When Should Makers Become Manufacturers?

Sometimes it is easy to forget that many of the technical advances that define the internet age were brought to us by unconnected amateurs working on their own ideas. Without the limitations of corporate strategic plans and budget committees, these hackers, coders, and clever tinkerers working in basements, garages, and dorm rooms have created a digital landscape that has changed how we communicate, work, shop, and interact the information. The internet made it possible to change the world with just a computer, a great idea and of course lots of caffeine.

These days, a new breed of thinkers is taking that spirit of invention out of the digital realm and into the real world. The Maker movement, which includes high-tech DIY enthusiasts, crafters, builders, and hackers, is a thriving and producing some truly amazing innovations.

Just a Hobby?

Some Makers invent just for the joy of seeing their ideas come to life, but others have turned what started out as a hobby into successful business ventures. Modern approaches to manufacturing have made it possible for Makers to find a partner that can support their production needs from the prototyping process all the way through to order fulfillment. This means that anyone with a new idea can get their products to market without the need for a lot of capital investment.

From Maker to Manufacturer

When does it make sense to consider producing your invention for sale? Here are a few signs that the time might be right:

  • There is a market demand. These days it is easier than ever to find out if there is a demand for your product. Sites like Kickstarter help Makers validate that people will be willing to pay for what they have to offer. Social media networks are also a great tool for finding out if products appeal to the target audience.
  • You’ve created a successful prototype. It used to be difficult to find a manufacturer that could produce prototypes at a reasonable price, but that is no longer the case. Cloud manufacturing has reduced the cost to create prototypes and shortened the time it takes to turn prototype orders around.
  • You’ve protected your intellectual property. The process of getting a patent in the US is complicated, but Makers shouldn’t underestimate the value of their intellectual property. It makes sense to consult an attorney who can help you navigate the patent landscape.
  • You’ve found the perfect manufacturing partner. By choosing a manufacturing-on-demand partner, you don’t have to go from 0 to 60 all in one shot. You can place small orders for your product, knowing that you can quickly scale if they sell like hotcakes. It is smart to choose a partner that can manage your inventory and handle order fulfillment in addition to device assembly.

These are exciting times for people who love to come up with new ways to solve problems, keep us entertained, or just find out if something will work. The opportunity to build a business based on an ingenious idea is open to more people than ever before. If you are ready to take that step, we’re here to help.