How do we go from design to manufactured product in China?
September 8, 2012 3:23 PM   Subscribe

Guide us on getting our action figure idea from concept to manufactured product

My friend and I have come up with a cool and original concept for a line of action figures. We have the illustration chops to create artwork and concepts, 3d modeling skills and also the business acumen to actually plan and run it as a proper business.

What we do not have yet is a good understanding of product design with respect to action figures/toys etc., specifically on areas such as:
- types of plastics (and other materials) available
- construction methods for action figures (esp. articulation)
- getting prototypes constructed (we are planning to create the first few using a 3d printer, is this the best way?)
- finding suitable manufacturers in China
- getting proofs constructed by them
- monitoring the whole construction process and QC

Now, we do plan to hire a product design person or consultancy for this but before we get into it, it would be great for us to get a little educated as well so that we can know which end is what. Would be great if we can get some pointers to books, blogs, articles that outline the whole "getting your product made in China, when you are a small 2-person business" process. Even better would be getting first-hand accounts of people here who have gone form product concept to sales, using outsourced manufacturing in China
posted by epiphinite to Work & Money (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You might want to find someone else to be in charge of sourcing... Someone with experience dealing with the sourcing itself as well as transit and customs. This is no small undertaking.
posted by k8t at 4:27 PM on September 8, 2012

Read about Nomiku and look at all of the people involved. This is a recent success story gearing more toward consumer electronics. They nailed the thing you're trying to get accomplished.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:38 PM on September 8, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks k8t, we do plan to do that. Its just that we want to be a little educated about the process so that we can hold our own in a discussion/negotiation as well

oceanjesse - thanks for the links to Nomiku. Sounds exactly like what we want to achieve (in terms of process from idea to product)
posted by epiphinite at 3:28 AM on September 9, 2012

Might be of value to you?

I've been doing business with China for a long time and it's definitely a minefield. You should definitely find some people who are experienced manufacturing your category of product in China, otherwise you will be taking on all kinds of risks.
posted by Dansaman at 3:22 PM on September 9, 2012

Response by poster: Absolutely dansaman. That is the intention. I would just want to be a little educated about the process before getting to China and actually making the rounds of factories and brokers
posted by epiphinite at 7:23 PM on September 9, 2012

I spend a lot of time in Guangzhou buying from manufacturers like Sideshow, Dragon, Soldier Story, In Flames, ZyToys etc.
For custom figures you will need to order at least 5000 pieces.
There are a few ways around this problem though.
If you are still planning to visit China, then send me a PM and will introduce you to a few companies.
posted by wenshidi at 9:58 PM on April 21, 2013

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