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Product Startup

Product Startup

Author: Kevin Mako of MAKO Design + Invent

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The Product Startup Podcast is the hardware product development industry's #1 podcast. From invention idea to getting onto store shelves, and everything in between. Hear how inventors, product startups, & small manufacturers created their inventions and launched their physical product businesses. Learn from the industry's top industrial designers, mechanical engineers, PCB designers, consumer product managers, manufacturers, patent attorneys, hardware investors, product sellers, wholesalers, retailers and more. Learn about industrial design / product design, prototyping, 3d printing, additive manufacturing, product manufacturing, marketing, selling, patenting, logistics, and product business scaling. Hosted by Kevin Mako, North America’s leading expert on product development for physical product startups, founder of Mako Design + Invent, keynote speaker, and Masters of Engineering lecturer.  Produced by MAKO Design + Invent, the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors.
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David Brown, one of our talented industrial designers at MAKO Design, is a true expert in hardware product video renderings. With a rich background in industrial design and design engineering, David has honed his product design skills to an exceptionally refined degree. Today, he's excited to share his expertise with inventors, startups, and small manufacturers. Imagine being able to visualize your product idea in stunning detail before it even exists – like a trailer for a new captivating horror movie. That's the magic of 3D CAD video renderings, and David is here to demystify the process. He'll take you through the creation process of video renderings and how they can be a game-changer at every stage of your product's journey. From the initial spark of inventing to the thrill of making your first sale, David will reveal how these renderings can bring your vision to life for investors or potential consumers and set you on the path to success. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/232-video-product-renderings-for-your-invention/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:Using video renderings is like bringing Hollywood to your product design! Video rendering is essentially taking 3D CAD designs and making a video with that series of images and data. It is like setting up a virtual camera that provides a full-scope view of the product in the setting where you would naturally find it. You must also take into account the environment and lighting! You can create things with video renderings that cannot be done in real life; this is one of its primary advantages. Exploded view renderings show how the product comes apart and all of its pieces. You can use these tools to explain a lot about a product and inform potential consumers. Product demos and tutorials are other uses for video renderings. How can you direct your designers to build a great hardware product rendering video for what you need? The core requirement for making the video is creating a storyboard and ordering the elements to effectively tell the story. Video renderings are standard these days for a great product, but you also need to develop a prototype! There is post-processing of the video as well to refine the story being told and how it is presented. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, a...
Hamdy Albana is the founder of Push Analytics, a sustainable growth-centred marketing agency focused on leveraging data to propel brands from inception to millions in sales. Additionally, bolstered by a robust education in electrical engineering at NYU, he possesses a wealth of knowledge salient to hardware startup business owners. Today, Hamdy will share the benefits and nuances of selling products directly on one's own website as opposed to through online marketplaces like Amazon with today's inventors, startups, and small manufacturers. He will also highlight the two most critical aspects of launching a new social media marketing campaign to attract potential customers to your site and divulge best practices for optimizing return on ad spend, enabling you to swiftly and successfully scale your new product business. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/231-selling-your-invention-on-your-own-website-starting-from-zero/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:How to scale your brand from securing your first few sales to millions of dollars in revenue using your own website to sell directly to end customers. Squarespace, Shopify, and other popular website building and hosting platforms are great options for building your D2C site. The biggest advantage of selling through your own website is that you own all of the customer contact and relationship info. Social media ads are great for getting new prospective customers to your custom website. Interest is the key part to identify when pinpointing your target audience. The second most important part of your campaign is your content. It provides different types of messaging that explain your product’s value proposition. Look for clear signs by analyzing the metrics on each type of ad to know if you’re moving in the right direction. Use your ad dollars in the early stages to learn what is working and not working to ensure you are continually improving. 50 orders is a notable learning point! You can feed the customer info into Meta's system, and the algorithm will help you find new customers. Scale, troubleshoot, repeat! This strategy will allow for continuous growth. Start with $50 per day in ad spend and increase the amount after your first few orders come in. Focus on a large geography rather than a small region to let the algorithm find where the most efficient and aligned sales are for you. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house a...
