Taking Baby Steps in Business.
Starting your Idea
How does one go about getting an idea made? The first step is to get it drawn up professionally. I was lucky in this respect because one of my best friends is a fashion designer and she was able to do it for me. The next step was finding someone to make a Prototype of your product. I first located a company in Corona California that worked through a factory in China. I met with a rep from the company and showed him my drawings. First having him sign a NDA (non disclosure agreement) you need to keep your ideas safe.
He had me go to the garment district in Los Angeles and purchase the materials to make the prototypes. He then shipped the materials over and a few weeks later I had my first bag. The top portion was not correct so we had to dial that in. Originally the bag was 22 inches wide and at that size it got very heavy. I decided I wanted to put wheels on it. Unfortunately the Chinese manufacturer did not have experience with this so I had to find a new company.
After more searching I found a company in Vietnam that had an American owner and I dealt directly with him. They got the wheels on the bag, but then the handle was in the middle and made it unsteady when towing. They tried it with a handle that was more even however due to the length of the bag it was still tippy.
At this time I had also asked them to make me a smaller size bag that was 17" wide. When I received that bag I fell in love with it! It was the perfect size and I decided to forego the larger bag with wheels. This whole process of going back and forth and finding someone took a couple of years. Dealing with the logistics of manufacturing on the other side of the world is not an easy process. But finding a place close to home can be difficult depending on what you need manufactured.
Do your research when looking for a manufacturer. Get 5 to 10 contacts of other people they have done manufacturing for and contact those people to find out their experiences in dealing with that particular manufacturer. Find out how easy they were to communicate with, what their contracts entailed, did they change the price per piece after the first quote, if so was it for a reasonable issue, did they do work in a timely manner, was everything delivered satisfactory, what inspection process do they adhere to, etc. Find out everything you can before they do the work for you, learning from other peoples dealings is invaluable.
Getting your product made can be easy or difficult depending on what it is you need made. You have to remember that it is a process along with a lot of learning along the way. Chunk out your steps and work on them one at a time. Don't get too far ahead of yourself. Take care of one step at a time. Branding and marketing is a whole other arena that will make you or break you. More on this subject later.