DAK Creations: Our goal is to solve a problem people have through getting to know what sort of problems people often face, and creating a solution in the form of a product or service in which we can sell. Currently we are working on a detachable wind blocker that will block the wind when lighting up a lighter.
Our business model was finalized through constantly interviewing potential customers. The main reason why nothing has been crossed out is that we have not sold anything or even begun producing our MVP.
The windblocker is a totally new product that solves a problem that many people who smoke have, which is the wind can it hard to light up. Lighters with built-in wind blockers have been made but a detachable one has not yet been made and people that smoke all use BIC disposeable lighters so a detachable wind blocker would be better than one built-in to the design.
Customer Interviews and Early AdoptersEdit
Early Adopters: Through customer interviews we found that our early adopters were smokers ages 18-35 who frequently have to smoke outside more than twice a day and live in windy areas.
Customer Interview Questions (We asked 15 of our fellow students these questions)Edit
In this first page of information gathered in customer interviews we found that most people that smoke twice a day own BIC lighters and wish to be sold a single windblocker rather than a pack.
In this second part of the interview information we found out the most important aspect of this venture is that the windblocker is easy to use, fits easily in ones pocket, and does what its supposed to do.
Fulcrum of this venture: if the wind is a problem annoying enough for people to actually buy the design. The design needs to fulfill those three product expectations and can be given a price at or lower than $4.00 per wind blocker.
At the beginning of this venture we decided to get CAD software and try and create our design, knowing we could use the ISAT rapid prototyping lab at JMU for free given we are not mass-producing but prototyping. We just had to make sure the file we used was in ".stl" format.
The software we tried using was Autodesk CAD software which was free for students.
We tried but the software was hard to learn in the limited amount of time we had, so we asked an engineering student for help and he used his own program to build the design we had drawn out.
Our first prototype:Edit
As you can see it was too small and too thin to be durable. Also the ABS plastic that is used in the prototyping machine was flamible and would not work for our application. So we decided to try another machine that uses sand like material glued together.
Our second prototype:EditThis second prototype had to be made very thick or it would crumble easily. Another caveat is that surface is rough and needs to be sanded. Finally it was not fire proof and would slowly burn up. This prototype was too big but we were getting closer to the right size.
Our third prototype:EditWe finally created a product that works and fits the only caveat is the ABS plastic is not flame resistant so even though it works. Our new design relies on the flexibility of the plastic to grip the lighter and slide down the lighter for easy storage. In order to produce our product, we decided to contract out to a third party for manufacturing our product.
The manufacturer we decided to use was PRG, which was a decision largely made because they put emphasis on protecting intellectual property.
Marketing TacticsEditAfter the
Another promotion made was the Kickstarter commercial:
We decided to do a kickstarter in order to get enough funds to actually produce a fire retardant product. which is still ongoing, the project is pending approval.
- We gave an stl file but they needed an ".IGS" file or a ".step" file. This set us back quite a lot time wise even wit PRG emailing back every 24 hours we spent 2 weeks trying to get a quote and when we finally got the quote we had problems with kickstarter.
- One of the problems was that we had to use Amazon payments to finalize the project for review and it had to be done by the person who is verified as the owner of the kickstarter.
- Another problem that we currently have is that we were declined because we did not follow the kickstarter project guidelines in some way. They never told us why we were declined so we are creating a new project that will better explain our project and check rigorously so that we are within the guidelines.
- Our first idea failed which was a low cost corn hole set. It failed bacause anyone could create the set so there is no originality or new idea.
I guess our message to future students would be to learn from the mistakes we made, and for any of the future business ventures make sure you do something you care about and have a passion for, rather than slapping a JMU logo on a basic product. I guess finding the right idea is like going to different restaurants and trying out different foods, you won't like everything you eat but there may be one or two dishes in which you discover...
Have fun future entrepreneurs!
ResourcesEditThe gentleman standing in front of the two rapid prototype printers is Mr. Wild. He is the person we had contract with and helped us out with our printing at ISAT. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
The taller printer is an Stratasys Elite while the shorter longer printer is a Z-Printer. The elite uses ABS plastic while the Z-Printer uses powder substance.
Kickstarter (Pending Approval)