Elizabeth Corbett has served as a reliable expert in the packaging industry for a remarkable 30 years. She is currently the President of Enterprise Sales at AE Global, a company known worldwide for its inventive packaging design and manufacturing. With three decades of experience developing creative product packaging and supply chain solutions, she has collaborated with numerous major brands, including Tiffany, Starbucks, and Estée Lauder. Today, Elizabeth will share the wealth of knowledge she has gained throughout her career with inventors, startups, and small manufacturers. Her advice will cover the significance of innovative product packaging design, essential strategies for creating outstanding packaging, and ways to use packaging effectively to enhance the growth of your new hardware product brand. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/230-product-packaging-advice-for-your-new-hardware-invention/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:The primary role of packaging is to protect the product. Excellent packaging can provide an entire experience to the consumer. Another important consideration for packaging is that it needs to aptly represent the brand. Packaging needs to be budget-conscious! Consider if the cost of the packaging itself makes sense for the product you are selling. You need to take into account how the product will be sold. Different packaging presents different opportunities. Sustainability is a big part of packaging, particularly in today's society! The size of the packaging is an important ESG consideration. Influencer kits and investor kits are very similar – you are essentially creating something special to make the experience of opening the product interesting. Don't make your packaging too enticing! This could result in stolen packages. The outside of the box should be fairly utilitarian and basic, but when you open it up, it should be visually stunning and provide an experience. Product packaging is free real estate to connect with your customers, especially as a founder. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, 
Are you looking to secure a patent or curious about what kind of intellectual property protection will best protect your brilliant ideas? Tom Dunlap has all the answers you're looking for and more. For 22 years, Tom has been the driving force behind Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig. He also imparts his expertise in patent law at Lafayette College and has developed numerous books on the frameworks of IP protection. Today, Tom is set to share his insight into this important topic with inventors, startups, and small manufacturers. He will detail the distinctions between provisional patents, utility patents, design patents, copyrights, and trademarks, as well as best practices for ensuring optimal IP protection for your new physical product invention.Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/229-overview-of-patenting-for-hardware-startups/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:Securing patent protection for your invention product is absolutely critical! A utility patent protects the product's function, essentially how it works. A design patent protects the physical design of a product, essentially how it looks. Trademarks are another form of intellectual property protection that protects your brand, for example, McDonald's and its gold arches. Copyright protection protects a range of supportive items, such as code, instruction manuals, and text pertinent to the product. Trade Secrets refer to pieces of information you want to keep private about your product or brand. A provisional patent is not really a patent. It is more like a temporary bookmark you have to file within a year of developing your novel product. One patent application can be submitted for protection in several countries through certain platforms. What is the difference between independent claims and dependent claims? All you own by securing a patent is what you have claimed. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, a...
Jon Davids, acclaimed for his book "Marketing Superpowers: Build a Brand So Good That Your Marketing Feels Like Magic," is the driving force behind Influicity. Having stood at the helm as Founder and CEO for over a decade, he has expertly guided hundreds of brands in fostering vibrant digital communities. Today, Jon will generously afford insight into the key pillars of developing a digital community for your new product venture to inform modern inventors, startups, and small manufacturers. He will share when is the best time to begin community-building efforts and effective strategies for generating momentum even before your product's official launch. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/228-how-to-build-a-digital-community-before-launching-your-invention/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:What aspect of your product do you believe in? Is it the solution it offers or the way it improves your life? You need to establish Faith in this with your customers. Action is the next step after Faith. Use what you believe and the experts who support this belief to establish trust when promoting your product. You don't need to become a content creator. Create content in the form that you are best suited for. Authenticity is the most important thing, and it’s very easy to do as an inventor. Consistency in your messaging is important! Keep repeating the message over and over. Show customers where the payoff is from following your single belief. If you don’t have anything to sell just yet, then encourage consumers to follow along your journey through a blog, newsletter or social media channel. Become an undeniable authority in your specific space. Celebrities don’t just sell products because they are famous, they are successful with their hardware products because they build loyal communities. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, 
