LumberJocks

All Replies on Having my designs manufactured

  • Advertise with us
View DTrak's profile

Having my designs manufactured

by DTrak
posted 02-09-2018 04:00 PM


1 2 next »
51 replies

51 replies so far

View Kilo19's profile

Kilo19

84 posts in 225 days


#1 posted 02-09-2018 04:05 PM

If I had a better shop set up and more confidence in myself, I’d love to help you out with something like this. I’ve always wanted to have working relationship like this. But maybe sometime in the future.

-- Justin

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#2 posted 02-09-2018 04:18 PM

Thanks Justin, it’s just nice to hear that this would even interest someone. Maybe someday this will be a real company with remote team members and I will look you up again. :)

View Kilo19's profile

Kilo19

84 posts in 225 days


#3 posted 02-09-2018 04:27 PM



Thanks Justin, it s just nice to hear that this would even interest someone. Maybe someday this will be a real company with remote team members and I will look you up again. :)

- DTrak

Dont’ put all your eggs in one basket. Great idea. You come up with test, designs from multiple people (like interviewing for a job) choose a select few that meet your criteria and then you can have your production amount, but with a somewhat “custom” touch. Look forward to that time, (if the stars aline) and will be around here, drop a line anytime.

May fortune be in your favor during this time.

-- Justin

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

10401 posts in 3647 days


#4 posted 02-09-2018 04:32 PM

I wouldn’t mind manufacturing such things
(I like the weight) but if you’re looking at selling
direct via sites like Amazon and Etsy, you’re
probably looking at very competitive pricing
environments… and if you’re getting beat-up
on price by your competitors you may have a
hard time affording artisanal production.

One of the tricks, among many, is to make a
fine product and get it out in front of people
who have lots and lots of money to buy fine
things. That means doing juried shows, courting
interior designers, running ads in chic print
journals.

View PCDub's profile

PCDub

38 posts in 244 days


#5 posted 02-09-2018 04:42 PM

By the way, beautiful lamps!

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#6 posted 02-09-2018 04:55 PM

Hi Loren, Hearing you say that makes me think maybe I should be looking for folks like yourself. You would also have to know how to wire it and add the glass (I would supply). Both of those things are pretty easy though.

I do have a plan for selling. I know something about search engine optimization, social media advertising, google adwords, etc. I plan to develop an ecommerce site and sell them directly and maybe through something like Houzz. I also plan to contact bloggers, journals, etc as you suggest. Agreed, these lamps will definitely be expensive (and therefore too high end for Etsy or Amazon) so I need to get my ads in front of rich people. I don’t want to do the craft show circuit because I have a family and don’t want to give up my weekends.

I plan to have a small inventory at launch, so maybe 8 models with 10 each, so that’s an initial purchase of 80lamps. I understand that’s a lot for one person to produce, so I would need to find others like yourself. When I have my prototypes ready I can start looking for other craftsmen. This is all still several months away, I just wanted to know if this is viable and I am already feeling more encouraged.

Speaking very roughly from the models you just saw, if I purchased 10 at the outset, what do you think you would charge? The wood would prob be oak and cherry. I am just trying to get a sense.

View Lazyman's profile

Lazyman

1965 posts in 1387 days


#7 posted 02-09-2018 04:56 PM

I think that you need to start small by finding a couple of talented woodworkers who will make them cheaply enough that you can still make some money on them and offer them as a premium, hand made item—i.e., Art. Produce a few for inventory, create a website for people to order, and find some galleries or shops that are willing to sell them. If you have to dumb them down to make them mass-producible in an assembly line, they have to wind up cheap enough so you’ll only make a few bucks on each one. In other words, make them a rare premium collectable, like Sam Maloof or Seth Rolland, rather than a commodity item.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1599 posts in 3558 days


#8 posted 02-09-2018 05:02 PM

Hey Dan,

I really like your lamp designs and that first one really speaks to my aesthetic. I think you have something there.

