View Full Version : Any advice for branching out into mass-producing my product?

18-11-2010, 04:26 PM

I recently applied for the Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award and won. Thank you to anyone who voted, I am so pleased to have the means to properly start my business.

I make contemporary gardenware, focusing on gates and fences at present. My work is based on my own illustrations of flowers which I then hand manipulate into a gate using black iron. At present my product is made on a commission basis but I am looking to continue running this along with selling a mass produced item through shops.

I have been making my work for nearly a year, setting up selling about 10 months ago. Since starting my business I have had a steady flow of work; I am currently negotiating with shops, happy to stock my bespoke work, and have a major commission in discussion. Even though I am busy I do want to start working on developing my mass-produced range, as I know this can be a lengthy process.

I am asking for any advice as I'm totally new to outsourcing work. I have looked at a few of the international sourcing companies, although they look good I have heard of people having bad luck with some.

I would really appreciate any recommendations or advice any of you have.

Thank you

20-11-2010, 01:14 AM
Hey Claire.

I can't offer too much help, but want to say that i am in a similar position and would benefit on some advice of how to have my project built more profesionaly (and mass produced) without the expense/on a commision of product sale basis.

I think it would be great if the government could set a place up where we could build our products and where we can get more poffesional help and access to tools and equipment (obviously purchasing our own materials)-basicaly free workshop space with advisors and the right equipment.

I had a look at your website. I think your gates etc.. are fantastic and very modern.

Good Luck with you business venture.

22-11-2010, 11:47 AM
Hi Claire

It's been a while since I've been involved in mass market manufacturing. I'm confident that you could do this yourself. In the first instance you'll need to do a bit of research to establish what's already available in black iron fencing and garden accessories and the price points wholesale and RRP associated with them. It might be worth visiting a trade show like Glee so you can get a feel for the market and current trends http://www.gleebirmingham.com/

You'll almost need to work backwards establishing the price points you're working towards to identify a margin that allows you to make some money. The next step is research and this could take some time because you're looking for a manufacturer in essence that can reproduce your designs at a high quality at a reduced cost in bulk.
I would get a confidentiality agreement drawn up prior to approaching any manufacturer in relation to your designs. Then make a list of Iron Metal work fabricators and start contacting them.

You need to find out if they can recreate your designs. Ask questions regarding minimum order quantities, lead times, payment terms, Quality control, shipping costs to you and direct to the customer (if available), storage costs and what are the levels of discounts available based on quantities ordered. Ask to see examples of work if available.

If you feel comfortable with the costs request two samples a basic design and a more ornate design so you can understand how they work and see the quality of work they can produce for you. It could take week’s/Months to find a manufacture and you could go through this process over and over again until you get it right.

However the upside is once you’ve found a manufacturer you can start to approach buyers with costs and Lead times. Whatever you do, don’t place bulk orders with Manufacturers until you have firm orders from buyers.

I hope this helps and good luck with the business

23-11-2010, 03:38 PM
HI Claire,
I have just been looking into getting my product made in metal. Things to consider 1- transportation costs due to weight/import duty. 2- The most important, who are you selling too??? Are you mass market? If not do not go to China or India and keep it more controllable in the UK. Sell less and made more margin each item. If you are mass market go East, India, China or eastern block. You need to go and see the factories, check facts and business details. It is the only way to find a good company. Good luck.