Jeff Lerner is the CEO of Misnomer, a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer and Brand Development Agency. He boasts an impressive career, having collectively raised $400 million through venture capitalists and formerly served as a marketing lead at Google for several years. Today, Jeff will draw on his extensive experience to afford insight to inventors, startups, and small manufacturers looking to sell their inventions directly to larger corporations for promotional use. He will detail effective strategies for identifying how your product can impactfully enhance a corporation's value or improve operations, as well as the various types of promotional products that new product startups and inventors often overlook and their varied applications. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/227-how-to-sell-your-invention-direct-to-companies-as-a-promotional-product/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:How does selling your product to companies as a promotional product differ from D2C sales? There are multiple avenues you can take to get your promotional product sold to larger companies.  Find the one person in your target organization that encounters the problem your product solves. Make this person look like a hero by bringing that solution to their team. Reach out to various members within the company to gain an understanding of the overarching organizational situation and evaluate how your product or service can solve large issues. How does your product improve the value of the organization? How does your product add value to their sales process? Every company wants more business and greater revenue. There are a number of creative ways to determine how your product fits into the promotional products landscape of a corporation. If your product is new, you have an advantage in that it is unique and has never been seen before. However, the disadvantage is that you will need to educate the customer as to why they need it. If your product is an improved version of an existing product, it will likely be easier to educate potential customers and thus sell. Start by selling locally through networking groups or local trade shows; you will be surprised at how many you find. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, 
Valentin Radu, CEO and Founder of Omniconvert, wrote the book on Customer Lifetime Value – literally. He has collaborated with an extensive range of direct-to-consumer eCommerce brands to elevate their marketing strategies, which informed his development of "The CLV Revolution," a guidebook dedicated to revolutionizing customer value optimization for eCommerce businesses. Today, Valentin will divulge the core frameworks of his guidebook salient to today's inventors, startups, and small manufacturers. He will detail how to differentiate between profit and perceived value – emphasizing the importance of centring your marketing efforts on the solution your product offers – and share strategies for boosting the price customers are prepared to pay for your latest invention. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/226-maximizing-your-inventions-perceived-value-through-marketing/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:Nail down the unit economics before you begin developing marketing approaches. The core formula to use is customer lifetime value divided by customer acquisition cost. Customer research is a vital step to take before spending money on marketing. Try to maximize the sales up front! This requires great brand and product messaging. People don’t buy products for the features; they buy them for the solutions they provide. It is better to focus on the pain point, as people are more inclined to shell out money to solve these issues. Based on your marketing approach, you can increase the price people are willing to pay for your product without changing any features. Harvard Business Review states that most buying decisions are based on emotional decisions, not logic. Use features and technology to validate your claims regarding how you are improving your customer's life. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping,...
John Conafay entered the manufacturing sector in 2014 after contributing to the United States Air Force for years as a communications and systems specialist. Following a wide array of collaborations with hardware startups and aerospace companies, he noticed a lack of refined communication tools, which culminated in the creation of Integrate – a unique software designed to streamline communication in the hardware development realm. Today, John will share how he made this discovery and how critical segregating communication channels is for modern inventors, startups, and small-scale manufacturers. John will identify the primary stakeholders in product development and elucidate the advantages of a meticulously constructed information framework for hardware product businesses. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/225-communication-silos-for-product-design-stakeholders/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:Hardware development requires extensive communication between internal designers, internal engineers, customers, manufacturers, and investors. All of them need the right information at the right time. It’s important to have a system that controls how information is disseminated to ensure the right information is available for the right stakeholders. Firewalls are incredibly important for information security in consumer product development. Make sure you maintain your source of truth! Ensure that changes that occur in documents are tracked in real time so that all team members are on the same page. Intellectual property should be protected to a high degree! You heavily reduce the need for meetings, overhead, and unnecessary administrative work when integrating communication silos. Risk is reduced if you have teams spread across a variety of places and even a variety of countries. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and a...