I just finished building my woodworking shop and am looking for commissions. I currently have some people interested in having me build wooden boats and teardrop campers, but I’m very interested in picking up some production work like this. I’m a semi-professional woodworker that has sold several pieces over the years (mostly to finance power tool purchases). For example, I’m helping some friends that have a boutique-style business by building some of their more popular designs. They design and sell and I support them with production after they build the prototype/display model.

Your post made me think of the business model that’s being used on another forum I’m active on that has to do with CNC routing. There’s a parent company that recruits individuals that own their own CNC routers. The parent company receives orders to make either one-offs or small batches. They then ask the individuals to bid on the job, award the contract and everybody is happy. I must mention that prior to getting a contract, the individuals are vetted for quality and delivering on time. The individuals were all initially contacted via a general post on the forum looking for people interested in this kind of paying work. Several people used this to pay off their CNC machines. I don’t know if this business model interests you, but I thought I’d share it just in case.

Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss this further.

Chris

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#9 posted 02-09-2018 05:06 PM

The only issue I see with galleries or shops is they would need to tack an additional 50% on to the price and they prob wouldnt want me also selling them independently on my website for 50% cheaper. Or I could sell it to them for 50% less than on my website, thereby keeping the price the same on my website and their store/galley, but then I would barely make a profit. Am I right?

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

10401 posts in 3647 days


#10 posted 02-09-2018 05:11 PM

Right. You can’t undercut your own retailers
and expect them to have any enthusiasm for
selling your stuff.

80 lamps with a spread of complexity between
the two examples… perhaps the price could
be got down to around $200 average per unit
to cut, sand and assemble on the whole run.
Finishing I would farm out at additional cost.
Then there’s boxing them properly and all that.
It adds up.

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1599 posts in 3558 days


#11 posted 02-09-2018 05:13 PM

The days of brick and mortar stores are numbered. I’d focus on selling via social media that gets propagated via sharing. You could get millions of views if it goes viral. There are several ways to determine pricing, cost of materials and labor multiplied by the markup necessary to make a profit, or starting with a price that sets the perceived value/market you’re looking for and seeing if you can produce the product for that while still making the necessary profit.

This may help you figure out pricing:

https://youtu.be/Uu_qFDanGPY

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1599 posts in 3558 days


#12 posted 02-09-2018 05:15 PM

Making them would necessitate accurate templates and finishing would definitely need to be done via HVLP and a spray booth.

Once you’ve achieved both of those, small batches of 10 would be pretty easy to crank out.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Kilo19's profile

Kilo19

84 posts in 225 days


#13 posted 02-09-2018 05:17 PM

You mentioned early several months out. I’m in the design/planning stage of adding on/building my workshop. So if that timeline works, I’d put my name in the hat.

-- Justin

View CharlesNeil's profile

CharlesNeil

2399 posts in 3870 days


#14 posted 02-09-2018 05:18 PM

Pm me
might be able to help

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1036 posts in 2111 days


#15 posted 02-09-2018 05:19 PM

DTrak – The lamps look great. I’ve built a few lamps myself but am very hesitant to sell them as I’m worried about liability. Have you done anything in that regard? Sorry – a bit off topic.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany

View HerbC's profile

HerbC

1756 posts in 2859 days


#16 posted 02-09-2018 05:24 PM

An important item you’ve not mentioned is the requirement to meet safety requirements which I believe a quite stringent on lamps. Failure to meet the requirements could result in major fines…. (there goes your already slim profits…)

Good Luck!

Be Careful!

Herb

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!" http://lumberjocks.com/HerbC/blog/17090

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#17 posted 02-09-2018 05:29 PM

Loren, that sounds very reasonable. It’s important to me that whoever I work with feels that they are being compensated fairly for their work.

CaptainSkully, I sent you a private message too but that’s a good tip about finishing, I hadn’t given that a lot of thought. I plan on making templates.

