Back to Manufacturing!
With the online store up and running, I turned my attention back to manufacturing.
There were two variables that I needed to consider: 1) The initial cost of the molds in the short term and 2) per unit costs in the long term.
We had two basic manufacturing “paths” we could go down. The first path was to take advantage of the 3D printing technology that we were using for our prototypes. While this technology was incredibly important and useful for prototyping it had a very high per unit cost. Each prototype was averaging $140, and no one is going to buy a SeaClutch picture frame holder at that price point!
Another disadvantage of 3D printing was the availability of materials. The polymer used to 3D print was not pleasing to either look at or hold.
The primary advantage of 3D printing was that there was no initial cost of preparing molds! Which was a huge advantage as Mike told me molds could cost upwards of $10,000.
The other option was injected plastic. Using this option, we would work with a manufacturer to perfect the design of the product and then purchase the mold. Once that initial capitol expenditure was made, the per unit costs were dramatically less than 3D printing.
With this in mind, I reached out to both 3D printing and injected plastics manufacturers.
I later discovered a third option, metal works, but I will cover that later.