Danny Angers, one of the pioneering Co-Founders of VOSKER cameras, uncovered something fascinating regarding how users were employing their products and used it to his advantage to expand his brand substantially. In just 5 years, VOSKER has grown to achieve an astounding $150 million in annual sales across 45 countries and boasts the distribution of over 2 million devices worldwide. Today, Danny graciously affords budding inventors, startups, and small-scale manufacturers insight into his experience scaling VOSKER. He will delve into the efficacy of listening to your customers to inform the product iteration phase in order to boost the satisfaction of existing clients and identify verticals that you may not have explored without external insight. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/224-expanding-your-product-into-new-verticals/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:Listen to your existing and prospective customers! Oftentimes, your clients will tell you what they need from your product. Innovation starts coming in from the client. The way you help your customers help you is by asking them how they are using your product. As a new hardware startup, you have the liberty to aggressively reach out to your initial customers. When your customer base increases, you can start sampling a portion of it to get a better idea of who the customers are. Send customers who send you positive feedback the next version of your product that is designed to help a specific customer persona. Around half of your customers will respond to outreach, which is more than enough. Ensure that you listen to customers when customizing the product for each new vertical that you have identified as an opportunity. You don’t necessarily need to create a product for every vertical. Focus on an MVP at every stage, and ensure each level is successful so that you can piggyback off that success. Failure is a key part of the process to success as well! MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, 
For nearly a decade, Tim Uys has spearheaded a diverse myriad of design initiatives as the Director of Design at MAKO Design + Invent. During his 25 years in the industrial design and mechanical engineering domains, he has made impactful contributions in senior design leadership and education roles, as well as to renowned companies such as Dell, Nike Golf, Qualcomm, and Ironman. Today, Tim draws from his abundant experience to enlighten modern inventors, startups, and small manufacturers on the disparities between mechanical and pre-production prototypes for plastic components. He will divulge the essential design for manufacturing prerequisites and offer insight into optimizing the plastic product design, engineering, and prototyping journey for maximum efficiency. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/223-mechanical-prototype-parts-vs-pre-production-parts-for-plastic-inventions/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:What are the key differences between a mechanical prototype and a pre-production prototype? Most hardware inventions are either entirely or mainly made of plastic or have some plastic components. The mechanical prototype helps validate the primary mechanism of the design and the overall invention idea. The pre-production prototype is the phase in which you put the product design into its intended final format, suitable for mass production, and work on shaping the components to optimize for that format. There is a wide variety of different types of plastic, and they all have different uses. Once you finalize the materials selection, the next step is to choose which processes you will use, such as injection moulding. A lot of hardware startups skip this entire step and choose to proceed to manufacturing with concept CAD. They are missing 3 key prototyping stages: the Rough Prototype, the Mechanical Prototype, and the Pre-Production Prototype. Skipping these stages could cost you money and time down the line if something is missed. The fewer features you have for your starter product as a startup, the easier it is to go through all these steps and the more refined each feature will be.  Keep your feature creep to a minimum. You can add additional features later on! MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, 
In addition to amassing 25 years of experience in the manufacturing industry, Micki Vandeloo has dedicated nearly 15 years to assisting manufacturers with securing government grants to propel the growth of their product ventures. Impressively, as the President of Lakeview Consulting, she has collectively secured over $250 million for clients. Today, Micki will offer invaluable guidance for inventors, startups, and small manufacturers by systematically breaking down the requisite steps and nuances of applying for and successfully securing government grants in the USA. She will delineate the various levels as well as categories of grants available for hardware startups and impart essential advice on preparing for and composing the application to maximize your chances of success. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/222-securing-grants-for-scaling-up-a-hardware-startup/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:What are government grants? You have to plan very far ahead before applying for a government grant. What is the difference between state grants and federal grants? Scaling-stage funding is when you are able to prove that you can scale. Most government grants require clear market proof to receive the funding. There are a wide variety of different grant purposes. Project design is key to successfully applying for a government grant. There are 3 core elements to a grant: What are the activities you have to do to make the product business grow? What do you need in order to make the scaling project work? How much money is your product going to cost? Identify the grant you think you can get, develop a compelling project plan in your application, and then ensure you follow the grant requirements after receiving funding. There are a variety of grant requirements you must meet after you get the funding, so be conservative with your estimates. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, a...
