Posts Tagged ‘manufacturing’

Your FAQ’s

Here are the answers to the most common questions people ask us. If you have a burning question I didn’t answer about Gigglicious, feel free to ask it here or on our Facebook page. (@anniegigglicious)

How do you keep people from stealing your ideas?

A Mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). It it an agreement stating that both parties agree to keep ideas confidential.

Here’s our binder full of NDA’s. Our first NDA was signed on February 25, 2011 and the last one was signed NDA yesterday. 

Is an NDA fail-proof? 

No, but it is a measure of protection that most people honor. It’s an easy equation: Inventor-friendly companies want inventors to show them ideas. If they steal an idea, no one will present to them anymore. In our experience, the inventor community will gladly share a story with each other about a company that is difficult to work with or dishonest. Ultimately, we take the risk to reap the rewards of working with good people and getting our products on store shelves for people to enjoy.

Have you had an idea stolen? 

Yes. We saw one of our products on a vendor’s wall at New York Toy Fair. We’d presented the idea to them the year before. That was a stomach sinking moment. Needless to say, we don’t show to that company anymore and won’t recommend them to other inventors.

Did you sue the people that stole your idea?

No. The amount of money it would cost to take it to litigation would probably not have equaled the amount of royalties we might have gotten from the item.

Do you manufacture the ideas you come up with?

No, we sell the idea/concept and someone else manufactures it and sells it. We get a percentage of what they sell. Generally, royalty reports come quarterly. (Yes, we only get paid four times a year.)

Don’t you ever want to make your own ideas?

Yes, we think about it. In fact, we tried once. It was time consuming and didn’t make us any money. There is liability, risk, and much more time and effort to sell your own stuff. We would need a staff of people to help run the company in sales, distribution, warehousing, customer service, etc. Right now, we are streamlined and efficient with just two people to run Gigglicious and plenty of freelancers. Maybe someday we may try again, but not now.

Do you have an office?

Yes, Gigglicious World Headquarters is in a 199 sq.ft. building we built together in our backyard a couple of years ago. The studio space is complete with office space, a workshop for building prototypes, and storage.

How many ideas do you come up with in a year?

We’ve never kept track, but my guess is several hundred in all types of categories.

How do you come up with your ideas?

This is a good time for you to check out the archive (over to your upper left) for April, May, and June 2014. I wrote a particularly riveting seven part series about toy invention and the first three blogs cover ideating that you may want to binge-read.

How do you work together full-time and stay married?

It’s pretty easy now that we’ve been working together for so long. Sure, some days are harder than others, but we are a team. We go out to lunch a lot for meetings. Ryan’s a pretty patient co-worker. I once fell asleep in his office during one of our meetings because the chair I was sitting in was in a cozy patch of sunshine. He let me nap. (*This is an upside to owning your own company. I wouldn’t advise doing this with most bosses) We know we are better together both professionally and personally and that we are lucky to get to do what we do!

Part 4: Prototyping or “Making use of the Industrial Design degree”

Coincidentally, we are at this actual stage of the process because of an upcoming client appointment looming next month.  Yesterday we had an afternoon long meeting to go over our rough list of maybe ideas; most made the cut and a handful did not.   We have a lot of prototypes to make….

parts and pieces

The next step in the process is truely Ryan’s forte.  As “Chief Tinkerer” at Gigglicious, he takes our ideas and bring them into real life with a prototype.  Typically, he spends a couple of days designing and drawing out HOW the product can work.  Sometimes it involves multiple iterations.  Ryan draws by hand; he’s old-school.  He has worked on CAD,  like SolidWorks and ProE, but has always preferred to hand draw his designs. ((WARNING: seriously shameful bragging is about to occur)) He has drawings that are, in my opinion, works of art.  I can’t even imagine how his brain can work out gears, motors, wall thickness, and tolerances while also designing for manufacturability.  It is a beautiful thing to see his drawings.  He is the true talent in Gigglicious prototyping.  Thank you Southern Illinois University Industrial Design Program for helping groom this incredible artist/designer!  ((Ok, it’s over now.))  If you have a product you’d like prototyped, there are many freelancers that can do this for you.  This tends to be a bit pricy because of the labor and skill involved in literally making something from nothing…

For us, one highly important step for prototype building is the trip to Goodwill.  Oh yeah, the local thrift store, a trove of treasures and mother lode of goodies and gadgets!  Do you know how many parts and pieces, motors and housings, mechanisms and sound chips can be found on old toys?  A $2 bag of junk toys frequently gives us the key to frankensteining (yeah, that’s a real word in the Gigglicious lexicon) a great prototype.  Who knew, right?

Then it’s hand building prototypes.  I handle prototypes that need sewn, Ryan does the rest.  It’s multiple trips from desk to workshop.  It involves no short supply of plastic, tubes, motors, electronics, screws, springs, diodes, and of course, bottles and bottles of super glues, epoxy and band-aids.

Because it comes up in conversation so frequently, let’s talk about 3-D printing.  Seems everyone knows about these and we often get asked if we have one.  No, we do not, but would definitely like one for prototyping.  Of course, with owning a 3-D printer, you have to have the computer programming ability to design what it prints.  We may get to that, but not right now.  Most larger invention firms have had them for years and it’s a convenient way to tailor presentations and prototypes to their customers.

Let’s be clear about prototypes, we don’t often get it right, especially on the first, second or third try.  Maybe never.  Prototypes take a while to get working.  Sometimes the mechanics are off, sometimes physics works against us, and sometimes it’s just a stupid product once we see it working.  Do you remember the scene in Toy Story where Sid has all the cobbled toys under his bed?

We have boxes and boxes in our storage that look like that. (DISCLAIMER: we only blow them up if it’s in the function of the prototype or if Ryan is feeling like using up old bottle rockets.)

Next up: we TEST.  Does it do what we set out for it to do?  Is it interesting?  Is it cool enough to present?  Sometimes, the answer is no.  But if we like it, it’s time to shape it up into presentation form.

Prototyping is one of the more rewarding moments in the process.  Watching a brand new thing emerge from just an idea, seeing it on paper, then holding it in your hands and realizing how cool it is…well, that is just awesome.

The creative person is both more primitive and more cultivated, more destructive, a lot madder and a lot saner, than the average person. ~Frank Barron, Think, November-December 1962