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1599 posts in 3558 days


#18 posted 02-09-2018 05:34 PM

Big box stores like Home Depot sell UL approved lamp parts. I’m sure you can buy UL parts for less than retail. My only concern would be when buying off Chinese import places like ali express.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#19 posted 02-09-2018 05:35 PM

As for safety requirements/liability, from my research it appears that to sell your lamps commercially or at a major retail outlet, it needs to be UL or ETL certified. The certification process requires quarterly audits that I think were like a few 100bucks after the initial one which was more. I dont think small run, “artisan” lamps I see online are often certified though. I can’t see these starting a fire but maybe I am not being cautious enough. Anyway, so I haven’t decided if it’s worth getting the certification or not yet.

View Kilo19's profile

Kilo19

84 posts in 225 days


#20 posted 02-09-2018 05:40 PM



As for safety requirements/liability, from my research it appears that to sell your lamps commercially or at a major retail outlet, it needs to be UL or ETL certified. The certification process requires quarterly audits that I think were like a few 100bucks after the initial one which was more. I dont think small run, “artisan” lamps I see online are often certified though. I can t see these starting a fire but maybe I am not being cautious enough. Anyway, so I haven t decided if it s worth getting the certification or not yet.

- DTrak

So would the idea be that one person buys the lamp kits, or wire…etc and that person is who holds the certification if it came down to that? If thats the case then your sure of them being the same quality/type.

-- Justin

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1599 posts in 3558 days


#21 posted 02-09-2018 05:51 PM

My understanding is that Dan would hold the certificate and/or have the liability, source parts, etc. and they would get shipped to the person doing the production. It wouldn’t be feasible to ship the wood, so that would be sourced by the person doing the production. Dan would spec the species, finish, etc. The next question is distribution.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#22 posted 02-09-2018 05:53 PM

One thing I am not clear on is if the certification person needs to see the work in progress (therefore visiting the maker’s place) or can just see the finished product (visiting my house). I guess those are part of the details I need to figure out.

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1599 posts in 3558 days


#23 posted 02-09-2018 05:58 PM

When a product gets UL listed, one of the units gets shipped to the lab where they stress-test it. I seriously doubt in this day and age you’d need to physically visit. Otherwise, nothing would be made in China.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#24 posted 02-09-2018 05:59 PM

great, that sounds more feasible then.

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#25 posted 02-09-2018 08:03 PM

I just wanted to thank all of you for this feedback. Super helpful. Loren, Kilo19, CharlesNeil, thanks for the interest. Once I am further along I will be in touch! I know I have a lot of work to do, but I am feeling encouraged and confident I can make this happen.
Dan

View clin's profile

clin

842 posts in 996 days


#26 posted 02-09-2018 11:07 PM

I think 80 units is an exceptionally small amount to be doing and expect any large outfit to deal with. I would think you’d need to order thousands to get their attention on one design. Otherwise it just isn’t worth it to tool up for such a small run.

Of course 80 would be a reasonably large amount of work for a small shop like some of the members here on LJ’s seem to have. Still 10 of each design would be such a small number that you’d still not really settle in on the most efficient methods for any one design.

Keep in mind, no matter who you work with, you will have problems. It comes down to communication. It always takes time to iron out issues. I’ve no experience contracting out woodworking, but do with electronics, and no matter how much documentation you have, there’s always something that gets overlooked or misunderstood.

And just becasue you finally get it settled, and they’ve done 10 runs just the way you want, the 11th may have something screwed up becasue they hired a new employee, or were certain it couldn’t possibly matter if they used X instead of Y material for some part of it. Or their wood supplier changed something on them without telling them.

This is not to say don’t do it. Just be prepared. Hard enough having other people do it right when you can directly supervise, that much harder still when you can’t do that.

P.S. I like those lamps. The first one in particular.

