At 11 Industries, we’re extremely excited about working with U.S. designers and manufacturers. We feel that by keeping things here at home, we can create products that truly reflect what a modern gentleman is all about. Even though we’re extremely excited with our current manufacturing process, there was a major learning curve when we started. Over the past year, we’ve had to learn a lot about manufacturing our products. And, for the sake of complete transparency, we wanted to share the four things we’ve learned manufacturing our products. Maybe you’ll find it interesting. Maybe you’re thinking of beginning your own startup venture. No matter what the case, here’s some of the important things we’ve learned.
1. Do the Homework
It’s extremely tempting, when you have an idea and a dream, to jump right into the manufacturing process. But, that will only lead to huge problems down the road. Like all other important decisions, when we were deciding how and with whom we wanted to manufacture our products, we had to do quite a bit of research. We needed to know who would provide the best quality work and who would be willing to work with our designs and concepts. This took us a while, but the time was definitely worth it. We discovered Maker's Row and used their website to track find the best manufacturers for our needs. Now we have a manufacturer who we trust and who we know will create the best quality accessories for our customers.
It may seem like nagging when you first start working with a factory, but when it comes to deciding on a manufacturer, we had to describe everything we wanted in extensive detail. Every little thing, even things that didn’t seem important, needed to be gone over to make sure that we were all on the same page. It may seem like a hassle at the beginning, especially since we were eager to get started, but this saves time and money in the long run. The clearer we were up front, the fewer surprises we had when things got started.
Create a Timeline
We consider ourselves to be pretty laid back, but that had to end when it came to business. We knew that meeting deadlines was going to be vital for us, which meant we had to have a very specific timeline in place with our manufacturer. Though the saying is often waved off, time really is money and when you’re starting a business, time can mean keeping or losing customers. To keep our entire designing, manufacturing, selling, and shipping processes streamlined, we all needed to be on a timeline.
Trust the Manufacturer
This is a hard one. We’re extremely committed to our products, business and customers. This means, sometimes, we can be a bit obsessive. We want to know everything that’s going on and we want to have control over every single little detail. But, this leads to burnout. And, a manufacturer is hired for a reason. They know what they’re doing. They have experience and judgement that we don’t have, because they’re the experts in their field. While it can feel a bit like sending your firstborn off to kindergarten, we had to learn to trust our manufacturer.