Over the last few years, I’ve been sent a lot of office supplies to test out – including plenty of furniture. Some of it is fantastic, but others can leave me a little cold. It gets me thinking – could I design some furniture, get it built and then sell it as a business? I’m nowhere near that stage yet, but perhaps some of you out there have some great ideas. If so, read on to find out everything I know about creating an office furniture product and selling it on the market.
Before getting started on any design aspects, you will need to do a lot of research. Start by jotting down a few of your ideas on paper and then checking online to see if there is anything similar. It’s important that you make your furniture different to anything else on the market – in essence, you have to bring something new to the table. People have to need your furniture, too. If there’s no market for a product, you won’t sell a single unit – it’s that simple. You also need to research the type of materials you need to create your chair – and the associated costs. Finally, have a look around and find a manufacturing company that can turn your ideas into reality and make contact with them. Look for a firm that specializes in plastic injection moulding or has experience of creating office furniture. It’s good to talk, even at this stage, so that you can get a rough idea of some numbers.
The design stage
If you have design skills and know your way around CAD software, then you can get started right away. Don’t panic if the DIY route doesn’t suit you, though. Product designers are everywhere these days, and all you need is an excellent brief so they understand what you want. It’s time to start thinking about the design of your furniture, and how it is going to stand out from the crowd. You will need a unique selling point whether it’s for posture, comfort, or even portability.
Create a business plan
Once you have a basic design in place, you need to think about drawing up a business plan. It’s going to be key to your efforts, as it will be the first time you consider all the figures and costs. At this point, it’s important to consider the type of product you are offering. Is it high quality? If so, perhaps you will only expect a few sales every month. Using cheaper materials? If so, you should be considering selling a lot of furniture at low prices. Be realistic about your figures, as if you get them wrong, this whole operation is going to be an expensive mistake.
Finally, it’s time to start the marketing process. In most cases, you will be better off focusing on marketing to people who can distribute your product, rather than individuals. You need to look at office supplies retailers, for example. This will give you a much better chance of getting the exposure you need to make plenty of sales.
Good luck – and let me know how you get on!