With more than two decades of experience in manufacturing, Keenan Wyrobek stands as a highly knowledgeable figure in the industry. He is the Co-Founder and CTO of Zipline, an autonomous drone delivery enterprise boasting a workforce of 1,100 individuals that has secured funding in the hundreds of millions. Today, Keenan will divulge his extensive expertise salient to inventors, startups, and small-scale manufacturers. He will share how to best navigate the intricacies of the design for manufacturing phase, strategies for optimizing the product development and prototyping stages for seamless integration with manufacturing processes, and how to smoothly transition from finalizing your pre-production prototype to your first manufacturing run, thereby laying the groundwork for a triumphant launch. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/221-how-to-go-from-prototype-to-first-manufacturing-run/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:Ensure your product is well-designed and has been prototyped numerous times before going into the production stage. Design for manufacturing is all about hitting optimizations and maximizing manufacturability for each individual component. Don’t change aspects of the product design once you have begun DFM, the design is done at that point! Create at least more than 3 prototypes to make sure you have industriously iterated on everything that matters. You are not done prototyping until you are perfectly happy with your design, and it perfectly aligns with your vision for your product. Manufacturing design is the stage where you start working closely with your manufacturing vendors. Make sure you have a strong manufacturing design package to provide your vendors with. Product reliability is critical, so make sure you have a strong relationship with your manufacturing vendors! Include the customer in the DFM process, as they will identify reliability issues you may have never identified. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent...
Akeem Shannon is the mastermind behind Flipstik, a consumer product startup that started with a crowdfunding campaign and has achieved resounding success leveraging the immense power of authentic storytelling. In addition to achieving over a million units sold and robust partnerships with over 3,000 resellers, Flipstik has garnered substantial attention from millions of consumers across various social media platforms, including the legendary Snoop Dogg. Today, Akeem will take listeners through his journey in the hardware startup space and impart valuable anecdotes for inventors, startups, and small-scale manufacturers. He will delve into the significance of storytelling in consumer product promotion, emphasizing its dual utility: leveraging personal narrative as a founder and harnessing customer experiences. Moreover, Akeem will elaborate on how to strategically implement these storytelling techniques to propel the growth of your product business. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/220-how-storytelling-drives-consumer-product-sales/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:It always helps to have a genuine love for sales as you are always selling something as a hardware founder. You can recover from failure if you don’t give up! Self-belief will take you further than anything! Most people don’t have big imaginations, so your biggest obstacle is convincing them to buy something they were previously content with living without. Show consumers how your customer's lives were changed by using your product. Sometimes, you are not the right messenger for a specific audience, so utilize the stories of others to get your message across. Find people who love your product and work with them to amplify your message! Authenticity is the most important thing when telling your own story. Your story will get you into rooms and meetings that you may think you are too small for. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, a...
Kevin Lavelle, the Co-Founder and CEO of Mizzen + Main, a renowned men's apparel company that has its products distributed in hundreds of outlets and boasts 10 thriving retail stores, has embarked on a new venture: Harbor. Harbor is a pioneering pediatric device startup that recently secured $3.7 million in seed funding. Today, Kevin shares the insight he gained while successfully scaling his product business by imparting modern inventors, startups, and small-scale manufacturers with tips for hiring your very first team members and expounding upon the quintessential attributes to seek in inaugural hires in the hardware startup realm. He delves into discerning characteristics that hold significance, dispelling common misconceptions, and underscores the paramount importance of never sacrificing quality within the consumer product domain. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/219-hiring-your-first-team-members-at-a-hardware-startup/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:What foremost principles are the most important to prioritize when hiring? Can your potential hire survive in a fast-paced entrepreneurial environment? People from large organizations are not typically great fits for very early-stage hardware startup businesses. Can this hire operate without a team and spearhead decision-making on their own? Get to know a potential hire beyond just one interview. Does your potential hire fundamentally understand what they are getting into in joining a hardware startup? Knowledge gained on the job is an intangible benefit of working for a startup that can also outweigh the compensation. Never sacrifice your quality when developing a hardware product! Avoid feature creep in early-stage startups! MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and 
