Your advice bringing a product to makers industry

I need your help. I feel the people in this forum probably knows better then anyone.

In the past 8 months we’v developed a platform for makers and education that is new and beautiful. It includes hardware and software.
My network in the makers industry is 0 . Yet, I know we have something good to offer makers, designers, parents.

As you know with hardware, to start selling your product you need a minimum critical mass of orders to make it reasonable to manufacture. If I manufacture 100 I am going to loose money, and it may also be a very slowly pricey process.

So we have everything (including beautiful brand and artwork) ready to sell.

1.Setting a crowdfunding campaign may not work since I have zero network. Is it an option here?

  1. Setting a pre order page(which I have) would require a large Ads budget to bring people to sign in/buy

3.Setting some kind of deal with companies like Sparkfun, Adafruit seems nice although I don’t know how much exposure you get and whats the fees= if it worth it.

Did you have success stories in this forum? I mean real success not just selling a few units and exit ?

What are you honest suggestions to me, to make the first step right bring in people like you ?

Where do you find the critical mass of makers, or even parents - those who buy products like LittleBits?

Thank you very much .

Indiegogo and Kickstarter might be worth investigating.

Thanks, but without any network? if you just through it in Indiegogo you get nothing .
Is there a way to bring makers in ? where should you target to find people who might want it ?
Is CrowdSupply a good thing ?

I can't really envision building a marketable product without ANY concept of who the users will be. Therefore, you must have at least one, who knows another who knows another...

If I manufacture 100 I am going to loose money, and it may also be a very slowly pricey process.

I think you need to sit down and have a serious talk with yourself about whether you want to be a creator or a businessman / woman.

In other words, do you want to take on the responsibility of organizing the manufacture and sale of 10,000 or 100,000?

IMHO (which is probably worth zip) if you don’t want to do at least 10,000 then just “give” the design away and bask in the pleasure of having created it. If you get a few $100 for it, then that will be a bonus and will pay for the parts for the next project.

If you “give away” this design and it is successful for someone then it may improve your credibility for marketing the next project.


If I manufacture 100 I am going to loose money…

I’d worry about selling 100 before worrying about manufacturing 100. And, advertising is a big hurdle… Can you find the people who might want your product, and tell them where to get it?

And typically, there are things that have economies of scale and things that don’t. For example, the bare PC boards (if you are building boards) will be cheaper in volume but the components won’t be much cheaper. So if you can build the boards yourself, you can buy 100 bare boards and buy the components for 10 boards (except for resistors and other components that cost almost nothing). If you are having the boards assembled, there are set-up costs.

Where I work, we buy bare boards and custom sheet metal & machined parts in bulk (typically 100 at a time), but we buy the other parts and assemble in smaller batches, depending on sales. We’ve already paid the one-time set-up costs for board assembly/soldering, so the per-board price isn’t much more if we assemble in smaller quantities (we usually build in batches of 20 or more, but for lower-demand items we might build 5). We have a variety of products and they are specialty items that would probably sell for 1/5th the price if we were selling thousands of one-item.

Anything you can do yourself is “free” labor (or a time-investment) and you’ve got a reversed cost/quantity curve, where it’s more economical to manufacture in LOW quantities.

If you’ve got something unique, don’t worry too much about the selling price. My marketing professor used to say. “When in doubt, raise the price.”

For example, if you can sell 100 units at $100, you can probably sell 100 units at $200. Once you’ve sold to customers who are willing to pay $100, you’ll have some profit and you can increase production and lower the price (if necessary) to appeal to the more price-sensitive customers. Of course, that doesn’t apply if there is competition and your customers can buy it (or something similar) for a lower price.

If your product is desirable, there are probably a few buyers who will pay a LOT (if you could find them) and there are lots of people who wouldn’t want it if you gave it away for free. Right now, the goal isn’t to maximize quantity, the goal is to minimize cost and hopefully find enough customers to sell enough units to make a profit.

First thanks all for your answers. DVDdoug thanks for the long explanation.

