From Idea to Magic

Idea! > Prototype > Building

Your Big Idea!

“One can steal ideas, but no one can steal execution or passion.” -- Tim Ferriss

First, please understand that good manufacturers are very busy and approaching them before you have a ready to produce product will frustrate everyone.

It’s important that you get your details together first.

Presenting your idea to a manufacturer at the right time can lead to healthy suggestions for a cost-conscious design, here’s how you can prepare before approaching a manufacturer.

1. Develop your concept

After you discover a viable product idea, take some time to refine your concept. Once you have dimensions and a sketch it’s time to work with a designer to work through the details and produce a ready to prototype or production file. Click here to find a designer for your project.

2. Conduct patent research

If you’re creating a consumer product use the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website to learn whether someone else created a similar idea, as you can only patent your idea if it has an original function or scope. If you find a similar idea in the database, you can alter these aspects and target a separate industry area. Be sure to enter all relevant keywords in the database to conduct a thorough search. It may also be helpful to use those same keywords in a search engine to see if anyone previously created a product with a comparable design.

3.Build and test a prototype

Here’s where imagination starts becoming reality. Create a working prototype to better understand its requirements, make any necessary adjustments to the design, and verify that it's operational. You can use this process to test the materials you envisioned for the project or examine a series of different options.

Depending on what your product is you can start by working with a prototyper by clicking here, or, if your designs are in order some manufacturers will help you with the prototype process. If approaching manufacturers with your prototype plans please be respectful of their time and have your plans and request in order.

4. File a patent application

If required, after finishing a working prototype, you can begin the official patenting process. Determine whether it requires a utility patent, meaning it legally protects how the product works, or a design patent, meaning it only protects the item's aesthetic design. It may be helpful to hire a patent attorney or another specialist in the industry to write the application, as they have the knowledge and training to better prevent competitors from using your design in the future. Be mindful to only hire professionals who have official accreditation from the USPTO. We recommend Trademarkia to start the process.

5. Find a manufacturer

Here are some topics to consider when selecting a manufacturer for your product:

Minimum order amount: the smallest number of items you're required to order before a company agrees to manufacture a product

Production timeline: how much time a company needs to create and ship a product order to your location

Process expenses: specific costs for each step, including production, equipment fees and shipping rates

Quality assurance: a company's system to ensuring that each item functions and matches its design specifications

6. Start production process

Send your design to a selected manufacturing company and consider requesting some product samples to test before you submit an official order request. It may be helpful to use your own quality control process for the sample to ensure it matches the functional and aesthetic design. You can also negotiate agreements like a production timeline, customization options or shipping expenses.