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Mon Aug 19 2013 16:19:19

Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was

By: Julia Wilkinson

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Have you ever thought about designing your own product? Look to the needs in your own life that don't have a product meeting them out there in the marketplace.

Nicole Kelner did just that when she designed the "SmartPurse,™" a wallet/handbag that doubles as a waterproof cellphone carrier. (I think her Etsy shop gives the best bird's-eye view of her products; but she also has a web site at http://www.nicolekelnerdesigns.com/). That and her energetic marketing won her the  EmpowerWomen mentorship contest sponsored by e-commerce website Alibaba.com. 

How did Kelner get the idea? She left her purse on the back of a chair at a Chipotle (the horror!), but she did remember to take her phone, "and I kind of realized I was having trouble remembering to bring all my stuff when I was running around," she explains in an Alizila blog post.

She wanted to make it easier to keep her phone and purse together, but she couldn't find any handbag with an exterior phone pocket for sale anywhere. "So I went out and found a waterproof drypack and stitched it together with a small clutch. That was my first prototype," she said.

Compliments from friends, family and strangers followed, but she had to run through some trial and error before hitting her winning product design, she explained.

Her advice for people making their own products is to underpromise and overdeliver..she does this with her shipping, promising the item in 14 days but trying to ship in seven.

Another benefit to selling your own product is, well, you're the only vendor selling it! At least until and if you get copycats. One of the commenters on a recent blog post said they sold their own, unique product and therefore it took out the problems of having to worry about this or that which the competition was doing (leaving "just" the problems of marketing, production, and fulfillment, but still...).

But the big barrier is getting past your own inertia. Kudos to Nicole, and I hope that some of you out there who have ideas will find the time to try them out. (I for one would love to find a product that makes my hair less frizzy and curly, without having to blast on a layer of formaldehyde at 450 degrees).

What about you? Have you thought about designing and selling your own product, or have you done it? If you don't want to give away your secrets, tell us what you can. Post a comment here!
knew I had a product when friends and family and strangers kept telling me that they loved it. There was a lot of trial and error. I started out thinking I should be selling in flea markets and to friends, family and co-workers. But once I started getting online sales, that was a turning point—I realized that I had my company. - See more at: http://www.alizila.com/20-student-entrepreneur-already-has-million-dollar-business-idea#sthash.krrQpzsB.dpu
EmpowerWomen mentorship contest sponsored by global e-commerce website Alibaba.com - See more at: http://www.alizila.com/20-student-entrepreneur-already-has-million-dollar-business-idea#sthash.krrQpzsB.dpuf




Comments (7) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was   Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Aug 19 17:08:35 2013

@Julia - And I would like a product to make my wavy/curly hair stick straight without the aforementioned formaldehyde and flat irons.

I commend Nicole for her ingenuity and perseverance. I have often thought, "Wouldn't it be nice to have ..." but I lack the motivation to carry it through. And I have often wondered, once you have a prototype, where do you take it to get it mass-produced?

Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was   Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Mon Aug 19 17:15:24 2013

@iheartjacksparrow Quirky.com is one way to go

Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was   Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was

This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww

Mon Aug 19 19:42:00 2013

Jack, I feel your pain, tho I suspect your wavy hair is nice and smooth. ;)

I have a thought involving can-like objects but haven't figured out an actual prototype yet.  

Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was   Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 19 23:46:16 2013

Can----like????--objects???

Really?

And the guys on INSTRUCTABLES are great for help with ideas and don't forget Kickstarter

I have several ideas--mebbe I should spend the time I used to spend hunting for ebay items on them---hmmmm----

Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was   Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was

by: Henry This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Aug 20 13:00:24 2013

I did. I wrote a book for booksellers and would-be book sellers titled ''How To Sell Books on eBay''. It is available as a softcover book or PDF book. I also developed a software application titled ''eBay Sellers Inventory Management'' for online sellers that source, sell, and ship their own products.

Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was   Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue Aug 20 15:05:03 2013

I've got at least 6 different products I'm developing right now. The biggest problem is simply finding enough time to work on them. It's hard being the wearer of all the hats in a business :-)

Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was   Tempted to Design a Product? Nicole Kelner Was

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Mon Sep 9 20:35:06 2013

I had a dynamite, knock-your-socks-off product from the 1950's that people had forgotten all about. It was a recession-based moneysaver.

In the recession of the '90's, I was selling them in the backs of ladies' magazines. Then the house and shop burned and all the patterns and inventory with it.

Then I ramped up again, planning to sell it on Yahoo Auctions. Two months later, they closed.

Then, as the current recession intensified, I prepared to launch the product on Bonanza. But the 1000Markets purchase and subsequent refocus sent me running.

Now, I am absolutely terrified to sell this product ANYWHERE, because Obamacare will steal all the money.

I am utterly paralyzed about where to turn. The world I thrived in is gone, and site owners make more from tire kickers and lookie-lou's, than from sellers making sales.

What the hell has happened, in such a short five years???



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