-- Clin

View CaptainSkully's profile

CaptainSkully

1599 posts in 3558 days


#27 posted 02-10-2018 03:03 AM

I will have to disrespectfully disagree with a few of @clin’s points. Ten of each design is a perfect place to start. I would actually start with one prototype of one design, then do the other nine of that design, then if all is well with the vendor, go ahead with the other seven. That way, Dan isn’t out a ton of money if one particular vendor doesn’t work out. He can iron out any kinks as they pop up without being knee-deep into any one batch. Once you work with someone at this level, you develop a rapport with them that facilitates good communication.

In general, my experience with woodworkers has been 99% amazing. The one exception was when I commissioned a guy back when I was making big IT bucks to build me a set of end tables and a coffee table. He barely delivered the one, I barely got my deposit back on the others and his wife chewed me out for being insensitive to him having a heart attack that I didn’t know about. I only know that I got the run around for a year and only one of the three pieces to show for it. But I digress…

By definition, this has to start as a cottage industry (or craftsman bungalow industry). Dan will have to carefully navigate while he’s working out his partnership(s) with his vendor(s). The key is that neither party gets in too deep. The teeter totter has to stay balanced. Dan can’t buy thousands of dollars worth of lamp parts and ship them to someone he doesn’t know, and his vendor(s) can buy thousands of dollars worth of quarter-sawn white oak and spend hundreds of hours making lamps without seeing a fair payment. Yes, this is a delicate balance, but it can be done. It’s done all the time.

When I said that distribution was the next question, that means that if Dan feels the need, he can have all lamps shipped back to him for QA inspection. That’s totally within his rights, if he feels the need for that additional expense, especially at the beginning. Once things settle down, maybe the vendor(s) will be able to keep stock on hand and drop ship with a shared Fed-Ex account.

Regardless of whether a small shop has new employees or not, the original vendor(s) will still maintain responsibility for delivering quality on time. They will have control over the materials and the craftsmanship.

Yes it is a scary thought, but it’s also exciting. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Every successful businessperson has most probably failed at one or more things in their past, but that didn’t keep them from trying the thing that succeeded.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#28 posted 02-10-2018 12:48 PM

Well said and it’s helpful to hear of people’s differing experiences. I designed and built my home (in a Craftsman style of course) and had varying experiences with the subcontractors. Some really took pride in their work and others just wanted to do the least they could get away with and go home. That process is different though. With this business, as CaptainSkully points out, I think we will have a chance to iron out the bugs before either of us gets too far into it. Looking forward to seeing how this goes. thanks
Dan

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2873 posts in 2514 days


#29 posted 02-10-2018 02:08 PM

Dan:
I want to go back to the UL thing for a minute.
I was going to get into lamps a few years back, but my gallery showed me how this is a liability nightmare.
You cannot use UL parts from a supplier, and put them into your lamp and call it good.
You must have UL approve each and every single finished design to gain a UL number and approval for each and every design, even if it is the same basic lamp. (Just walk through a Walmart, and look on the bottom of each different lamp – each one will have its own UL approval number.)

So if you have say, 10 designs, you need 10 UL approvals. They do audits, (your quarterly number may be right), to make sure you are keeping to the original style to maintain that number. We’re talking about everything from the wiring to the flammability of the shade, wattage limits, it goes on and on.

Introduce 4-5 new designs in a year or two, when the original batch gets stale to your customers? Need 4-5 new UL approvals.

I’m pretty sure it is not the total amount of money you need to spend to get the approvals, just the total hassle of this procedure and keeping your insurance people happy. (I would NEVER sell anything that someone plugs into a socket without insurance…)

The reason I know this is my one gallery was selling really nice lamps from two fairly known artists here locally, and their insurance guy walked through the museum/gallery and tagged the lamps. Said they had to get rid of them or lose their policy. He showed them the UL requirements, and said if they persist in selling these lamps, (no UL approval on them), the insurance company would probably drop the store from their overall policy, due to liability issues.

