Product Launched!!

The Allur Wallet has been launched!

Notes from Lost Arts party and first day of launch:

- Large number of people at the party asked about a black version of Allur. When I asked why they preferred black, the common response was that it would fit seamlessly with most of smartphones. If product is struggling to reach funding, a black color option might boost popularity. 

- After presenting Allur in from of the crowd at the launch part, I realized that Public speaking is not my strength (note to self). Next time I need to practice way more. 

- Video is a bit shaky. Purchase a camera stabilizer (note to self). 

 

One more week to Kickstarter campaign launch...

A visit to AW enterprises (manufacturer of Allur):

  1. Discussed the improvement of the elastic band to a higher quality band
  2. Got approval to document the process of making Allur wallets using photos and videos
  3. Received valuable information on a source for leather and vinyl

Jamie Hoffman @ Uncommon Goods (Skype call)

  1. Include photos that show how your product works, where it is made, and what are the materials that you are using.
  2. When running a campaign it is helpful to have an operations person (someone who is prepared and can help you handle tasks)
  3. Include real good photos + packaging

Chris Huizenga (Skype call #2)

  1. Do research on your target audience
  2. "It is not just enough to make the thing. Design the experience."
  3. Make sure you know your audience really well 

First day back in school

After a huge crunch over the winter break to get the Kickstarter page to look presentable, I am proud to say that I am at a good point in the campaign. After a failed to manufacturer the first prototype, I have switched to AW Enterprises http://awenterprises.com/ who have proven repeatedly to be trusted manufacturers. 

Feedback on Kickstarter page:

  1. Change name of product
  2. Move adhesive application video into story
  3. Introduce the product at the beginning of video and explain why you need to get rid of your regular wallet.
  4. Change cleaning whipe -> wipe
  5. Images of wallet on different phones

Feedback from Liz Kores

  1. Influences: try to reach out to those with many followers and promote your product
  2. Treat everyone with respect because you never know who you might need help from
  3. Tag different companies and prodcuts in your posts to promote your prodcut
  4. Take high qaulity images with item being used

A small step backwards

A small step backwards was taken due to the manufacturer breaking their promise to create a working prototype of my wallet design. This is a great learning experience as it pushes me to work with multiple manufacturers to eliminate any future problems and make this project a reality!

Copy of Copy of Testing Adhesives and Mounting

A quick trip to some local sports stores such as REI and Dick’s Sporting goods helps inspire new ideas on how to improve the current wallet design. Some interesting products found were backpacks with straps, running bands, and other wallets.  Attached are some images of interesting finds during the trip.

More prototyping

Continuing the development of prototypes by figuring out details:

New features:

- rounded edges

- hand band (elastic)

- snaps (for security) 

folded over edges (for visual improvement) 

 

Finding material suppliers

This week my focus was to find sources for my materials that provide high quality and large selections of materials. The Textile outlet has a huge selection of high quality leather in different thicknesses, textures, and colors. The prices are also reasonable allowing to provide the buyer with an affordable product. 

Suppliers visited:

Fishman’s Fabric, Textile Discount Outlet, Joann’s Fabric, Vogue Fabric

 

Testing Adhesives and Mounting

Testing different types of adhesives to find the right solution. Main goal is to find an adhesive that will be strong and not damage the phone or case. Examples of adhesives tested include 3M high strength adhesives, Velcro, suction tape, and other brands.

Results:

Suction tape (F): Really bad results as the suction tape is not able to bond to phone surface nor the phone case. 

Velcro (D): While the Velcro does provide a tight bond between the phone and wallet case, it seems cheap and does not fit with the high quality appearance of vinyl and leather. 

Necal adhesive (C-): Easy to apply and remove peel cover, but leaves significant residue as seen in the image.

3M VHB adhesive (A-): Really strong bond between phone case and wallet. A little hard to remove the peel of tab. Will have to try different types of VHB tape. So far great results. 

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Prototyping, prototyping, and more prototyping! (Post #7)

Creating various prototypes using a range of materials, adhesives, and shapes. Click on each image for more information. 

A new direction: Phone Wallets (Post #6)

After developing a many prototypes of running bands, I was not satisfied with the results. With the goal to create an arm band that would allow for quick removal of the phone, storage of items, and accomodate different phone sizes, I decided to switch directions and create phone wallets for individuals on the go. With this switch, I still will be able to use my survey, materials, and any information learned from my previous arm band explorations. 


Reflections on interview with Chadwick Parker (Post #4)

Chadwick’s top concerns for a Kickstarter campaign:

1.       Is it patented? Google patents and check if your idea has been patented and if so, is it expired? “Last thing you want to do is copy someone.” (Chadwick Parker) Do not waste time designing something without researching first.

2.       Does it improve the experience? The product should improve the experience of the user. Chadwick likes to combine techniques and features in his Kickstarter products to create tools that improve the experience of each user. Steer away from “world’s best” statement as there are many products on the market and it would be rather difficult to be world’s best at something.

3.       Is it manufacturable? Are you able to produce it? Talk to manufacturers to determine how to construct a product that isn’t too expensive and difficult to produce.

4.       Have a realistic timeline. Create a time line to determine when each step of the product must be complete. Avoid “you said it would be done but it is not” phrase from bakers. “Whenever you think it would be done add a month to it” (Chadwick Parker) Backers enjoy receiving their products before the promised date. Being on time creates trust with backers for future campaigns.

