Today I want to go back to the beginning and talk about how to come up with product ideas that will sell. This is one of the first episodes I recorded, and most listened to, and I thought now was a good time to rerecord and update it.
Here are my top 3 suggestions for how to come up with product ideas that will sell.
Listen in to hear me share:
- An introduction to the topic (00:21)
- A problem that your product can solve (02:32)
- Improving on a product (06:50)
- Is there something you need that isn’t available (10:35)
Accompanying Blog Post
The Original Episode
Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast, practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here's your host, Vicky Weinberg. Hi. So today I want to take us almost right back to the beginning and talk about ways to come up with product ideas that we'll sell. So what really inspired me, um, to record this episode is that years ago now, one of my very first episodes was about ways to come up with product ideas, and that has definitely been one of the highest listen to episodes that I've done. However, I'm really aware that it's tough for small businesses right now. And in that episode that I did a few years ago, I had quite a few ideas. But now I wanted to do an updated version, if you like, that just talks about the methods that should help you come up with product ideas that will sell, and we'll talk about validating your product ideas in another episode. Um, but some of the ideas that I suggested a few years ago, I feel are less relevant now, which is why I really wanted to rerecord this.undefined:
So if you want to create a product to sell. The first step, as you'll know, is having an idea, and some of us have an idea. Maybe we've been sitting on it for years and not doing much about it, or it's not been the right time. And some of us, and I was definitely in this situation, want to sell products but need to find a product idea. Now there are services where you can find ideas of things that are popular to sell and buy. Obviously, we're right now. Ideas of things to sell on Amazon, for example. And that's something that I did talk about in that previous episode I mentioned. Now there is nothing wrong with that, and I'm not saying there is at all. Although one issue that I think there is with selecting your product that way is it could mean that you are selling a product that you don't actually care much about just to make money. And again, nothing wrong with. But the ideas I'm gonna share today will hopefully help you find a product that you are excited about and passionate about because the product creation process can be hard. And I think having a product that actually means something to you can really help. Particularly when things get tricky, when you get tired, when you get worn down, when you are not finding a supplier, um, whatever the thing is. If this is a product that you're like, Yeah, I really need to get this in the world, that will really help see you through and I also hope that by following these suggestions, the product ideas that you come up with will appeal to other people too. Um, and they're probably most likely gonna be people similar to yourself.Vicki Weinberg:
So let's start with the first suggestion I have for you is to think about is there a problem that you have or maybe someone else has, that a product could solve?undefined:
So if you frequently experience some kind of annoyance, even if it's like something that's mildly irritating as opposed to a massive inconvenience, it's very likely that you are not the only one experiencing this. And if this is the case, maybe you can think of something now. Maybe you wanna pause and think of something. Um, maybe something's happened to you just this morning and you're like, Oh, that's really annoying. Um, why not take a look to see if there's a product out there that might solve the problem you're having? Um, if there is, and it's possible, you know, it's within your, your budget, maybe you can buy a solution. Um, I know there's definitely been times in the past where I've had issue. And I've been able to buy a product that has solved the problem I was having. So one example I think I've talked about before is it turns out my daughter would only sleep in a really, really dark room. So I bought blackout blinds.Vicki Weinberg:
Um, and I tried it and saw how I get on. And if so, the product you buy is a solution and that's great. No more problem. Um, so I still think this is a win-win by the way. But if either there isn't a product out there that would problem you're having or there is a product, but it's just not effective, can you come up with a different solution? I'm also gonna talk a little bit later about improving a product that already exists. So hold on for that. Um, but yeah, that it might be that you are the person to create what it is that you need. Um, and I would suggest that if that is the case, have a think about what the ideal product might be. Or maybe you don't know what it might be, but have a think about ways that your problem could be solved. Now you're just brainstorming at this point, so don't be afraid to make all kinds of notes, Write loads of stuff down. Even if you think it's nonsense, just get it all out of your head because if you decide this is an idea you want to progress with, you will refine that idea and it will start to make a lot more sense. I also think it might be good to find out if other people have the same challenge as you. Reason being that if this was a problem that's really unique to you and you are the only person who has it, and you are the only person who wants a solution, it's likely that any product you make to solve this problem will be just applicable to you. However, if there's plenty of other people that have the same challenge, and of course you have an audience there to sell to, and if you do find other people that have the same problem, then maybe asking, you know, how do you think this could be solved? And see what their ideas. Because assuming that you do want to create this product to sell, or even maybe just look into how viable that might be, maybe at the moment you're thinking, I don't know if I wanna create a product to sell. But you know, if the right idea strikes you, then you would then I think getting input from potential customers is really, really valuable. And one of the great things I think about creating a product that solves a problem is that assuming other people experience the same thing, which you'll, you're gonna find out you have a really clear benefit for your product, a really clear reason why someone might choose to buy it. And that will really help when you're position in marketing it. Um, especially if you've looked for something yourself, and either there's nothing out there already or there's nothing that's effective because your product immediately will stand. This has been the starting point for lots of my podcast guests as well, and I'm gonna talk to you about a few recent examples. So Marieke Syed from Snackzilla wanted to find healthy yet filling snacks for her children once they outgrew the baby and toddler products on the market, and she couldn't find any, so she formulated her own. Laura Gillett from Stomperz Shoes, couldn't find shoes to fit her son's feet because they were quite wide. And so she created her own range. And Joe Short from Trip Clip, this was a bit of an old episode, was really sick of getting the stiff neck, trying to use his phone or his tablet on public transport, and he came up with a device to solve that. And coming up, we're gonna speak to Claire Grant from Ori Orso and Claire's created Jogger Socks to solve the problem of her baby not keeping her socks on. And if any of you or parents will know that, that can be quite tricky. So those are just some real life examples of a few people that I've spoken to, you know, in the last year who've created a product because what they wanted just didn't exist. So hopefully that will help to inspire you. So my second suggestion, do you own something or use something already that you know could be better and could be improved upon?undefined:
