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Going it alone vs. E.N. ?

doughpat's Avatar

Hi all,

I'm considering my options for a relatively simple idea that struck me as I labored on the toilet (i.e. replacing a flapper). I'm seriously considering pursuing it as a product to sell.

I've had lots of decent ideas, but I truly think this one might be "the one" that I finally pursue. As a newbie, I'm tempted by a service such as Edison Nation, but giving up half of my potential earnings....ouch!  

I'm also tempted to just contact Chinese manufacturers (I think injection molded plastics) of a similar product (i.e. they are making a "conventional" design of the product I am envisioning) via Alibaba and working directly with them to have the product made, and then selling it main via FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon). 

Curious as to your thoughts on these approaches.

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magurn's Avatar

Hi Ryan!

I'll defer to others who have been through the process of both submitting to EN and going it alone.

What I can say is that EN's approach can be useful to those who do not have the time, money or background to pitch a product on their own. For a one time fee of $25, we'll evaluate the product, and, if it moves successfully through our process, our team will do all the heavy lifting on your behalf. 

I would encourage you to review the Edison Nation Help Page to review all our standard terms and conditions to ensure you're comfortable if you are going to submit your idea.

We wish you luck no matter the path you pursue!

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crystaldiane's Avatar

Ryan, there is nothing keeping you from going it on your own. But please consider that you need a 'sales plan'. Even with a working prototype, and real product unless you have very DEEP Pockets most manufactures will not even talk to you. They stay in business getting paid to make widgets. I have this difficulty with my own item. Sales is everything.

You might defer to Roger Brown's book - common sense inventing. It used to be here on the forums, but just google it.  Roger Brown . Net (I cannot post a link)  It a well written guide and worth the small investment. 

In the meantime,should you decide to submit your product to EN, nothing is keeping you from pursuing it on your own. You can change your mind at any time.

I would caution you on 'counting your chicken's before they hatch. Its a long long way from taking an idea from "the back of a napkin' to reality. Best to you. 

Mary Kisko
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kabuj's Avataree_badge

Just to clarify.. If you submit to EN.. Generally, after it reaches stage G7 you can no longer pursue on your own under the terms of the agreement. EN has the "development/marketing /licensing/etc.." rights for a specified period (if not licensed with the sponsor).I'm sure EN will chime in if I have misspoken.

I should also add, this is TOTALLY understandable to me as I know from personal experience, once stage G7 is reached and it's warranted, EN puts a LOT of resources into the development, marketing and licensing of the product so it stands to reason that they want to have exclusive "control" of the process. I witnessed this personally with my SPLOT product as they put TONS of financial and labor resources into the development, marketing and licensing of the product. I literally only spent $25

Renee B Goodnoe
Robert Pontius
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magurn's Avatar

Hi guys!

To build on KJ's response - once a product submission reaches "finalist" stage, or G7, in an innovation search, that triggers a six month exclusivity period where the EN team is the only company who can pitch the product. This is because, typically, during this time, the idea is being presented to a search sponsor, or actively being pitched to potential partners for a deal. 

Hope this clarifies!

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doughpat's Avatar

Thanks, everyone.  Very good points to consider.

It seems like it might be wise to consider EN as a good guide, seeing as I've never done this before.

That being said, I do have a decent amount of capital I could deploy for this endeavor.  

I just bought Roger Brown's book, thank you for that, and have reserved One Simple Idea at my library.  Time to get reading!

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crystaldiane's Avatar

Thats good news. Ryan, Rogers books is very helpful, I only wish i had it before I spent money on things that had no positive end.  I would have more today to use in marketing my own product instead.  Good for you! Best

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davidwevans's Avatar

I hope for the best for you because every word could have been my own, and it is exactly why am looking at this thread. 

I am working on my prototype presently. Slightly scared of Crystal's reply, but truly will spend my last dollar doing it myself because I believe in my idea. 

I would absolutely love to share ideas and report pitfalls to someone who's in the same boat as me.  I'll discuss absolutely everything about going into business with anyone interested, well, except of course, by awesome idea!

Good luck to you either way. 

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crystaldiane's Avatar

David, I think the very best advice I could give as an inventor now deep in the trenchs with my own product is to have a very clear cut sales plan. By this I mean a list of prospects that you intend to sell your product to.  Not just a "I think Home Depot, or Lowes, or??? will buy, but the name of the buyer, a phone number, email, etc.   You can do a lot in this area even with preorders in a way that does not cost a fortune. I highly recommend various tactics by both Roger Brown and other inventors that have brought products to market.

Sales matters. Nothing matters without sales.  Even the best product in the universe will stall and fail without a clear cut and sales/marketing plan and the distribution channel identified for your product (and there are MANY and those are ever changing - Yikes!!!!) 

If I were you, but I am not, I would be focused on preorder interest in your items - research the topic of minimum viable product make that and start there. Build the product your customer tells you they want that you can make YOURSELF IN SMALL QUANTIES (no cash this way).  If you have a niche product, which it sounds like you do I can totally relate. My first products were primitave deliverable I could make and sell myself. This has allowed me to refine my offering, and really focus in on my core customer.I learned SO MUCH, I established my costs, my retail price, my margins, my customers - all for about $200 in raw materials to get started. Today I have a bigger product line, categories, and continue to grow SLOWLY but I am not going into any debt at all.   Anyway - Im a bit pooped spend the last two days SELLING at local shows.  My two cents - best to you.

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crystaldiane's Avatar

Hi Michael, boy did you nail it. To say new and ever changing world is an undestatement. The market is VERY Confused. Things that worked like a charm months ago no longer work, Black Friday sales are failing, Bed Bath and Beyond along with a ot of retailers are stuffed to the gills with stuff and then stuff to store the stuff.

I am beginning for the first time in my adult life beginning to doubt the ablity of even the most talened marketing team to cut through the quagmire of noise in the current marketplace.  For me, I am trying to learn about how to integrate with the giants as quickly as possible - Amazon eBay, all these I think are the future of shopping at least for 'consumer' types of products.

I cant imagine what is needed anymore in this marketplace.  It seems that every niche has been filled and then filled again.  I guess my idea spout has finally run dry.

I will continue to work on my current project until that either grows legs enough of its own to keep going - or I run out of steam. Whichever comes first. Best to you all.

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