5.       Other tips:

a.       If manufacturer is struggling, find ways to help them

b.       Picking a material with a higher perceived value allows us to charge more

c.       Pick the idea you are most excited about even if you have another that is more popular

d.       Communicate with manufacturers and provide clear, concise, instructions

One area of your project in which I've taken a deep dive (Post #3)

Write about one area of your project in which you've taken a deep dive. This can be writing about conversations with manufacturers, explaining a technical process that you've been investigating, a summary of conversations that you've had with people who you think are your target user, or an explanation of a killer model making session that you undertook.

One significant project that had an in-depth research phase was the family of battery powered tools named Ego. This project was significant due to the primary and secondary research that my partner and I conducted before even considering possible design solutions.

The first step of our design process was to immerse ourselves into the already existing products produced by Ego. In order to do so, we visited the primary distributor of Ego power tools in Home Depot. While a week of online research helped us get an idea about the history and different tool options, the primary hands on experience taught us more within an hour of observation. We were able to touch the tools, interact with features, and learn about patterns such as color schemes and material combinations.

An essential part of the primary research was the capturing of photo footage and note taking. By taking an endless number of pictures, we were able to analyze the products from the comfort of our homes and classroom. Note taking was also very important as it captured initial thoughts, possible areas of interest, and other details.

Primary research proved to be a very effective first method of gathering key information. This later transferred into the ideation phase following by conceptualization and prototype development. As a result, my partner and I were able to create a successful line of products for the Ego brand and a strong portfolio piece for the future.

 

Final take (what I learned):

­_ Primary research speeds up the rest of the design process.

_ Talk to the primary users.

_ If I decide to do the Walker attachments, I need to talk to the elderly or users of these products.

Audience not as easily accessible but still available through community living and mother’s work in hospice. Audience not as easily accessible but still available through community living and mother’s work in hospice. Project could have a huge audience as there are many walker users. Easy prototyping using cardboard and actual walker.

_ If I decide to do the team color badges, I need to talk to athletes and potential users

Very easily accessible audience (friends) that I see weekly during basketball league and gym. Need to develop target audience since I am unclear yet. Children playing tag? Marathon runners? Team sport players? Easy prototyping but not easy final assembly (sewing)

My favorite EPD project from 2017 (Post #2)

Brief: Write about your favorite project from last year's EPD class. Compare it to the project that you backed recently. What do you want to do similarly and differently from each campaign?

When it comes to the 2016 EPD class, my favorite project was the rüT Terra Cotta Hangersby Jason Vaccarello. Designed to hold plants on wooden decks and patios, the hangers utilize simple materials to perform a difficult task.

 Credit: Jason Vaccarello

Credit: Jason Vaccarello

 

It was during the Kickstarter launch party at Lost Arts that I was first introduced to Jason’s project. After experiencing all the other great projects from the 2016 EPD class, rüT stood out to me the most because it aimed to solve an existing problem. After talking to Jason, I learned that rüT was constructed from a single sheet of steel and bent to hang pots and plants on the standard sized balusters of a deck or patio. The simplicity of the product was very convincing as it used limited materials and a single manufacturer to create each unit.

Although I have never backed a project on Kickstarter, a project named Stayhold showed many similar characteristics to rüT. Similarly to Jason’s Terra Cotta hangers, Stayhold uses limited materials to create an effective productive. While rüT used sheet steel and a metal bending process, Stayhold uses a high intensity plastic. Both projects also share the idea of avoiding assembly and clearly explaining the function, making each Kickstarter campaign clear and convincing.

The biggest difference between rüT and Stayhold is the target audience for each project. While Stayhold tries to address a problem that is wide spread, rüT tried to address a less common problem due to the limitation of individuals who live in households with decks. The audience for Stayhold includes an enormous number of individuals who own vehicles. While as of 9/26/17 the project has not yet reached the goal of $23,722, it has already achieved $11,705 in funding. It will be interesting to check back and see if this project will be able to reach the goal and go into first production.

 

Final take (what I learned):

_ Address a large audience for best support results

_ Clear and concise = effective

_ Use of Gifs quickly explains problem or function or both

_ Record all steps such as drawings, prototyping, etc.

 

Request Interview Draft (Post#1)

Request Interview EPD Draft 1_Marcin Wieczorek

Speedway Logistics owner: Steve Sledz

Interview brief: As a student for of the Entrepreneurial Product Design (EPD) I (Marcin Wieczorek) am conducting an interview with a friend or family member that has started a business. The following questions are used to get a better understating of the entrepreneurial world. The following information will be used in a blog, which captures the progress of my EPD Kickstarter campaign.

 

What does services does Speedway Logistics provide?

 

What made you choose this type of business?

 

Which business opportunity out of the following does your company try to achieve?

1.       Pioneer a truly innovative product?

2.       Devise a new business model?

3.       Create a better or cheaper version of an existing product or service?

4.       Targeting an existing product/service to a new set of customers.

 

What were some of the difficulties in the beginning of the business?

 

To what do you attribute your success?

 

If you could go back and change something in the past about the business what would you change?

 

If you had one piece of advice for a beginner entrepreneur, what would it be?