It is a cradle to grave thing, and everyone in-between is involved and almost always named if someone would get harmed from one of your lamps. If you have these manufactured, you will be liable as designer, your builder will be liable, and any retailer will also be liable if some final owner screws up and manages to shock or electrocute themselves with one of your lamps. Kid takes out the bulb and sticks his finger in? Be prepared for a long lawsuit which you might win based on stupidity, but would certainly put you out of business from time and money.

Not trying to rain on your parade, and there are certainly a lot of artisans out there making lamps, but if you intend to sell them, this is what you can look forward to. It is why I don’t build lamps.
Paul

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

109 posts in 1970 days


#30 posted 02-10-2018 02:58 PM

Dan,

I do this type of work specifically for lots of new brands. Experience in orders form 1-50,000 and from clothespins to conference tables. Look me up on Maker’s Row. https://makersrow.com/clean-air-woodworks

I sent you a PM.

Matt Rogers
Clean Air Woodworks

-- Matt Rogers, http://www.cleanairwoodworks.com and http://www.cleanairyurts.com

View msinc's profile

msinc

385 posts in 503 days


#31 posted 02-10-2018 03:24 PM

May I ask if you have some sort of patent or maybe a copyright on this design? What prevents the rest of the world from just making these or ones very similar and selling them???

.It is a cradle to grave thing, and everyone in-between is involved and almost always named if someone would get harmed from one of your lamps. If you have these manufactured, you will be liable as designer, your builder will be liable, and any retailer will also be liable if some final owner screws up and manages to shock or electrocute themselves with one of your lamps. Kid takes out the bulb and sticks his finger in? Be prepared for a long lawsuit which you might win based on stupidity, but would certainly put you out of business from time and money.

- Tennessee

Isn’t this what LLC’s are for? Simply having UL approvals does not prevent lawsuits. May I also ask what the retail price for these lamps will be? How much will the end user pay to take one of these lamps home? I understand you may not have nailed this down to the penny yet, but what’s your ballpark guess on a finished take home price for the lamp?

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#32 posted 02-10-2018 04:34 PM

Tennessee, wow, I agree that’s pretty daunting. I have a call with a UL certifier on Monday and I will bring all that up with him and see what he says.

It’s hard to imagine my designs ever becoming so popular that they will need patents. It just seems like too much of a hassle.

I figure that the price will be based on the total cost to build. So if I want 50% margins and it costs $400 total for everything, I would sell them for $800 (after I factor the costs of shipping, storage, insurance, etc) . This sells lamps like this for $2500/each. That sounds high, but based on what I see at craftshows, $1000 doesnt sound crazy.

View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

109 posts in 1970 days


#33 posted 02-10-2018 04:45 PM

Dan,

Yeah pricing is always a bit of a game at first. Picking a price that puts you above most of the competition, but below the Big Names gives you a good start. You can’t price a live edge table like Nakishima, but you also don’t want to sell it for $1500, even if you can make a profit at that price. Better to have a quality product and be known for that rather than known for cheaply made lamps forever.

Patents are totally unnecessary. No design patents for a piece of woodworking are enforceable, as far as I know. You would need a process patent or some sort of actually “new” design, not just another lamp design.

My shop can do this production for you, get in touch.

-- Matt Rogers, http://www.cleanairwoodworks.com and http://www.cleanairyurts.com

View msinc's profile

msinc

385 posts in 503 days


#34 posted 02-10-2018 06:34 PM

/.......No design patents for a piece of woodworking are enforceable, as far as I know. You would need a process patent or some sort of actually “new” design, not just another lamp design….....
- Matt Rogers

