Hi everyone, this is a little story about the journey so far. I hope that people like this type of content and that it can bring some lessons or guidance to you and your own projects.
Firstly, many thanks to all the people who have found the pad interesting enough to put in an order. I can share that we have reached our first 100 pads sold. This has absolutely surprised me and has been interesting to see all the comments regarding the choices made a long the way. For a first product it has been reassuring there could be something more here.
It's been a great experience to have only just started out in November 2021 and the first 5 months with everything still fresh in my mind I would like to share my story with you so that hopefully you can take away something for yourself.
As somebody unbeknown to this industry or retail in general I wasn't really sure what to expect once my first shipment arrived, or with all the freight issues going on - if it would arrive at all. I'll admit it was a little disappointing to find at first glance that some of my boxes had been crushed or had a forklift run through them. All I could do at this point was assess the damages and try to save as many as I can.
The BIG decision
After unpacking a few boxes I found some consistent good products but also a few anomalies. Even though majority of the pads were largely unaffected by the freight issues the product still arrived in a mixture of conditions. After sending out around 50 pads for testers, I quickly realised that there was a combination of 3 un-useable issues occurring randomly on some of the pads.
1) Some of the pads had dent marks that wouldn't come out.
2) Some of the pads had either creasing or discoloured printing.
3) Some of the pads wouldn't even lay 90% flat.
There was a small silver lining.
A lot of the pads were still very good to sell. Some smaller more lasting problems had become apparent i.e. the stitching could be improved particularly the edges and the join. After a few days of deliberation and with some good feedback from all the testers about the surface I decided to go ahead with Spyre and employ a thorough quality checking process with every pad.
(2 pictures: The piles of unsellable pads as I find them)
Remembering the little things - lessons learned
Once the shipment arrived there was some additional work that I had not scoped in. This caught me out but was an important area for me to focus attention in order to iron out problems that were to arise. Here is a list of those problems and adjustments I made to mitigate or prevent them. (Important to note: A lot of this is about managing expectations)
Needed to determine which pads would lay flat and which wouldn't.
Created a space for the "flattening".
Rubber smell was strong straight after manufacturing.
Left in their own room where they could air out.
Packages were being damaged in postal transit.
Added bubble wrap.
Some of the pads were moving around in the tubes.
Added bubble wrap.
My own mistake of putting the warranty cards inside the tubes was causing creasing.
Stopped doing this and wrapped outside the packaging.
People in testing were caught off by it being slow to unroll and very soft.
Included information about this with the product and on the website.
The lighter colour meant that dirt and sweat marks show up easier.
Included information about washing the product with photos in FAQ.
Deliveries were getting lost or forgotten.
Included an automated follow up e-mails after to remind people to check their tracking and update me.
The plan moving forward
Right now I'm fully focused on selling the product I have with me. Filtering out the best pads and making sure I'm pay attention to the organic growth. Once reserves permit re-ordering more stock then I will - as I have already discussed with - continue to work with the manufacturers to improve the stitching. We're also looking to get 1 cm wider packaging to help with the unboxing experience.
All owners of a Kamek will get any later improved versions free (just have to pay for shipping).
Thanks for reading