Wesleyne Whittaker is the CEO of Transformed Sales, an esteemed organization dedicated to architecting sales methodologies that foster rapid and maximal growth with an impressive track record of collaborations with over 150 distinguished manufacturers and product brands. Today, Wesleyne will share the extensive knowledge she has accumulated on developing and effectively employing uniquely tailored sales processes pivotal to inventors, startups, and small manufacturers. She will elucidate the three overarching phases of a sales process – outlining the role and salient components of each stage – and afford astute guidance on adeptly executing said process to proliferate sales, client trust and retention, and expansion opportunities for your hardware product business. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/218-best-sales-processes-for-selling-hardware-products/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:What is a sales process? There are three core stages: Prospect, Nurture, and Close. Prospect involves figuring out how to attract customers. Nurture is all about taking someone who is interested in your product and transforming them into a buyer. Close entails getting that pen to paper so you can then work on developing loyalty to turn that customer into a repeat customer. Educating potential customers is an incredibly important part of prospecting! The biggest challenge for hardware entrepreneurs is getting the abundance of knowledge they have acquired out of their heads to inform customers. Have a variety of information prepared for your customer and disseminate it using a variety of mediums. It’s okay to lose a sale, but not in the same way twice. Communicate the value of the product, how it solves a key problem, and the risk of not buying your product. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping,...
Yuri Dvoinos is the visionary behind an illustrious portfolio of 15 enterprises that have collectively amassed tens of millions of dollars in revenue. Among his ventures lies the portable Jammy Guitar, a resounding success story that garnered $250,000 in initial funding during its inaugural crowdfunding endeavor, swiftly followed by a staggering $500,000 in its subsequent campaign. Today, Yuri shares how he accomplished these commendable feats and his insight into crowdfunding to inform modern innovators, burgeoning startups, and niche manufacturers. He elucidates the profound significance of customer feedback and delves into how to optimally harness such feedback to drive subsequent product iteration and development. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/217-using-crowdfunding-for-real-customer-feedback-on-your-invention/ Key Takeaways in This Episode:Crowdfunding provides instant, high-quality feedback from real customers! A large factor in their success was that they identified a gap in a market with lackluster products and filled the gap with their product. The primary reason they wanted to do a crowdfunding campaign was not to secure funding, but rather to get real customer feedback from backers who had pre-purchased the product. Make sure you celebrate your campaign's successes once it has finished! After that, leverage your campaign to get interest from important people in the industry. Customer segmentation can be very valuable when striving to find your ideal target audience, as you can develop a product exactly for them. Version 2.0 comes after launching an MVP. Consider leveraging both Kickstarter and Indiegogo! As you evolve, you will figure out how to reduce costs associated with hardware development. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and a...
Wade Harmidy, an esteemed project manager at MAKO Design + Invent, dedicates his meticulously cultivated expertise to guiding inventors and hardware startups through their product development journeys. Armed with an impressive academic background that includes an Honours Bachelor of Science degree and a Post Graduate Certificate in Quality Assurance, in addition to a prestigious Six Sigma Black Belt certification in Project Management, Wade is a beacon of knowledge in his field. Today, he graciously shares key tips for modern inventors, startups, and small-scale manufacturers. He expounds upon how to best navigate the beginning of your product development journey by revealing 5 indispensable strategies that will ensure you succeed in your product venture. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/216-5-key-tips-for-starting-your-product-development-journey/ Key Takeaways in This Episode: What are the core factors that dictate how your product journey will go? Having a definitive vision for what your invention will achieve or what problem it is solving is integral. The clearer your vision is in the initial stages, the more likely it is that an experienced team will be able to help you realize your vision. Write down your product vision! Shoot for fewer words than more words. Have something tangible to bring to the product engineering firm. You don’t need to be an artist! Just get the idea down. Make sure to consider the end user and what your product accomplishes for them. MVP design is a key tenet. Setting realistic deadlines is incredibly important! Cutting corners often leads to failure! Plan for the big picture and all of the key milestones you need to hit. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and a...
