I joined IWI (Inventors Workshop International, as referenced in my last post) in May 2009 and with their guidance I began the process of checking on patents, trademarks, names, copyrights etc. and learning about these subjects. In June 2009 I entered into an agreement with the manufacturer to start working on my CAD drawings so that we could finalize a design and thus produce an estimate for the cost to make a prototype of the case.
With my business plan completed, projected costs calculated, patent research results returned and PoopPac still looking like a viable proposition, in November 2009 I commissioned the manufacturer to go ahead with the prototype. Prototyping went exceedingly well, and we had a PoopPac ready for field market research by January 2010.
However it was not all plain sailing. We hit the 'common' hurdle found in many 'construction jobs' involving materials and labor. By the time our perfect little PoopPac was ready to meet the world we were over budget. I was initially incredibly disappointed (actually a mini meltdown, as you can probably imagine) as I had worked so hard during every meeting with the manufacture to ensure we were keeping the case within the agreed price point but alas the final tally was off (how could this be? I was working with experienced, seasoned professionals...)!
The truth of the matter is we had designed an excellent product, and using the highest quality materials and fine attention to detail we had a wonderful case that we were all very proud of. The problem was the case was not going to be joining the world of high end designer handbags and luggage with great 'brand' recognition. It was a case designed specifically to carry dog waste, to be launched by a new business, on a budget, and with out a comparable product on the market to compare it next to. Thus I felt it would be a very price sensitive product, especially as we were bringing something new to market (being a case to carry pet waste). However once you have 'the perfect case' it is very difficult to start stripping back some of the features to bring the manufacturing costs down, so I decided to go with PoopPac 'Original' knowing I would need to release PoopPac 'Basic' as well, if my business model was to have any chance of being financially viable.
In England we have the saying 'in for a penny, in for a pound'. PoopPac had turned out so well, and the whole team at our manufactures were so excited about our little PoopPac that we decided to go the full distance and build PoopPac 'Lux'; the result-gorgeous! Now would anyone pay the price required for PoopPac Lux? Who knows, but we made it and we love it so there you have it!
My learning curve on this part of my journey was that with the best will in the world, you will go over budget. Working with top designers and crafts people (our manufacturers are recognized as one if the leading designers and manufactures of thermoformed cases in the USA) your team are going for the 'award wining design' the 'perfect' product, and the price point sensitivity is perhaps not quite as sharp to them as to me, the one who has to sell the item... We've all been there; the budget for the house remodel, the 'dress' for the occasion, the 'most' we can spend on a gift... So now I know to build in a cushion and tell NO ONE the cushion is there. Hmm but I would know! OK, note to self; chances are, if designing a product from scratch, you will go over budget - period.