• About Us

    We're a team of designers and engineers living and playing along the beaches of sunny San Diego. Our mission is to make products so good, your friends will wrestle you for them!

     

    Along with bringing our own creations to market, we love working with other inventors. Good news is that we don't charge for our labor as we want to be part of the entire journey. We get paid when you do, with equity. Bad news is that we're pretty selective when picking winners.

  • The Goods

  • Our Process

    Coffee!

    Every morning we brew a big pot and spend 45 minutes talking about one product in our lives that sucks or better yet, doesn't even exist. We then whiteboard solutions assuming no limitations. As a client, this is where you come in, helping start the brainstorm.

    Prototype

    If we hit an "a-ha" moment, we'll sit on it for 2 weeks. If we're still excited, that's when we get to work! First, we scour the internet looking for prior art. If we're first or can easily differentiate our solution from others, we cut, weld, sew, print, torch, drill, glue, staple, mold and assemble a proof-of-concept.

    CAD

    After using mock-ups to refine the design, it's time to break out Solidworks. Using Computer Aided Design (CAD), we create detailed schematics and use our FDM then SLA 3D-printer, or metal and wood shop (with 6-axis CNC!) to create something we can eventually hand people to play with.

    Intellectual Property

    Because getting user feedback early is vital to our development process, it's important to protect our inventions with a rolling set of provisional patents. Given they only cost $135 to file, it's a no-brainer. Before we go to market, we work with outside counsel to file a non-PPA Design or Utility patent (or both) to ensure our ideas don't get knocked off or contested in PTAB.

    Branding

    One of the funnest (is that a word?) parts of the journey is working on branding. We get everyone together and go over dozens of names, narrow down logos, create a compelling slogan, mock up packaging concepts until we feel the product can visually tell it's own story. We may do online surveys to narrow down choices. With a winner selected, we file trademarks, capture website and social media handles to protect brand assets.

    User Study

    We then walk outside our offices in downtown Encinitas to see if people call our baby ugly. Other than a quick "Hello," we don't describe the product, rather show them the packaging to see if passes the 15-foot test, and hand them the product to play with. We capture their input and repeat the process until we hopefully get a "where can I buy one?" mark of approval!

    Sourcing

    Although we have a rough BOM and know our margins, (otherwise we wouldn't have come this far) it's time to source the right factory. Depending on where we see the product being sold online (high margin, low volume) or retail (low margin, high volume) a factory is chosen to meet the manufacturing and volume demands of that channel.

    Licensing

    Based on several factors, we decide if we are the best team to take the product to market, or if it's better to license our invention to the network of 233 companies that make everything you see in WalMart, Target and BBB. Since a lot of the risk has already been removed and patents filed, we're able to negotiate higher royalty rates, often 5% to 7% of gross sales.

    Marketing

    If we're the ones taking our invention to market, that's when the real work begins! Everything up to this point has been fun. It's time to rise and grind and get out there and sell. Our team shoots a long and short form video focusing on the "who cares?" and builds a lead-generating website. We spend several months on a pre-Kickstarter campaign building a list of bloggers to pitch with samples, while leveraging targeted A/B social media ads to find our tribe at the lowest CAC. We only launch if we're confident CAC leaves plenty of margin and we have a third of the backers needed in the campaign's first three days.

    Quality Control

    Armed with a clear technical document and video showing how the product is to be tested, our sourcing agent on the factory floor ensures the QC team never sends a 40 foot container of inferior product.

    The last thing we want to do (again) is create an assembly line where we painstakingly remove each product from it's packing, fix an issue, put it in new packaging, box and ship it. It's costly and not fun!

    Distribution

    With an Amazon Fulfillment Center close to Port of Long Beach, we leverage their distribution power and deep discounts on shipping to fulfill our Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Shopify and Amazon orders. If margins permit, we also work with a handful of distributors who are key to getting our products onto store shelves. If we secure a particularly large purchase order, we have a network of investors we can tap into for a credit line.

    Support

    A small network of passionate virtual assistants using their smartphones and mobile CRM software help ensure that every customer request or return is handled quickly and with care. We live or die by our Amazon reviews, so ensuring at least a 4-star on the portal is key. If we see repeated customer complaints about a particular feature, we will pull inventory and sell excess on Ebay, while working to fix the design flaw and re-listing the item on Amazon when new inventory arrives.

  • Shop Talk

    How do you decide which projects you take on?

    We believe advertising is the cost of lack of innovation. If our products can't get early adopters talking about them, sharing it with friends, passing it around, then it might be time to move on, (unless it has exceptional margins which allows even a high customer acquisition cost). Second, since we are unable to go to retail with a large enough ad budget needed to sell massive quantities quickly before knock-offs arrive, we primarily work on products that can be protected via U.S. patent. If we don't believe we can pull an infringing item from Amazon or a big box retailer, we tend to not pursue the idea from the start.

    Which manufacturers do you use? Is it Made In The USA?

    Since we are a small product development house, we need to keep a close eye on margins. The decision of which factory to use depends on the item and how labor intensive it is to produce. If a lot of hands have to touch it, it is more economical to make it overseas, pay customs, duty taxes and shipping. If it is a simpler part, we will make it locally or in Mexico.

    Are you hiring?

    Quite often in a company, after the founders have hired friends and friends-of-friends, that's when the culture can begin to change. We'd rather keep the core team small and scrappy and partner with consultants as needed, and bring them on full-time if it is a good fit. That stated, we're always looking for talented people that have skills that are better or complimentary to ours, so give us a shout!

  • Let's Be Friends

    Introduce yourself!