Thursday, September 22, 2005

Memory Trends - Here we come!

The seasons of product development at Maya Road really focus on the three or four annual tradeshows where manufacturers and retailers meet. These crazy three day events are both the most rewarding and most stressful parts of running and successful wholesale business. You meet the industry heavyweights, work with the trendsetters, and generally fight for the limited attention of the retailers who make or break your brand. It is a heady business with clear winners and losers. We have met other manufacturers who have closed up shop due to a poor showing. Each show is a minimum investment of $5 to $10K for the booth, design, marketing materials, travel and personnel time. So few smaller manufacturers can really afford to make mistakes. With stakes like this, it is easy to see why the big guys have the advantage, but it takes both the big guys and the small ones to keep the industry healthy. Innovation is sometimes easier with a team of 800 and millions in the bank, but I have found that the upstarts are scrappy (no pun intended) and flexible. It is all about having the products customers demand and retailers want to invest in. And of course, the ability to deliver those products. That is where I come in. There is so much to think about when preparing for a new season of products. I manage product design, development and logistics, so all of my work is done just before and just after the tradeshow. It is a taxing business, but so much fun! Here is an idea of everything that goes into developing a new line of products:
  • Come up with a cool idea - something new, an extension of a line, etc
  • Draft 20 to 30 designs or versions of the product. Work out color schemes, materials and sizing
  • Envision how customers actually use the product.
  • Get feedback from team.
  • Meet with partner to discuss how to develop the product. Work out how concept meets reality.
  • Go into prototyping. (This is the most exciting part when your idea moves into substance)
  • Develop a sense of how it will be packaged, displayed and sold.
  • Design packaging materials and arrange with our factory for pulling it all together.
  • Set up logistics for delivery of component parts, packaging, and shipping.
  • Put together catalogs, marketing collateral and presentation.
  • Go to tradeshow and watch the product takes flight!

For Memory Trends this year, we are launching three to four dozen new products on top of the 75+ products we just launched in July for CHA Summer. It has been an amazing whirlwind from our first show to now. We started with two dozen products at HIA 2004, and now have more than 200 and counting! I cannot wait to see what the next year brings. It has been an amazing adventure, and I cannot wait for CHA Winter where I can launch the next 50 items I have on my drawing board... :)


Blogger Jessica S. said...

I love reading you blog and learning about the other side of MR. Thanks for taking the time to post all this info!

9/24/2005 07:15:00 AM  

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