Michael Lebhar is the visionary behind SellCord, one of the world's foremost Walmart Marketplace agencies that boasts a remarkable track record for facilitating sales exceeding a billion dollars for hardware startups and renowned brands on the esteemed Walmart.com platform. In this episode, Michael is poised to impart his vast insight into the power of Walmart Marketplace and its salience to modern inventors, burgeoning startups, and small-scale manufacturers. The guidance he affords encompasses a detailed exposé on the intricacies of Walmart Marketplace, essential tips for seamlessly launching debut products on the platform, irrespective of prior experience, and proven strategies for achieving sustained growth in product sales. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/215-launching-a-new-product-on-walmart-marketplace/ Key Takeaways in This Episode: What is Walmart Marketplace, and how does it differ from Walmart Retail Stores? It is more difficult to get your product onto Walmart.com than Amazon, but that presents an increased opportunity. Having a website already set up that sells or promotes your product is a huge asset when applying to Walmart.com. Walmart.com uses a listing quality score to judge the quality of your invention listing on their platform. This affects what page your product will be listed on. There are Walmart style guides you can access that tell you how to properly structure your product ad. Make sure to follow it! Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS) is an important feature to subscribe to that is similar to Amazon Prime. MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. We also help our clients with business and product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories.
Alex Back, the innovative force behind Couch.com and the previous founder of Apt2B, solidified both enterprises as influential figures in the domain of affiliate marketing for physical consumer product brands targeting end-consumers directly. In this episode, Alex will provide comprehensive guidance to inventors, startups, and small-scale manufacturers seeking to understand the fundamental principles of affiliate marketing and how it can impactfully boost the success of hardware products. He will elaborate on effective strategies for successfully introducing new products to the market and achieving early sales through this exceptionally useful and rapidly expanding sales channel. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/214-affiliate-marketing-for-d2c-sales-of-inventions/ Key Takeaways in This Episode: What is affiliate marketing? Social media influencers are the most common type of affiliate marketing; however, they represent only a small part of the affiliate marketing landscape. Sellers know how to sell, inventors know how to invent, and together they can form a mutually beneficial partnership. Influencers, bloggers, Youtubers, and online stores are affiliate marketing organizations. The differences between commission-based, traffic-based, display or impression-based, and pay-per-click affiliate marketing. Your affiliate marketer only sends traffic to your website! You still need to sell your product. Research the different affiliate platforms that are commonly used and see which ones resonate best with you. All product review sites are based on affiliate marketing! To start, be very generous with your commission payout amount. Affiliate marketing is the Wild West of opportunity.  MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and a...
Lesley Hensell, renowned for her 14 years of experience in Amazon sales, is the mastermind behind the revolutionary book The Amazon Incubator. Lesley also serves as Co-Founder at Riverbend Consulting, where she has directly assisted numerous Amazon sellers that achieve annual revenue ranging from $500,000 to $500 million by solving pressing issues, optimizing workflows, and maximizing business growth. In today's episode, Lesley shares her extensive insight into the intricacies of Amazon's sales platform and how to improve your chances of sales success as an inventor, startup, or small manufacturer. She delves into the benefits of leveraging Amazon as a product startup, provides strategies for conducting effective keyword and competitor research, and outlines best practices for overseeing a product launch to ensure enduring success as an Amazon seller. Click this link for This Episode's Full Info Page: https://www.makodesign.com/podcast/213-researching-how-your-product-fits-on-amazon/Key Takeaways in This Episode: Two-thirds of the products sold on Amazon are sold by 3rd party resellers. There are 150 million Prime members just in the US alone. Amazon has surpassed Google for product research! The first questions to consider as a hardware startup are; Is your product suited for Amazon, and is there a niche for your product on Amazon? Find your product description keywords! Build out long-tail keywords by writing out the direct definition and primary descriptors of your product. The keywords that you use to research your product should dictate how you build your actual listing page, as well as your pay-per-click advertising. Brand registry on Amazon is important for brand protection! Have a comprehensive plan prepared prior to your product's launch, including your advertising strategies and materials.  MAKO Design + Invent: www.makodesign.com Kevin Mako: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevmako Producer: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and a...
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Pilates Unplugged

Great episode. Thank you

May 11th
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