I have been asked countless times over the years by people who have product ideas about how best to get off an running. So I thought I would share with you my tips for designing and selling products.
1 -IDENTIFY A NEED
At ZELCO, we design products with problem-solving in mind. If you have a need for a product and can’t find anything currently on the market that answers that need, chances are, many other people probably have the same need you do. For example, our “itty bitty” Book Lights were the result of my desire to read in bed at night without disturbing my wife’s sleep. It turns out, there were other tired parents out there with a similar need and our “itty bitty” Book Lights created a new industry.
2-PRODUCT DESIGN IS CRITICAL
Your problem-solver shouldn’t require an engineering degree to operate. It should be relatively simple and easy to operate. Otherwise, it no longer solves a problem. Rather it creates a whole host of other issues. It should be simple, intuitive and elegant. My illustration for this, would be Apple’s iphone. It is intuitive. You don’t need a book to figure out how to operate the device. It is sleek and elegant.
3 - QUALITY IS IMPORTANT
Sure, you can find book lights in supermarkets for $0.99. But it probably will break very easily and the light output wouldn’t illuminate a business card, let alone a book. People will remember a quality product and continue to search for other products you make. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy – quality products help establish a brand. ZELCO customers know that we have been a reliable supplier for 37 years. They keep coming back to us because our products do not fail them.Fourth, packaging should not be an afterthought. It reinforces all of the thought and care and quality you put into the product. Stores love products with excellent packaging. They calculate the time a shopper will spend glancing the aisles in the store and how long before they decide to purchase a product or leave it on the shelf. You have about 30 seconds to explain your product and illustrate its use. More graphics and copy is not necessarily the answer. One of our most successful products, the “itty bitty” book light, had absolutely no copy or images on the packaging at all. In fact, it was a black, glossy box with the product name printed simply in the center of the box. The ingenious part of the packaging was the fact that it looked like a book. It gave a hint of mystery as well as indicated the product’s use without saying a word.
Finally, selling is something you enjoy or hate. It is kind of like acting – you have to be okay with rejection, a lot of it! Perseverance is key. But feedback is equally important. Listen to input and don’t get so attached to your idea that you lose sight of the point – designing products can be an art. Selling your products makes it a business and hopefully a livelihood.?