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To go big or stay small

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Old 22-02-11
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Default To go big or stay small

Hi Guys, First time to the forum, and would appreciate your advice. My husband and i have a garden tool which we are making ourselves and selling at farmer markets. We are getting good feedback and small sales, but we are becoming known which is good. Our dilema is do we stay small or do we take the plunge and get bigger? My husband does the manufacturing only on the weekends as he has his own building company. There is nothing in the retail market like this, and we are not going to patent it as from all I have read its not worth it. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Regards Leafy

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Old 22-02-11
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Default Re: To go big or stay small

Hi Leafy,

What an exciting crossroads to find yourselves at! Congratulations

I'll be interested to read the suggestions you receive.

All the best, and welcome to the forum,
Jayne

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Old 23-02-11
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Default Re: To go big or stay small

Hi Leafy
As a passionate gardener I'm dying to know what tool you are making!

Anyhow...when you say "take the plunge" and get bigger does that mean giving up the business you now have to take up the manufacturing of this yourselves?

Or are you looking to new markets to sell into - or perhaps looking for retail outlets?

Or are you looking to create an online presence? Or are you looking to outsourcing your manufacturing?

Just a word of warning about the latter.

There was once a wonderful product sold which had been hand-made by a gardening couple. For a couple of years we'd see it at farmer's markets, various gardens in the Open Garden Scheme that the ABC runs, and advertised in the back section of all the gardening magazines which are devoured by garden devotees just as much as the articles.

And then suddenly they disappeared. When we followed up what had happened apparently they had got to the point where they needed to "take the plunge" and make it their full time business and they outsourced the manufacturing of their product to China.

Everything went downhill. The point they had missed - somehow - was that other gardeners really liked the fact that it was a hand made product that they were buying and were willing to pay the price.

So, understanding your buyers is a big key to future success.

Good luck and I hope you keep posting on your decision making.

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Leafy (25-02-11)
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Old 24-02-11
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Default Re: To go big or stay small

Don't write off getting a patent too soon. If you have a product you are proud of and you honestly feel you can call your own then please at least look further at protecting it.

Sadly in the world we live in it would not be unforeseeable to have a good idea stolen. Think of the trademarking of ugg boots for example (not the same as a patent, but essential to the product).

Maybe you could even do a shout out on here for assistance with this from someone who has maybe been there and done that.

On another note ...

Secondly for a small cost think about some branding. Does your product get sold loosely or is there some packaging?

You should be able to talk to a small local printer about packaging. I can think of two types for you that would be easy for YOU to apply.

1. A plastic bag (or slip) that can have a folded cardboard element at the top that you simply staple when you put the tool in to.

2. A simple cardboard backing that the tool is then secured to by 2 small cable ties.

3. Less professionally (but just as purposeful) you could design on your home PC a small flyer to insert with the product into some clip-lock bags.

Each of these could be cheap and cheerful but could readily offer you a branding element to your product and also you can include product information and contact details etc if people want to refer your product to others.

If things go well you could even look to get a small website with a basic shopping cart to show off your product and encourage postal sales (obviously they will have a postage & handling element) ... it doesn't have to be too complex OR expensive.

Feel free to send me a private message if you need a referral to a printer or a web developer (I don't get anything for that by the way).

Cheers,
Mike

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Old 24-02-11
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Default Re: To go big or stay small

It may already be too late to patent it as you have released it into the public space.

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