The best way to kick of product development is by speaking with an industry expert. Not only will it get you started on the right foot, you can learn the best practices when it comes to producing a product. But when you’re paying for an hour of a factory’s time, you want to get the most out of the call. So here are some tips for getting the most out of a consultation call.
Know How to Talk About What You’re Making
This seems like an obvious answer, but you’ll be surprised how many people don’t know how to properly communicate what they are making. The key is to be incredibly clear and specific. Don’t simply say what you’re making (ex. polo shirt, skirt). Say exactly how you’re planning on making it, any defining factors, materials, or hardware. Instead of saying, “I want to make a leather handbag,” say, “I want to make a leather tote handbag using vegetable tanned leather with a zipper to close it and a long strap so you can wear it on your shoulder.”
The factory consultants that you will speak with want to help you get the best product for the best price, but they can’t help you unless you tell them what you need. A great way to organize this information is by making a project on Maker’s Row. This will allow you to put together all the information your factory will need to know about your product, you can even attach it to your consultation request.
However, if you’re not able to completely communicate what you’re trying to make with words, you can use reference images or samples to give the factory an idea of what you’re looking to make. Even if you can just compare your product to an existing one, it will give the factory a better picture of what you’re making.
- Be specific – go into as much detail as you can
- Organize your information – Make a project on Maker’s Row and be sure to include any materials you have, sketches, tech pack, etc.
- Use reference images when words fail – if you can’t communicate clearly what you want to make reference images and samples can be used.
Prepare What You’re Going to Talk About
You have one hour to get as much information and advice from your factory consultant as you can. So, efficiency is key. Make sure that you have a plan of what questions you want to cover. Use your time wisely. Don’t ask questions that you could easily find online and, as with what you’re making, make sure your questions are specific. Instead of asking “where is the best place to source material?” ask, “where is the best place to source alligator skin for a handbag?”
Also, creating a list of what questions you need answered is a great way to make sure you cover everything you need to know. Sorting this list by priority will ensure the most important points are covered first.
- Make a game plan – know exactly what you want to talk about
- Ask specific questions – go as in-depth as possible when asking questions
- Use your time wisely – make a list of things you have to have answered and list them by priority
Plan to Set Your Budget + Timeline
One of the most important things that you might want to establish during your consultation call is how much a product is going to cost to make and your timeline. We often see brands have unrealistic expectations in terms of cost and time when they reach out to factories. A consultation call is a perfect opportunity to form an educated budget and timeline.
More importantly, your first consultation call is the perfect time to set your budget and timeline. This is because from this point on, your budget and timeline will shape what and how much you can do in terms of production. It will affect what factory you pick, what materials you use, and how much your first run is going to include. Once you have an idea of this, your entire production process can get off the ground.
- Plan to establish budget + timeline on your first consultation call