Finding a Way to Get Prototypes Made


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”.

IMG_4165In 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.




This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Hi I have been following your blog. I have an idea that I want to protoype but it’s a computer based idea for a new app and I think will cost a lot to make. I don’t know who could make it and I can’t spend thousands. So I haven’t done anything… Do you have any thoughts

  2. Yes…When a prototype requires expensive materials, special machinery or software programming etc things can get tricky. I would say try contacting universities & ask if you can be connected to students in that field of study. They may be able to build the app for you at little or no cost, and it will benefit them because they can add it to their portfolio or tie it in with a project or assignment. You might also check Craigslist for experienced Web Developers that are looking for freelance work. Hope that helps!

  3. Natalie I’m right where you were when you were in search for someone that could sew. I was wondering if you could help me on where I could start regarding me getting a prototype. I have a great idea but I need help and not just that but a mentor. Maybe you can help me. Thank you


  4. Hi Marco, is your item a textile product as well? Do you have any type of a prototype? – Natalie

    1. I don’t have any type of prototype just a bunch of ideas to that I need to make reality

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