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The Inventor's Code: Understand Your Manufacturing Partners

by on Category: blog

One of the topics we field the most questions about at Idea Design Studio is manufacturing. For a first-time inventor, researching your future options as to who will actually produce, market, and sell your product is a challenge, and the path you ultimately take toward invention success may be very different from how you first imagine it. But every inventor should understand the basics of the manufacturing process even if you are only looking to license your idea.

Here is a quick primer about potential manufacturing partners and the different arrangements available to you as an inventor.

Who Will Manufacture My Invention?

Your biggest decision regarding the future of your invention is whether you plan to manufacture and sell the product yourself or license it for sale through another company. (Read more about selling your idea here.)

If you license your product, the licensee assumes all the business responsibilities related to developing, manufacturing, marketing, and selling your invention. In return, you receive royalty payments. (Read more about licensing here.)

If you would prefer to manufacture the product yourself, you will need to find an ideal manufacturing partner—and be prepared to invest in building your inventory upfront. One of the best ways to source potential manufacturers is to visit a local store and check out similar products on the market to see who manufactured them. A good place to start is on Google. Just type in the name of the product + manufacturer and see what comes up.

Collect a list of manufacturers who specialize in the type of production your invention requires—for example, casting, forging, molding, cutting, joining, finishing—and start contacting them to ask questions and gather information. Before you make your calls, you should have a sense of the key components that make up your product and where you might source each one from.

One of the most common misconceptions new inventors have is that they should approach big-brand retailers directly to sell their idea. But selling an invention based simply on an idea is extremely rare. In most cases, you will approach a retail buyer only after you have put a manufacturing plan in place and have a polished prototype to pitch, or your licensee will handle the distribution negotiations for you.

Idea Design Studio has successfully aided many new inventors in setting up manufacturing and licensing agreements for their inventions. To talk about potential options for your idea, contact us today.