Custom Design Your Own Amazon Products Part 2


Chris joins us as a product developer and inventor with product marketing experience and speaks to us about how to design your own Amazon products

The product is the Hibermate Sleep mask

Humble Beginnings

  • Chris created this sleep mask when he was working on night shifts and was struggling with sleep.
  • His Brother and Father were running a factory that made car parts and die-cutting so he asked for some foam and he fashioned it into a bandana that helped his sleep. This was pre-Amazon existing and he thought to himself design your own Amazon products
  • He went on a trip with his wife travelling for six months in South East Asia and roosters were getting up at 04:30am and he wished he’d brought his product with him.
  • So when he got home after 6 months away he got to commercialise his product.

Launched his website

  • Launched a website and got on ecommerce but nothing really happened.
  • His website ranked for sleep mask and eye mask pretty well.
  • Sales started coming in making $159k in sales and circa $50k profit.

Poor Reviews

  • Reviews on the product were not that great in 2009 and 2010
  • Some people were unboxing his product and giving bad unboxing reviews on YouTube

Redeveloped the Product

  • Redeveloped it in 2010 wit ha product design company in Melbourne
  • Lots of CAD and Prototyping
  • A couple of reasonably soft silicon earmuffs and got a seamstress to put it together
  • He went to Kickstarter to check on market and demand

Prototyping

  • Pre-2000 he was taking a sheet of foam from his Father’s factory and used it to prototype
  • Walked down door-to-door to find a seamstress to make the sleep mask
  • She helped him manufacture his first 600 units to get going
  • Didn’t know if the idea was going to work
  • He felt really proud when it was all packaged and ready to go

Today

  • The design company did the design of the ear cups and silicon masks
  • The CAD file has continued to be iterated on as the cups are the key to the product
  • They are not 100% sound blocking and Chris is clear in his sales copy
  • They block enough noise and are quite effective but there are always some poor reviews and a 3.5 star rating on Amazon
  • You must educate the audience to get it sold through

From 2001 and with Search Terms

  • Earmuffs for sleeping
  • Chris’ SEO background and Google Suggest helped out when you design your own Amazon products
  • Chris typed earmuffs into Google and you see ear muffs for kids, for shooting and for sleeping
  • He saw back in 2009 that there was demand as Google Suggest showed it
  • So that was why he went for ear muffs and not ear pads
  • He dominates the space and has done since 2001
  • People are quite desperate for this product if you can’t sleep

Development phase

  • How did you prototype before mass production when you design your own amazon products?
  • The agency did a lot of that protyping
  • About 4 rounds and cost USD$15k
  • Chris has done similar since with Chinese partners and it’s a lot cheaper
  • Had no relationship with China at all back when he started

Kickstarter

  • After the Kickstarter campaign in 2013 they delivered to the backers within about 4 months
  • Everything was ready to go and raised about US$110k
  • Everything was manufactured overseas and being imported by sea freight
  • They rushed the packaging to get 2000 orders out all over the world
  • Feedback on Kickstarter was poor saying the product was half-baked
  • Eternally grateful to those Kickstarter backers for supporting him and let him continue on

Moved to Hong Kong

  • Was aware of being Amazon in existence
  • The first iteration of the Amazing Selling Machine training course for Amazon
  • Knew the reviews would tank based on his Kickstarter feedback
  • Went to a trade show in 2014 in Hong Kong and met George who was a Westerner with similar silicon products
  • He looked at the ear cups and they worked together for a year to fix them up and improve performance
  • And in 2015 he was able to launch on Amazon

Educating the Customer when you design your own Amazon products

  • The product blocks some of the noise and not ALL noise difficult to educate the  customers
  • Danny uses eye-mask and ear plugs to optimise his sleep
  • Challenge is to get across to the customers that it’s not a 100% sound blocker and so ALMOST solves the problem but not 100%
  • Have included earplugs in the set in the past and had feedback from customers that they didn’t need the earplugs so he’s not doing that anymore
  • Work with the supplier and designers to try and improve the product for users
  • You are a lot more engaged with the product as you designed it and developed it
  • As a seller you get heavily involved and tied into the product

Factory – manufacturing

  • How did you go from prototype to mass manufacture
  • Pre-Kickstarter it was all managed by Australian companies on top of Chinese manufacture
  • This was very expensive in hindsight
  • Having spent time in China Chris has built good relationships now
  • His suppliers now handle everything and the  quality control too

Next Steps

  • Sleep Headphones being re-engineered at the moment
  • New headphones on now and they are being released in the next few months
  • Using wires currently but looking at bluetooth and these are designed for sleeping
  • Shared the product with his suppliers so far
  • Sinking money into R&D and production is key so when funds are available
  • Looking at exit towards end of 2019 with more products

Contact Chris

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