@Robin2 , a few 100$ ? :slight_smile: I got an offer for investment of few 100k and didn't take it, because its ready for sale.

Maybe I have to be more clear here, I have something that changes the way makers work, its not another boring board that do some other boring thing.

Its a platform, its artistic and beautifully branded . I already manufactured and assembly 50 units, thats not the problem.

The problem is how do I get the first >1000 makers/designers/students to come in ( my site or Indiegogo, whatever).

I certainly don't want to sit and wait for small batches, and everyday get a few orders. Since I hear a lot of stories of people who made millions in pre orders, I was wondering.

I thought there is some common wisdom in the community about it .

I assume some software is involved. ALL software has bugs or features that users will discover. What is your plan to update the software?


You need to risk something to get something. If you believe in your own product, you must be willing to spend some money on advertising, and maybe sell the first 100 units with a loss. If the product is good, orders will come after some time.

I got an offer for investment of few 100k and didn't take it,

So why are you asking questions here? You want us to help you get $200k? What's in it for us?

The Arduino is an Open Source system.

PS. How was I supposed to guess that from your Original Post.

My advice would be to first make sure your idea is ready for public exposure and production as soon as the orders come in. Get your crowdfunding or pre-order page or whatever set up and then give some of those first 50 away to the people in the community who already have the network you want to access. These people should be very easy to identify with a little bit of research. If your product is as innovative as you think and far enough along in development then some of those people are bound to end up sharing it with their network and virality will ensue. It's very important to be prepared for success because you will have a limited window in the spotlight when people are going to be trying to order. You also may have imitators close on your tail so you need to have enough of a head start on them. A huge marketing blunder I see Arduino continuously making is to create a bunch of buzz over a new board and then take like a year after that to actually bring it to market, even then usually still with poor software support.

Another factor is your timing and patience. If you want to ramp up sales quickly you have to advertise broadly. Crowd Funding might work.

I started an intentionally-small company with my friend in China and it took 3 years to get to where we sell a few thousand kits a year at about $50 each.. A major factor was good learning / How-To support (see http://ArduinoInfo.Info).. That how-to site gets almost 20,000 hits a day now from all over the world.

Concentrate on helping your customers learn stuff.

PM me if you want to consider some cross-selling thing.

Thank you, thanks to all of you.

I am really struggling since I have something i know people would REALLY want, its new and its beautiful, but I have zero network to get to enough people on Indiegogo.

You helped me a little bit, but I will have to think harder.

@terryking228 I would like to be patience but I can't afford that. Too much time and money was spent and I will have to eat :slight_smile:

I can put about 1k or more on Ads, but this amount would do nothing today .

I would like to be patience but I can't afford that.

Could also get expensive if you're too impatient.

A small batch sold to users willing to beta test could provide some valuable feedback. Give yourself an opportunity to make some revisions if needed and prevent a product re-call situation, or resolve a bad initial impression for whatever reason.

So we have everything (including beautiful brand and artwork) ready to sell.

Thank you very much .

Tricky , without big backing something that is good enough to sell easily will quickly get ripped off by chinese makers.
Unless you have the support of patents and lawyers.

Dyson managed it but it took him years.

If it is really a good idea (and you may not know wihout test marketing which gives the game away) perhaps you should seek advice from a business Angel or similar.

I have something i know people would REALLY want, its new and its beautiful,

Too much time and money was spent and I will have to eat :slight_smile:

This is an all too common predicament for inventors.

Alas it is also common for "mothers" to believe their geese are swans.

Maybe go back to the guy who offered $100k and if he even offers you $40k grab it with both hands.


Is CrowdSupply a good thing ?

Probably , if you just need capital.

Your 200K backer ? does he have business experience ?

I know of someone in a similar but smaller capital position. BUT,- he has had to do all the hard work himself , takes time.

With fair success so far also. (not arduino related).

Also specialised knowledge needed which china will find hard to replicate.

My marketing professor used to say. "When in doubt, raise the price."

Missed that, i think the operators of Concorde thrived on that.