Exactly my point. So if I can make the lamps for him what do I really need him for? To mail me the glass? I have no problems getting glass panels. Don’t get me wrong here, I like the lamps. I think they are very nice. I don’t even know the OP, but I am sure he is a heck of a nice guy. All that said, if these lamps turn out to be a popular seller it is not because of some special one of a kind secret design. Pretty much any of us could look at the photos and put together a lamp similar enough to sell to the same market. So again, what do I need the OP for? To give him half the profit? There’s a reason lamp manufacturers are not already making these, and it is not because “they don’t like to mess with wood.”
I think the main point I am trying to make is that yes, there are people that run businesses that started at the top, sit at the top and make phone calls, do a little drawing on paper and rake in the money….but I very seriously doubt they started out that way. They got their start by actually doing the work initially and NOT paying {giving away profit} to someone else. Especially someone else that is not bound in any way to do the same thing for themselves.
It just seems like way too narrow of a niche market to risk being quickly replaced by the guy actually doing the work. Don’t take this wrong…hope you soon make your first million, but I would suggest you look at all options to get started first before you try to ride around in a limo and bark orders over a phone. Forget the UL approval B.S., maybe something to worry about later. Make no mistake, producing something that contains electrical components does not generate lawsuits…being known for having the money to pay out is what gets people sued.

Edit: take caution on the UL guy…he’s no different than you selling lamps. He wants to sell you UL approvals and will tell you anything to get you to give him some money. Nobody likes lawyers, but there are times when you really need to talk to one.

View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

109 posts in 1970 days


#35 posted 02-10-2018 09:15 PM

I totally disagree with msinc. Think about the difference between the manufacturer and the sales manager/designer. If I get an order for 80 lamps, I get paid in full for that production, talk to one person, get paid by one person, finish the job and am done. If I were to sell these lamps myself, I would need to work out the market, marketing research, website, craft shows, retail stores, deal with orders, fulfillment, returns, customer service, etc.

Personally, right now I work mostly on wholesale orders and would rather get less money per piece, but a larger order and not have to try to do sales day to day on each piece, in addition to manufacturing. That is where the 100% markup comes into play.

If I had a nickel for every person that said “you should make this…and sell it”. We all could make many different products, but it is the sales that becomes the problem. What good is it to make a product all day long and never sell a single piece. Better to have lots of sales and no time to manufacture the product. You can find a manufacturer, but harder to pull sales out of the blue.

-- Matt Rogers, http://www.cleanairwoodworks.com and http://www.cleanairyurts.com

View msinc's profile

msinc

385 posts in 503 days


#36 posted 02-11-2018 12:57 AM

.........What good is it to make a product all day long and never sell a single piece.
- Matt Rogers

Again you and I agree…go back and read my post. “if these lamps turn out to be a popular seller…”
They will either sell or they wont. If they do not sell you don’t have to worry about making any after the first batch, no matter who you are making them for. Now, doing this at a reduced rate so someone else can also make money means you made even less on the first batch. He said it in his first post…he needs someone to make these for him so he can make “enough income”. I doubt he will be able to operate long if you make them at a price where you are making money too. I am certain he wants to and I get your idea that you make them, you get paid, everything is safe for you. When two people try to cut in on one market somebody is getting the short end of the stick. Why accept that? On the other hand if you believe it’s such a great money maker then go for it and best of luck.

View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

109 posts in 1970 days


#37 posted 02-11-2018 01:11 AM

Well, that is how 99.9% of all products in this world are made and sold (manufacturer makes, designer or brand markets and sells). How many products are actually produced and sold by the same person? Only a small number of artisan products. Last I checked, the sales, advertising, and fulfillment costs are real and expensive, so they comprise the other part of the retail price.

Why would you assume that I can not make the lamps in volume at a more economical price? Have you ever done a production run of a couple of hundred pieces? Or even just the efficiency of making 6 of one item vs a single piece. Savings come in time to pick materials, machine setups, measuring, layout, jigs and fixtures, etc. And who is to say that I do not have lower cost labor to perform more menial tasks like sanding, cleaning, measuring and rough cutting, etc. We make clothespins for Classic American Clothespins. 50,000 at a time. If there is no economy of scale, how could those be produced? They are priced such that we made money and they make money.

Can you tell me what sort of work you do and what experience you have in this sort of work so that I can understand if you have a perspective that I am not considering. Have you done production work for products? Have you produced anything wholesale for another brand or designer? Do you have a business and sell your work directly? Hobby business? Etc. Let me know so that I can get an idea of where you are coming from.

