Practical Advice for Making and Selling Custom Products

DESIGNERS. If you’re curious about how to convert your designs into custom-manufactured products, check out some of the how-to guides and tutorials featured on the Ponoko Blog. Or subscribe to the company’s newsletter.  

Ponoko operates the Personal Factory for making, buying, and selling custom goods online. According to the company, more than 75,000 user-generated goods have been instantly priced online, made and delivered from Ponoko’s network of digital factories in San Francisco, Berlin, Milan, London, and Wellington, New Zealand.

The Ponoko blog is filled with articles and guides that explain the manufacturing technologies, different types of materials and design software available, and how to make a profit selling the goods that you have designed.

For example, a recent issue of the Ponoko newsletter highlighted a lengthy blog post that described in detail the Ten Simple Steps to Make and Sell Your Custom Product. Here’s a quick rundown of the ten steps covered in the post:

  1. Create a clear design brief for your product.
  2. Get the idea out of your head and sketch it out on paper.
  3. Choose your materials and components. 
  4. Choose how your product will be made.
  5.  Finalize your design for the chosen material and method.
  6.  Make a physical prototype of your design.
  7.  Assess the outcome of your prototype and adjust your design.
  8. Set a wholesale and retail price for your product.
  9.  Make your product available for purchase.
  10.  Promote your product to your target market.

Here’s an example of the type of practical business advice Ponoko provides: “When selling your product online, make sure you take high-quality photos and write useful and imaginative descriptions of your product. Describe what it is made of, what the dimensions are and what it feels like. Don’t be afraid to share a bit about yourself too, so that customers can identify with you as a real person.”

“We really cannot emphasize enough the importance of crisp, well lit, high quality photos. It’s these images which will catch the eye of your potential online customers, who will assume that the quality of your photos reflect the quality of your product.”

The blog on the Ponoko website features case studies showing the wide range of products that designers have created and how they have benefitted.

Ponoko Boxes by Yyvonne Hung
San Francisco urban planner Yvonne Hung founded The Harbinger Co after joining Ponoko. Yvonne realized that her interest in traditional arts such as drawing and painting extended to creating objects. Laser cutting enabled her to branch out into intricately decorated wooden boxes and jewelry. Photos courtesy of Ponoko.


Ten Simple Steps to Make and Sell Your Custom Product

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