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Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: November 30th, 2016, 11:06 am
by Jed-at-Sketch-to-Shelf
Mr-914 wrote:I've been thinking of starting my own business and started sketching out a business plan. HR is something that I'm not confident in though.

I was thinking of hiring a designer and engineer to handle product development, a supply chain/logistics/purchasing person and a sales person. Then outsource graphic design, marketing, warehousing/fulfillment and accounting. All the while doing production in Asia.

If you could start over, what positions do you think you need to keep in house and what could you outsource?


I would outsource repeatable tasks that don't need much/any creative decision making. Everything else I would keep in house. Now, I do plan to hire a CEO at some point, and they'll likely be remote, but I do consider that in-house.

Let me push back a bit on you - what part do you WANT to do? I've had hands on every part of my business, and although that may be the slower way to grow, I've learned everything and can now understand exactly who to hire and for what role (when the time comes).

Tell me more about your ideas (or PM if you don't want to share publicly)

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: November 30th, 2016, 12:20 pm
by Mr-914
Primarily, I want to set strategy and coach. When needed, I'll design, engineer, graphic design, sales, marketing, publicity, verify accounting (AR, AP, taxes, expenses), negotiate with suppliers. I imagine that year 1 I would design and negotiate with suppliers 70% of my time and do sales 15-20% of the time. Year 2, I would hope to be able to spread myself across more of the business's activities.

Follow up for you: why a remote CEO?

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: November 30th, 2016, 12:23 pm
by Mr-914
BTW: Just looked at your company. I love your work! I wish I still had my cat!

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: November 30th, 2016, 5:51 pm
by KenoLeon
Jed-at-Sketch-to-Shelf wrote:If you have product ideas I can help you brainstorm first sale ideas.....


Thanks, I'll keep you in mind; I've been failing in some way or another at launching products for a while now.

I currently have a cosmetics type product I just finished with the packaging, but missed this holiday season and will probably start selling through etsy /its own site next year to validate.

My second project right now is a small niche electronic ( more of a kit) that I am finishing prototyping, same thing, I will show it to the community and see if there is any interest to push it forward.

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: December 1st, 2016, 12:55 pm
by Jed-at-Sketch-to-Shelf
Mr-914 wrote:
Follow up for you: why a remote CEO?


I run the business from my laptop, from my house or where ever I am traveling, so there's no office. A remote CEO would have to be happy to do the same....

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: December 1st, 2016, 12:56 pm
by Jed-at-Sketch-to-Shelf
Mr-914 wrote:BTW: Just looked at your company. I love your work! I wish I still had my cat!


Thanks!

Go adopt a new cat - there's plenty that need homes!

You're in MTL, right? There's at least 2 Cat Cafes you can go visit right now to get your fix!

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: December 1st, 2016, 12:58 pm
by Jed-at-Sketch-to-Shelf
KenoLeon wrote:
Jed-at-Sketch-to-Shelf wrote:If you have product ideas I can help you brainstorm first sale ideas.....


Thanks, I'll keep you in mind; I've been failing in some way or another at launching products for a while now.

I currently have a cosmetics type product I just finished with the packaging, but missed this holiday season and will probably start selling through etsy /its own site next year to validate.

My second project right now is a small niche electronic ( more of a kit) that I am finishing prototyping, same thing, I will show it to the community and see if there is any interest to push it forward.


Awesome! Sounds like you are on the track and things are already in process. I really like Shopify for ecomm sites, so check that out when the time is right.

If you have any questions along the way, feel free to ask me here, or in a PM, or at my site in the signature below.

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: December 1st, 2016, 4:17 pm
by amunta
Any tips for finding manufacturers over-seas? It's the part I'm currently stuck on. I've gotten a few quotes from places in the US but the quotes they have given me have been absurd.

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: December 2nd, 2016, 10:48 am
by Jed-at-Sketch-to-Shelf
amunta wrote:Any tips for finding manufacturers over-seas? It's the part I'm currently stuck on. I've gotten a few quotes from places in the US but the quotes they have given me have been absurd.


Making things in the US is tough. And much more expensive than overseas. But doable, if you design for manufacture and plan the pricing for the cost.

For China, Alibaba is an OK place to start looking. Pay attention to Factory listings vs Trading Partner listings. If you are a designer, you may want direct access to the factory.

Finding an agent may be a good place to start out - check out http://www.e-bi.net. I've talked to them, but have not worked with them, so go at your own risk.

Go to a tradeshow in China - you'll learn a ton and meet all the factories you can imagine.

Trust and Communication are important in exploring any new business relationship, so if you can find any recommendations from other designers for factories that may go a long way. What materials/process do you need?

It's a huge topic, so if you have a smaller specific question, I may be able to help more...

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: December 3rd, 2016, 12:58 am
by ryip
I'm not looking to start a business anytime soon, but I just wanted to say thanks for the interesting read.

Also, your products look fantastic!

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: December 3rd, 2016, 8:28 pm
by Jed-at-Sketch-to-Shelf
ryip wrote:I'm not looking to start a business anytime soon, but I just wanted to say thanks for the interesting read.

Also, your products look fantastic!


Thanks! Reach out when you're ready to roll. I'm happy to help!

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: December 6th, 2016, 8:08 am
by Mr-914
Something that I've seen with US or North American based factories is they will quote high for new work. The key is having an existing relationship with them or get to the right person and explain how you will bring them more work in the future. Sometimes tooling fees are the easiest thing to negotiate, if that's your sticking point. If the product doesn't require a lot of manual labor, it should be competitive in the US.

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: December 6th, 2016, 3:07 pm
by Jed-at-Sketch-to-Shelf
Mr-914 wrote:Something that I've seen with US or North American based factories is they will quote high for new work. The key is having an existing relationship with them or get to the right person and explain how you will bring them more work in the future. Sometimes tooling fees are the easiest thing to negotiate, if that's your sticking point. If the product doesn't require a lot of manual labor, it should be competitive in the US.


Agreed - Labor is the expensive part. Sometimes if you factor in the cost of ocean shipping to the US and duty, the price gets closer. I think there's a tax discount for made in the US also. The attitude it one sticky point for me - so far, all the US factories don't seem to want to do any bit of work outside whatever is normal and easy for them, while China factories will get anything done, anyway possible.

With the right planning and design for mfg, it can/could all be done here in North America.

Money talks in both locations, and the bigger the order, the more likely we are to get some good pricing, attention, flexibility, etc.

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: December 8th, 2016, 9:12 am
by Jed-at-Sketch-to-Shelf
Let's hear from some more designers!

Who out there is thinking about skipping the design consultancy and starting your own brand?

What kinds of products are you thinking about?

What's holding you back from making the leap?

Re: Industrial Designer with a Pet products brand - AMA!

PostPosted: December 8th, 2016, 5:23 pm
by yo
I've definitely thought about it... I think I always run the CBE on do I want to design most of the time, but for other people, vs design just a small part of the time but for myself... in addition to predictable income and using other people's money to do good things vs using my own capital or assuming the real risk of using other's loaned capital. If I could find that right investor who said "hey Michael, I'd like you to start an American competitor to the Ariel Atom, and I'll give you all the money because I'm rich and I like you".... that would be another story :-)