We could write a complete new series of blog posts about this sometimes painful process! After almost a year – we finally did it, the trademark is official!
I now have a batch of professionally manufactured BurpMitts™ ready to purchase! They are currently available through this website, but I will be expanding to other markets in the future.
During this process I know I made quite a few mistakes and at times did things backwards. It was a bit of a one-step-forward-two-steps-back story dotted with constant roadblocks and obstacles. But I have learned a lot, and now I know the process of how to manufacture my very own physical product. I’ve written and published books, but this is a whole new level of excitement – taking an idea for an invention through to its creation is quite an experience and takes loads of patience and persistence. I did it!
I hope my product will help many parents get through those exhausting early baby days. Being a parent is the hardest work there is.
I now have a wonderful new manufacturer and have had a few samples made in order to finally decide which fabric I will ultimately use for the BurpMitt™. I chose an organic cotton, super absorbent fabric in a natural color. The fabric is also very soft, so it will be gentle on a baby’s skin. I have had the fabric sent to the manufacturer, had new labels made, and now we are officially in production!
Today has been a very discouraging day. My contact at the manufacturer has informed me that they cannot go forward with my project (and this time the email WAS meant for me). They have changed their production schedules to only high volume production lots of 1000 pieces or more. As the little guy, just starting out, I am only looking to produce a small batch at this point in time. My contact has been nice enough to refer me to another manufacturer who might fit my needs better. I am supposed to contact her later this week after he meets with her.
Once again, now I know why most products are Made in China.
I have received my latest prototype with comments from the manufacturer that my pattern is wrong. They also informed me that they cannot use one of the fabrics that I have chosen (my favorite one) because it is too stiff and their machines cannot do tight curves. This is another pattern issue. So I have created a new pattern. This one is much more rounded and I think it will work.
During all of my painful waiting around this summer (seems like all I have done this year is wait around), I have also created another product. It is kind of like a companion product, and will hopefully be much easier to manufacture.
By the way, the missing fabric showed up in the package the manufacturer sent me, so now I have more fabric than I could possibly need.
All I have to do now is package everything up and send it to the manufacturer and this show will be on the road again!
I have chosen two fabrics and am having two prototypes made. However, it wouldn’t be my story without some extra obstacles, would it?
The first batch of fabric that I had sent to the manufacturer disappeared. We don’t even know where it went, it simple vanished. I am still trying to get a refund. Hoping, once again, to speed up the process, I have ordered another batch and had that also sent directly to the manufacturer. I have watched the tracking information on both batches like a hawk, and noticed that the address on the fabric has been changed each time from what I had submitted. The latest address isn’t even an address I have used before. I contacted the manufacturer to confirm his address and his response was “Yes, that is the correct address, but where did you get Suite __ from?”
Explaining that I did not put that address on the package, I knew things did not bode well for my latest attempt to have fabric delivered to my contact.
I continued to watch the tracking in frustration as the package was marked as undeliverable because there was nowhere secure to leave the package. So a note was left (at the incorrect address) for the person (who doesn’t work at that location) to pick the package up at the local post office.
I couldn’t make this stuff up.
I tracked down the phone number of the most likely post office location in the area and called them. A very helpful supervisor located my package and said that he could not do anything for me over the phone. He explained that if no one came to pick the package up, it would have to be returned to the sender. I explained my predicament and the fact that the fabric company just happens to be on vacation for a few weeks, as of two days prior. The whole thing would be funny if it was not so maddening. He must have taken pity on my plight because he said he knew the location and that he could go by on his way home and hand deliver the package.
A helpful postal employee? They DO exist!
A day or two later I had confirmation that my manufacturer had the package of fabric and that we were once again on track to make my prototypes.
We’ll see how this round goes.
As a friend of mine put it quite succinctly – why is the road always blocked?
It has become abundantly clear that I am not going to be able to do this entirely on my own. Besides my lack of ability on the sewing machine (I managed to bend a needle on my first day), my two children are clearly not going to allow me to get any work done.
Luckily I have been back in touch with my manufacturer and he is working on another prototype for me.
If you want a thing done well, do it yourself. – Napoleon Bonaparte
Thanks to a very generous gift I now have a sewing machine. I’ve decided to do an experiment – instead of waiting around for strangers to determine my product’s fate, why not start to manufacture my product myself?
I have ordered some swatches of fabric in order to determine the best one for my product. I hope to have a winner within a few days. Then, I will place an order and get to work. To me, nothing is more liberating than taking matters into your own hands and doing it yourself. I guess that’s why I like to self-publish my books. I cannot stand waiting for someone else to do something and having absolutely no control over the process.
I’ve got the thread, I’ve got the fabric – I’m all ready to go.