Yesterday I met with Creative Engineering to see if my designs for the baby bed are viable and marketable, as well as get a better sense of the production costs. It was bittersweet. Paul Dowd met with me for 2 hours and explained:
- Patent research
- The difference between injection molding, blow molding, and vacuum molding (phew)
- Certain design refinements
- 3-d imaging software (Rhino and Solid Works)
- Manufacturing in the US vs China
As if you didn’t know this already, but I learned that google provides a free version of pretty much everything. You can make 3-d models using Google Sketch Up. You can research patents using Google.com/patents.
The meeting cost $45o – a price which seemed astronomical to me at first. Now I’m realizing any amount you pay to avoid wasting thousands in the long run is totally worth it. I was really nervous before the meeting. I was afraid he would tell me I’m wasting my time. My fears weren’t based on him criticizing the idea, it was facing the reality that I might not make it as an entrepreneur. The meeting was bittersweet.
He thinks the design is good and worth pursuing.
Just to make the molds for the prototype can cost $10,000 -$20,000. I can work around this by making a prototype out of foam without breaking the bank. I won’t be able to test it out with babies, but at least it will be able to give potential investors a better sense of my concept. But even so, eventually I will need to get the molds and they’re going to cost big bucks. The thing is, plastic molding is really expensive to make small batches, but in large volume it gets cheaper. But if I spend $20,000 on the molds, then $5,000 on website development and marketing, and $5,000 in miscellaneous costs, will I ever be able to order a large batch??? Will I ever break even??? Am I going crazy???
OK I’m just playing devil’s advocate here. I still believe in the concept and in my ability to follow through. And I know there is always a cheaper way to make something happen, and I just need to do my due diligence.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I need to stick with my goal, and not get bogged down with future challenges. Things will come together. One step at a time. A thousands points of light. And all those other great cliches.