It took a long time to get a “real” prototype made for Covermade. I scoured the internet for local and national companies that I thought could make my prototypes, and started cold calling them.
Finding the right partners/companies is really a numbers game. The more people you call, the better your chances are of finding the right “fit”.
In my search to get samples made, I remember one call I made to a local quilting shop. An woman who gave sewing lessons answered the phone.
We chatted a bit. Then, I asked…
“Do you do prototyping?”
She sounded puzzled. “Do we do…whhhat?”
She said, “Well, dear, I don’t even know what that means so I suppose we don’t.”
Haha. That’s cute. Okay. Moving on…
I made at an appointment with a company that did protoyping with plastics to see of they could help somehow or refer me somewhere. In the meeting, I opened the big bag I had lugged in there with me and pulled out my comforter. My comforter had elastic bandages pinned to it and pen marks on it where I had experimented with measurements. It looked pretty bad. I’ll never forget the guy saying, “Well…that’s a very crude prototype you’ve got there…”
After meeting with another company, they sent me a Power Point proposal explaining how they would work with vendors in China to source my prototypes – with a cost totaling $8,000. Eight-thousand? I laughed out loud as I read it, thinking, “Geez people! I just need someone who can sew.”
The seamstress I eventually hired was awesome and made perfect samples. And, do you know how much she charged me? $100. I eventually sent out samples she made to manufacturers with letters requesting a meeting. And after pitching those samples, I ended up with a licensing deal and a manufacturing partner. Moral of the story? Don’t just write a check to the first company that can help you. Be patient and keep knocking on doors until you find a way to get your prototypes made without spending a fortune.