From Idea to a Product Development
My Side Hustle
Written by a non-native English speaker
Since I moved to Bilbao I no longer need a car and my daily shopping changed from big supermarket chains to a small local spots in the center of the city. There is still something romantic and a bit nostalgic about small Spanish or French street markets .. When you are surrounded by fresh, mostly artisan food coming from local farmers it’s better to have a lightweight tote bag with you for some greens or seafood- you never know what inspires your inner Chef :-)
Recalling my childhood years I remember my grandma coming home after work with a net bag in her hands sometimes packed with bread, vegetables and milk bottles. I could feel the weight of that bag by seeing her hand palms crossed with red lines- the sharp and deep marks on the skin left by thin, wiry and painful threads of the bag handles.
I imagined to go back in time and give her a little help. This is how the idea about restyled mesh bag was born.
The net bag – a symbolic element from the 70s, is now back in fashion and my idea is to get rid of discomfort and refresh its look. I decided to replace its most painful parts with longer and larger shoulder straps.
By the way, you don’t use it only for shopping, it works perfectly as a beach-, pool-, gym- or laundry bag for its packable yet expandable quality, or you can storage things to keep them breathable.
You know how often it happens when you stop by the shop to buy 1 or 2 things, but you end up with hands full of bags and no car parked close, yeh.. this discomfort made me think about the shape of the handle straps also, so I adjusted the way it’s sewn together, so you may use it as a backpack.
the length of the shoulder straps added resistance and its large surface made the net bag easily personalized.
The fact that the net bag was considered “The must-have bag for Summer 2018” by Vogue and now is already 2019, I give my idea a try to bring a restyled vintage bag “Vanilla Chill” to the market anyway. Besides all its practical and visual merits, a mesh bag is an obvious environmentally friendly accessory.
New Product Development is the process that takes a product from conception to market. New or rebranded products are meant to fill a consumer demand or an opportunity in the marketplace. The steps in product development include:
drafting the concept,
creating the design,
developing the product,
defining the marketing.
Drafting the concept
I started browsing to check if any similar products already existed on the market. But I didn’t find anyone manufactured a net bag with the straps I was imagining.
Marketers are looking into a product concept before marketing a product towards their customers.
The product concept proposes that consumers will prefer products that are simpler and easier to use, that have better quality, performance and features.
Well I draw a concept on my iPad using “Procreate” app and checked a few shops with sewing tools. Being hypersensitive to synthetic fabrics I was convinced from the start about
- natural fabrics
- more comfort
- good quality
- trendy look
- no plastic elements
Creating the design
I ordered a simple bag and a large cotton strap on Amazon and I was manually sewing the strap to the bag, as I don’t own a sewing machine.. the result didn’t really convinced me, but I decided to give it another try.
I started to look for manufactures who could prepare custom made samples of the bag.. firstly checking East European countries (I heard many brands are manufacturing now in Ukraine) than in Italy and Germany (to avoid transport and custom issues and to have a smooth payment process). You probably can imagine, no one wanted to deal with the low quantity order from the person registered on LinkedIn as an artist :-)
Developing the product
So, guess where I ended up? Yeh, on Alibaba. I did my research and based on customer reviews, low MQO and pictures, I approached a few manufacturers from China. At the end, I sticked to the one who was replaying the fastest.
MOQ stands for Minimum Order Quantity, and refers to the minimum amount that can be ordered from a manufacturer. For example, if a supplier or manufacturer mentions an MOQ of 2,000 units, you must be able to purchase at least 2,000 units to start.
It took me a few month to clarify orders, shipment options, custom taxes,.. All these could have been done more quick, but I am still not good enough in Spanish to understand all local laws and regulations. I subscribed to different groups on Facebook to get more information from people mostly selling via Amazon, as they often solving similar issues and are familiar with selling and marketing techniques.
The communication with the girl called Zoe was super fast, she was replying to all my emails and made me feel as if I already have a friend on the other side of the planet.
I have to admit I am a very but very complicate customer and buyer. I am the one who complains by the any given chance about quality, timing, visual look, temperature, smell, color,.. if I were the owner of the restaurant or a shop I would treat customers like myself in a very short and rude way by closing the doors and never ever letting them in.
Defining the marketing
A product marketing strategy includs customer analysis, product development, pricing, branding, sales and distribution plans.
…to be continued
Written by a non- native English speaker Yuliya Vladkovska