Chris Cleveland, Stephen Colangelo, and Jong Lee make up Team 5. We are currently pursuing 3 potential products: Customized license plate frames, Hand-made Dog collars with lights attached, and Cupholder stakes. After painstaking attempts to create a visually appealing design for our numerous products we came upon the conclusion that "KISS" (Keep it simple stupid) was the motto that we needed to embrace. We abandoned the customized license plate frames due to the inconsistency in customer demand, re-purposed the dog collar materials to make smaller and affordable bracelets, and completely disregarded the cupholder stakes.With the new motto, we came up with simpler product ideas: COB stickers (resembling OBX stickers), and to capture a niche but highly attractive market we came up a T-Shirt with the slogan: I Came, I Saw, ISAT.
Throughout the course of the semester we have experimented with multiple product ideas. Some of these have been unsuccessful and therefore scrapped, and others have sold well and been profitable.
Our products throughout the semester were:
- LED dog collar made from paracord
- Portable cup holder for outdoor use
- Bracelets made from paracord and dog tags
- JMU College of Business license plate frames
- ISAT T-shirts "I came, I saw, ISAT"
- College of Business Stickers
Final Products (Selling Products)Edit
We have found two of our ideas to be desirable enough to customers to the point where we made a profit.With almost all of our products we have been able to make a random sale here and there, but our best selling products are:
- Bracelets made from paracord and dog tags
- College of Business stickers
Our progress through the product development of our multiple ideas is chronicled below. Throughout the progress section, we also discuss customer discovery and sales of our products.
We began by creating a collar by weaving lacrosse string together. We then clipped on a light and buckle which we bought at Walmart. This looked good initially, but concerns of adjustability were raised, so we are looking to attach belt buckle like fasteners to make them adjustable.
For the cup holder stakes, we went to Home Depot and got two feet of copper wire that was sturdy enough to stick in the ground. We then were able to bend it on the spot to something that resembled a stake and it was able to hold a soda from the checkout line refrigerators.
We have not been to make a physical prototype for the license plate frames, but we did get a quote from the supplier at the bookstore: 100 plastic frames @ $2 apiece. This is not a little bet, so we are going to do customer discovery in order to see if we have enough interest in the frames. If we can offset some of the price with preorders, we will be more willing to take this bet.
Since we were unable to find a cheap light to fit onto our collar, we attempted to construct our own. We were able to create a light that lit up, but creating a casing for it proved too challenging. Because of this and other concerns of adjustability and fitting, we decided to move on from the dog collar idea.
While we have not ruled out the cupholder stakes, our main contender in moving ahead looks to be the license plate frames. This week we called the bookstore's supplier again to see what options we have when ordering a large amount of frames. They suggested different color schemes we could use, and the prices associated with those designs. We also did some customer discovery to determine what colors and options potenial customers liked best. To help with financials we have also ordered a square reader and set up a bank account.
After conducting our customer discovery via surveys for the license plate frames, we determined that there was not enough interest to make that large of a big bet bulk order. The cupholder has received good feedback from those we asked, but we are still trying to figure out how to make it cheaper and more versatile. Potential customers have given us indications on containers they would like to be able to fit in the cupholder as well as prices they would like the product for. We are also thinking of new ideas to pursue at this time.
After our discussions with Dr. Wales following spring break, we have decided that we need to scrap our products and go see if some new ones could help us gain the profits we are looking for.We have been in communication with rainbow printing and are going to place an order for 250 oval College of Business stickers next week. We have talked with potential customers and are expecting the stickers to sell well in Showker, and potentially make us a lot of profit depending on price. We are also awaiting the We have also decided to make ISAT T-Shirts. We will partner with J.M. for U. and are waiting for our first shirt to be printed. We were also able to sell off some of our waste from our previous ventures. Most of this came from the paracord, which we made into bracelets instead of dog collars.
This week we received our ISAT shirt from J.M. for U and were able to sell it. We are planning to buy some additional shirts in grey and white, which we will give to J.M. for U. to print our design on. We have continued to use the leftover string from the dog collars to make bracelets which Jong has sold eight of this week. This has covered the cost of the early dog collar venture. Additionally, we have placed our order for 250 College of Business stickers, which should arrive next week.
The stickers arrived this week and we have began selling them. We are currently experimenting with our pricing model to find the optimum price. We are not seeing much interest at $3 a sticker, so we lowered it to $2. Since we have so many, we want to push bundle deals as well. We have also received our six new printed ISAT T-shirts and were able to sell another one. The shirts would have probably sold better is we had had more time to work on the design. The customer discovery we did is telling us that they do like the idea, but the design is not exactly what they want.
This week we focused on selling the stickers. We set up in the lobby of Showker a couple of days and sold there. We settled on $1 a sticker as the best price based on what customers were saying they would like to pay for them. Some forms of direct selling we used were going around to professor's offices as well as hanging out by the parking deck. The latter proved far less successful, as we were unable to make a single sale. This was counterintuitive because we thought car drivers would be the most likely to buy the stickers. However, it seemed that the customers we tried to get were busy going to or coming from class and were therefore uninterested in the stickers at that time. Overall, the sales for these stickers are going really well. They are selling faster than we expected, and we believe they will soon turn a profit.
Regrettably we were unable to break-even, although we had excellent sales numbers from our stickers and made a profit off of our re-purposing of the dog collar materials. Overall, the timing of our sales was a little too late and though our products showed initial potential, in the end it was not enough. Had we had more time we could have also branched out the sticker idea into multiple colleges around JMU.
- Initiate the sales process early
- Although diversifying your portforlio may mitigate inconsistencies; don't spread the resources (team, money) too thin.
- Create a story; to persuade your customers into buying your product
Business Models/ Financial DashboardEdit