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How can I get some kitchen tools made?
February 4, 2012 11:22 AM   Subscribe

I'd like to make some kitchen tools, but I have no idea how to get started.

I often have concrete ideas for kitchen tools that don't exist. I have zero industrial design or manufacturing experience. How does one even get started with this?

I don't know if this is something I'd want to turn into a business or just make some for my own use. That said, I think they're pretty good ideas, and I don't see any reason to let someone else make money off of them by making them.
posted by Caviar to Home & Garden (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm assuming that by tools, you mean something in the vein of spatulas -- not electronics or many moving parts.

If you want to make this a profitable business, ask yourself:

What about my product can't simply be ripped off, cheapened up and sold in a dollar store?

If you don't have a clear answer to that question, kitchen stuff is going to be a bitch of a market to break into. There are upscale housewares stores that do sell quality products at inflated prices, though, so there is a market there, but you can still expect to have your product knocked off within weeks if people like it.

If you just want to finish the design and have some of your whatevers for yourself, you might want to look into 3D printing businesses which create actual objects out of digital renderings.

You can sell through some of these businesses, like Shapeways, that'll basically manufacture and ship on demand, much like Cafe Press or Zazzle do for 2D art, so there is some potential to do small scale manufacturing and sales.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:14 PM on February 4, 2012


Not machines (at the moment), but they don't seem to be suited to 3D printing, as some have moving parts and others would need to be made out of stainless steel. I'm thinking more like custom pan styles than spatulas. The knockoff angle is one I'm well aware of.
posted by Caviar at 1:18 PM on February 4, 2012


I have zero industrial design or manufacturing experience.

If you have very clear ideas about how your gadgets should be made and how useful they are in a real kitchen environment, you might actually get away with lacking design experience.

So: get to know someone with manufacturing experience whom you can trust.

A friend of mine has - for decades now - developed all sorts of wacky products that help concert violinists have an easier professional life (like string pre-stretchers, better, softer chin supports, a shirtfront without a back that's easily swapped, whatever); he lets some people in Poland make all the stuff that he invented, which he then sells off his website. That type of arrangement...

However, be wary. In the kitchen less is often more. Some people just use one knife, one cast iron pan, and one spatula - a really sharp knife though.

posted by Namlit at 2:18 PM on February 4, 2012


That first line should have been in "quotation marks"
posted by Namlit at 2:18 PM on February 4, 2012


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