How to bring a simple product to market?


I have what I consider to be a simple and great idea. Like many people. Obviously, I won't describe it here, but I'll give a simple example of similar scale for answerers to work with.

Say my idea is for a notebook cut in a particular shape that I'm just positive would appeal to elementary school age girls. It's the sort of thing I would picture being sold in say--- Newbury Comics, I don't know. Go with that.

How can I make it happen? How can I make a simple product a reality, and get it onto store shelves? This is the sort of thing someone would just see and be like, oh that's a neat trinket, I want it. Not the sort of thing that requires brand recognition. Like a T-shirt with a funny message.

What possibilities are there to move forward from here?

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asked May 14 '13 at 11:20
115 points
  • You have (at least) two options. 1) Get a prototype and show it to buyers, shop owners, trade shows, etc in the hope that they will place an order, which you can show to a bank to finance manufacturing, etc. 2) Get online exposure, which is hard, but may allow you to generate some orders. In the meantime, join local/online business organisations and learn all you can. Try to seek out manufacturers who can help make good product at good prices, so you can make enough margin to thrive. Also, try Shark Tank, or local "pitch" events if they have them near you. Good luck. – Steve Jones 7 years ago

1 Answer


This sounds like the case when design patents are useful. I can cite the example of shape CDs, the (short) period where novelty cardCDs was the rage. What happened was the guy who came up with the idea lost control with all the multiple imitators and (I believe) got squeezed out of business. Some steps which are essential to go to market

  1. If unique (and not trademarked) protect your shape (or at least essential elements) through a combination of copyright, tradedress, and if necessary design patent
  2. once you have the registered protection (in countries including manufacturing) approach various manufacturing firms to build the product to spec. This may be hard depending on how unique your shape is (there are energy budgets for battery life)
  3. build up the sales channels through distribution agreements, then get the pipeline going from manufacturing, export, sales, etc

There are different paths to fund this enterprise, kickstarter is one possibility to get initial sales for novelty items, then if enough interest/volume move to a dedicated design platform where people can submit shapes for bulk purchasing. Essentially you are offering customised design of electronics a la Dell direct sales model. Expect fierce competition if it takes up (hence value of protecting all the intangibles early).

answered May 20 '13 at 07:54
501 points

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