What Goes Into Product Development? Here’s A Crash Course

You might have an idea that needs to be fleshed out, or perhaps you’re trying to figure out if you should be sourcing your own materials or leaving that up to a factory. Navigating the chain of events that leads from initial sketching to a fully realized product is often daunting, particularly when you’re new to the manufacturing game. It’s even more of a challenge to comprehend when you think about increasing the volume of your output, while grasping jargon and concepts that may still be unfamiliar. So, without further ado, here’s the layman’s glossary of product development stages – the Maker’s Row way.



The idea itself is the genesis of the product, but the end result is rarely the same as what was first envisioned. That’s where ideation comes into play – the act of exploring various possibilities and refining an idea to enable it to be executed in its most effective incarnation.

Pattern Making

Making a pattern of a product is essentially creating a blueprint for the final result: the stage where you start to think about dimensions and scale, forming the bones of what your product will become. If you’re inexperienced in pattern making, we’re happy to help – there are plenty of factories on our database that have in-house pattern makers to help guide the direction of your garment.



Material sourcing can be done either with your factory – many have connections and resources to find a variety of materials and fabrics to craft your product – or without. If you’re working with a factory that doesn’t source materials, it’s important to do the research around pricing, volume and quality, and how you’re going to handle the ordering process.

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Sample Making

Prototyping is essential to the success of your product. Putting all your prior design decisions in perspective, it allows a comprehensive look at a physically realized piece. Does that button still work there, for example, or would the zipper be better on the other side? If it’s a decorative item, you’ll see how the materials work together, and how the item ‘behaves’ in different environments. For a functional item, you’ll be able to walk through each of its features to determine whether or not they need tweaking or refinement.



Molding and machinery are crucial to large-scale production, and often, they’ll need to be made to specification around the needs of your product. To ensure efficient and wallet-friendly production, tooling is an essential part of the process.


Finally, production is the endgame: the reason you started designing and ideating, and the last step that ties all the other stages together. It’s key that you find a factory that falls in line with your business philosophies to ensure that everyone’s on the same page- whether it’s small batch, eco-friendly or New York-based, we can hook you up.

Cover image courtesy of www.surroundings.com.au via Creative Commons. 

Want to find out even more about production? Check out our Production 101 course:

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