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Finding a manufacturer for product.

benchpress's Avatar

Hi All,


Backstory:
In 2017 I recognized a need for a speciality product to solve a common problem strength athletes face when training. Throughout the year I took the idea from a scribble on a piece of scrap paper to a fully functioning prototype with product logo. This prototype was thrown onto our equipment at the gym and I have let it be used organically by anyone who comes across it. Most of the interactions with the product have been positive and i have steadily been getting more and more inquiries about how they can buy one. I am in a unique position where I could viably make a niche brand out of this initial product. I have been looking for a proper manufacturer and have fallen short on multiple attempts. While my quest to find a manufacturer has not been as successful as I had hoped, each interaction has taught me something new about the process of building a product and the realities of the costs associated with doing so. I have looked at websites such as ThomasNet and signed up for MakersRow

My problem:
I have limited knowledge and no real local mentors to help guide me in the right direction when it comes to finding a suitable manufacturer here in the US (I am open to international options but from what I have gathered is that international manufacturers generally have large minimums) The ones domestically that I have dealt with have had very poor customer services, shoddy craftsmanship, never responded to my calls, or were just out of the price point to be profitable.

What I am looking for:
Help and information. If anyone knows of a resource, list, type of service, or specific manufacturer it would be great to be guided in the right direction so I do not keep spinning my wheels. The internet is a great resource so I am hoping this post can help utilize what it was truly intended for, information.

Materials I am dealing with:
Neoprene
Webbing
Plastic buckles
hook and loop
rubberized coated fabrics

I need a manufacturer who can source these materials, cut and sew them together and screen print the logo onto the product.

Thanks for the help! 

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crystaldiane's Avatar

You might try a resource called makers row. Online. Its mostly apparel or jewelry but from your material list they might be a fit. Best to you.

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benchpress's Avatar

Hi Crystal-Diane As stated in the original post, I have already signed up with Makers Row and have not found much success, exactly because those manufacturers are primarly apparel based.

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rpontius's Avatarg8_badge

Hi Zoltan - have you checked out the Edison Nation Blog posts on "Soft Goods" by Jeremy Losaw? The articles may be more about prototyping than manufacturing, but there may be some good tidbits for you there.

You might also want to look into "ProtoSew": http://www.protosew.com/

Kenneth Rainbolt
Michelle Sartori
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rpontius's Avatarg8_badge

ProtoSew doesn't just do prototyping but full-scale manufacturing as well and based on some of the examples they give they likely do work in the materials you are dealing with:

Bags

Handbags
Equipment Bags
Sporting Equipment
Backpacks

Industrial Fabric Products
Harnesses
Lifting Harnesses
Load Restraints
Industrial Equipment Covers
Specialized Fabric Equipment, Kevlar, Nomex Thread, etc.

Military
Paramilitary Packs
Field Equipment

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keeztan's Avatargold

Try local cut and sew shops, small shops that do marine tops and upholstery are a good start. I used to run a shop similar and used all the materials you mentioned. They are used to small production runs and custom work.

Robert Pontius
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magurn's Avataren_staff_badge

Here is a link to Jeremy's "protoTYPING" posts: http://blog.edisonnation.com/category/prototyping/

Robert Pontius
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speedbump's Avatar

Zoltan ... when I read your post the first thing that came to mind for me was custom seat belt manufactures. I just put seat belts in my old truck so the grand kids won't fall out. There are several US manufacturers that make custom belts for special applications .... cars, truck, aircraft, amusement rides etc. . Look up GRWCO dot com or CBOL corporation as well as some others. Just type in American seat belt manufacturers and read about their capabilities. There are several that are set up to do custom work and are probably familiar with most of the materials you are dealing with.

Robert Pontius
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crystaldiane's Avatar

Hi... actually after I read your post again the second thing that comes to mind is product liability. Have you considered how you would handle the consequences of someone mishandling your product and becoming hurt? I'm not trying to squash your dreams but we are in highly litigious times and it certainly would be something you would have to consider as any kind of larger sales plan. It seems to me that exercise equipment of any kind is subject to a lot of scrutiny with regard to safety. Simply my two cents but it was would certainly be something I would talk to an attorney about who is experienced in this area. I think there's a line that one is Crossing when they actually put the product into production in Commerce as opposed to just using something I may be wrong but I would caution you to look at that carefully so you have an answer to that question as you move forward on your project best CD

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sidhanth's Avatar

Hi Zoltan. I went through your stuff and just want to tell something related to search manufacturers. Type in google like your service along with US Manufacturers. Go with the results and compare the capabilities in manufacturing. Then you can able to know who is the best option for you. 

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