-- Matt Rogers, http://www.cleanairwoodworks.com and http://www.cleanairyurts.com

View msinc's profile

msinc

385 posts in 503 days


#38 posted 02-11-2018 02:08 AM

How many products are actually produced and sold by the same person? Only a small number of artisan products. Last I checked…....

- Matt Rogers

“Last I checked” that is exactly what this is! Work I do? What is this “work” of which you speak? I’ve been retired since I was 52. Believe me, I am not your problem…again, go for it.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

4562 posts in 2409 days


#39 posted 02-11-2018 02:45 AM

While my lamps are nearly as artistic and creative as your designs I was surprised at what people paid me to have a few made for them. If you can pull it off go for it!!

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View HowardInToronto's profile

HowardInToronto

76 posts in 1702 days


#40 posted 02-11-2018 05:15 PM

There are some excellent replies here.

One word of caution – get away from a consumer mindest. Start operating like an investor.

In other words, spending the money on a lawyer that specializes in your questions is an investment – not an expenditure.

Going to a lawyer minimizes the well-intentioned contributions posted here which are nothing more than opinions. With the greatest of respect, everyone here is responding with their own experience – it may or may not line up with your needs.

I’d suggest starting with a lawyer that specializes in liability. Ask them about the practicalities and necessities of how to navigate UL/CSA approvals. In most cases, they will be more objective than somebody selling the service.

Someone else mentioned intellectual property as in the designs. They also confused IP with asset protection via an LP. Again, call a lawyer and pay that person to lay out for you good/better/best scenarios.

Also – you mentioned something very important – your skills and personal tastes. You’re a designer not a tecnician – good for you – surround yourself with the technical skills to help you accomplish your goals your way.

My favourite example is Ruhlmann who was a designer and not a craftsman. The studio he owned breathed life into his designs. On a more contemporary note – think of all the drawer manufacturers, leg manufacturers and finishing shops. Not to mention contract breweries.

Make sure to keep us posted re your decisions.

Howard

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#41 posted 02-12-2018 12:08 AM

Yup, I am thinking sorting out a bunch of details with a lawyer is a good idea. Some things on the list:
-Intellectual Property/asset protection
-UL/CSA certifications
-What should be included in my contract with contractors.
-Liability and doing my LLC correctly
-What insurance I should have, what I don’t need and adequate amounts.
Hopefully this will be one person who knows about all this and can cover it in an hour or two.

I will be sure to post here again after I have things up and running to report back on my success (or lack thereof). I never anticipated such interest in this topic. It could be a good year from now though. Unfort. I won’t be able to quite my day job and focus on the company full time till September and I have a 2month old and 2yr old at home so not much free time right now.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1799 posts in 2316 days


#42 posted 02-12-2018 01:42 AM

Find a good, commercial insurance agent. They’ve got access to more liability statistics than anyone else and will give free consultations to anyone inquiring about an insurance policy (which will be needed anyway). A meeting with an accountant is also advisable. That involves two people besides the lawyer but they know their respective fields better and consulting them has the benefit of reducing lawyer fees which start at $200/hr.

My lawyer and accountant have offices in the same building so we can easily arrange three-way consultations if necessary.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View sras's profile

sras

4799 posts in 3129 days


#43 posted 02-12-2018 01:47 AM

A couple of thoughts:

1. It might be a good idea to check into low voltage/low power LED lighting for the lamps. I don’t know, but it might be that UL certification is not needed below a certain power level. (if you find out I’d love to know)

2. There is a difference between a design patent and a utility patent. A utility patent covers how something works. A design patent covers how something looks. Even so, it doesn’t take much to alter how something looks. Even if there is a direct copy, one still needs to discover the copy and then go through the effort to stop them…

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#44 posted 02-12-2018 03:39 PM

thanks, good tip.

