses in their phones 24/7 is a great thing for getting your product noticed. Stop thinking about how everyone else is doing things and start thinking out of the box. What stunts could you pull off that are legal, cheap and likely to get a lot of attention and of course highlight your product?

    I hope you've found this guide useful - I am by no means an expert but hopefully you have learnt something that you can implement here! Remember don't just come up with ideas - put them into action and see it through. No one gives a shit if I you say "oh someone's done that idea - I thought of that first". Be a doer not a dreamer!

    Oh and by the way the Donald Trump stress ball already exists:

    [​IMG]
     
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    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  2. MisterF

    MisterF Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    Nice contribution, look forward to the next part too.
     
  3. Dan Chapman

    Dan Chapman Newbie

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    Thank you! Uploading now - going to just add to my first post so it is all in one place!
     
  4. Dan Chapman

    Dan Chapman Newbie

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    Added - the full guide is now up! Let me know if you need any further help!
     
  5. Dan Chapman

    Dan Chapman Newbie

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    Anyone read this yet?
     
  6. somesickguy

    somesickguy Newbie

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    Thank you for some great insight and sharing your experience. Learned a few things from this, cheers.
     
  7. Dan Chapman

    Dan Chapman Newbie

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    That's great! Glad it was some help! :)
     
  8. BloodyNinja

    BloodyNinja Power Member

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    I skimmed through the text because physical product creation is not my thing. But this looks totally like a cool guide and it's a shame it got so little attention this far. I curse the "get rich quick by doing nothing" attitude so prevalent among bhw users and silently hope this thread will get more attention when the Friday is over :)
     
  9. Lt.Enraged

    Lt.Enraged Junior Member

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    Thank you for putting up the post. I've been in the retail business (white labeling products from china and own product line) for over 8 years and these are the good tips for people who wanna have a start up structural guideline to get the basics.
     
  10. Dan Chapman

    Dan Chapman Newbie

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    Thank you BloodyNinja - I think it's very easy to get drawn into believing that you can get rich by doing nothing as you say and hopefully this will inspire people to start doing things differently. Thanks for taking the time to read it!
     
  11. Dan Chapman

    Dan Chapman Newbie

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    Thank you! Wow 8 years - you are a seasoned pro! I dont have that much experience but thought I'd pass on what I can!