One of the self imposed parameters is that all lamps must use standard medium base bulbs to keep things easy for the user. So the voltage will be 120 even if they are putting LED bulbs in there.

Yup, I knew the differences between those patents. I am a Shark Tank addict, it partially got me into this mess in the first place ;)

View AZWoody's profile

AZWoody

1330 posts in 1224 days


#45 posted 02-12-2018 04:58 PM

Thinking outside of the box but what if you sold the lamp as a kit?

You can have the wood part made through your craftsmen and package it along with the wiring and sockets and bulbs. Then you could have them choose from traditional incandescent, or the old vintage looking led lamps which are the craze right now or even some of the multi color leds.

That way, certain liabilities are off the table.

Might be something to look into.

View alittleoff's profile

alittleoff

539 posts in 1276 days


#46 posted 02-12-2018 06:43 PM

I don’t think anyone would pay very much for a lamp kit. I think your right about the lamps being Medium base or some maybe Candelabra. Regardless I wish you lots of luck with your project and possibly purchasing one or two of your products. I actually think you will succeed.
Gerald

View DTrak's profile

DTrak

58 posts in 1097 days


#47 posted 02-12-2018 06:44 PM

Interesting idea, but I think more people would just want a completed lamp. Some of the liabilities/certifications etc. could work to my advantage because it scares away some competitors who don’t want to deal with all that.

View Gilley23's profile

Gilley23

489 posts in 382 days


#48 posted 02-12-2018 07:13 PM


A couple of thoughts:

1. It might be a good idea to check into low voltage/low power LED lighting for the lamps. I don t know, but it might be that UL certification is not needed below a certain power level. (if you find out I d love to know)

No difference, still need a 3rd party listing. It doesn’t have to be UL, there are other listing agencies out there that don’t cost as much.

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 704 days


#49 posted 02-12-2018 08:19 PM


1. It might be a good idea to check into low voltage/low power LED lighting for the lamps. I don t know, but it might be that UL certification is not needed below a certain power level. (if you find out I d love to know)

- sras

Unless the device is completely battery powered, you’re still dealing with high voltages. Just because the light emitting device (i.e. LED) is low voltage, doesn’t make the whole appliance low voltage. Once you plug it into a wall outlet, it’s an appliance that has a high voltage side and a low voltage side with an electronic circuit (converter/inverter) between them to convert from high to low.

What happens if the cord leading from the wall outlet to the converter shorts out, starts a fire and burns down the customer’s house?

What if the converter is not designed properly for its intended use, overheats, catches the wood portion of the lamp on fire, which then burns down the customer’s house?

The fact that the light is coming from low-voltage LED’s is irrelevant.

Not to mention, all consumer products, whether they’re electric or not, are going to have product liability issues. It sounds like the OP is well on his way toward dealing with product liability in a wise manner.

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 704 days


#50 posted 02-12-2018 08:33 PM

Most successful entrepreneurs are not do-ers. They have a vision, a design, an idea. They know their own strengths and they know their own weaknesses. They are leaders that are capable of delegating. They surround themselves with people that are experts in the various skills required to execute their visions or produce their design. Those skills include business law, IP law, product liability law, accounting, marketing, sales, logistics, customer support, vendor management, IT, manufacturing, etc.

Thankfully, there are people out there who are not only experts in a particular skill, but are very happy exercising that skill, but may not have any interesting in practicing any other skill. So you have people that are great at manufacturing objects out of wood. But they have zero interest in practicing the sales skill, or the marketing skill, or the accounting or shipping or customer service skills. Likewise, there are people that love, love, love marketing but hate, hate, hate making sawdust.

Magic happens when someone can assemble a team of various experts, align them behind a central idea, or vision, and then let them each apply their passions. I think DTrak has a great plan for realizing his vision. I wish my shop were up and running so I could throw my hat in the ring as a manufacturer. This sounds like a fun ride!

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

1 2 next »
51 replies


DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com