So you've probably had the experience of buying something, using something and just knowing that it could be better than it is, and maybe it doesn't even need to be better. Maybe just different. I don't know. Maybe you've got something and you think, Oh, why is this in black? It'd be so much. Attractive if it was in a nice color or had a pattern on it. Um, you, you know what I'm saying? I mean, I had the example coming back to my black out blind thing. Um, I, the black out blind that I used had like suction pads and it was really annoying because sometimes they would get like dusty or, I dunno if it was dust, but something was happening and they wouldn't stick and they'd pop off. And then I found a new version that had Velcro to attach them and that worked so much better. And it was literally the same thing, the same piece. Cloth. Um, one company had suckers and one company had Velcro, and one for me worked slightly better than the other. So perhaps there's a really obvious problem or just a small thing that would make a product better.Vicki Weinberg:
And as I say, it doesn't even make needs to make it work better. Maybe it's something just aesthetic and you could be the person to do that. Um, and I'm gonna again to give you some real life examples of my podcast guests. And speaking of aesthetics, so Liz Wallington from Gus and Beau wanted a Playmat for her baby, but she could only find them in really bright primary colors. You've probably seen them, they're like jigsaws and they're red and yellow and really bright. So she created her own range of muted play mats in like really soft grays and pinks and blues because that's something that she wanted, um, but couldn't find. And functionally, the mats are really similar. They look a lot more attractive.undefined:
So Ciara Westhead from Pico was looking for sustainable party wear, so paper, plates and cups. And most of what she was finding was brown and boring, um, which wasn't what she wanted. So she created a really bright, vibrant range of sustainable party items. So those are two examples of. Products that were fine, they were functional, they worked. However, the guests that I've just mentioned wanted those items to look slightly differently. And so that was their usp, if you like. And then finally I spoke to Louise Almond from Amelia Ann, and Louise had her first child and found that nursing clothes were mainly dual maternity. So she wore them while pregnant, and then for nursing her baby and had lots of material covering up her baby's face. Be and decided actually she wanted to create her own range of nursing clothes. So even if you have a product that you love, so something you use often and you really like, you might well think of a small thing that could make it perfect and take note of these ideas when they come up because that could actually be your product. I should also say here that this isn't copying. I never ever suggest you copy anyone or anything, but it's just about using existing products, inspiration to create something new based on your own experience as a customer and a consumer. You can also find about lots of information about what other people would change about an existing products by looking at the review. But the idea with this is that it's based on your own experience. It's something you feel passionate about pursuing. However, let's say with the example of, um, the baby play mats, let's say you were looking at some mats and you had an idea, um, that you wanted to create something that looked different. You could look at reviews for current products just to see if other people were saying similar things to you, because that might give you some insight as to whether it's something that other people would be interested in. So I guess what I'm saying is don't necessarily use reviews as a starting point, but use them to help validate your own ideas. And as I say, I will have another episode coming up specifically about validating your ideas. I know I've done. Um, quite a while ago. Now I have a really old episode, but I will be doing an updated version, so keep an eye up for that. And then finally, my final suggestion is, is there something that you need that isn't available? So do you ever think, I wish I had a. Something. Now, some of what we wish for might not be feasible for many reasons. My daughter wants a unicorn, for example. That's probably not gonna happen, but some ideas definitely will be. So this is slightly different from creating something that solves a problem that you're having in that it might be something that solves a problem you had a long time ago. So it's not relevant to you anymore, but perhaps when you had a young child there was something you experienced. Um, it's always been niggling at you. You know, you still wish you. Done something about it, or it might be that you are looking for something now and finding that it just doesn't exist. And I've worked with so many people who've created something simply because nobody else has, and I should say here, don't feel it needs to be a big idea either. Maybe it's just earrings in a specific shape. Maybe. I dunno. There's something coming up and you think, this isn't a good example, but maybe it's Halloween and you're searching for pumpkin earrings and there aren't any, That's not gonna happen. You've had a lot of pumpkin earrings, but you know what I mean? Or maybe you are looking for. A water bottle, but it has to have particular dimensions because it needs to fit, um, in a certain rack on your bike or whatever, or whatever it is, or it needs to fit in a holder on your buggy. If you're something you've looked for and it's not out there already, then you might just be onto something. So to give you some examples from recent podcast episodes, so Silke Thistlewood from Raise Up Mums created Resilience Cards, which is a product she'd wish she had when her children were tiny. And she's since written a book as well, covering all the things, expecting parents just aren't told. Nancy Powell from Herd Bags wanted to find reusable bags that were both sustainable, practical, and stylish. Um, she couldn't find them, so she designed her own and Cara Sayer Snooze Shade was looking for a blackout blind for her baby's buggy and noticed that everyone else was using blankets and muslins to keep the sun out, um, because a specific shade didn't exist. And of course, that's also an example of solving a problem as well the problem of keeping your child covered up in the buggy. And another episode coming up towards the end of this year is with Simon from Haskapa who created a product which is freezed dried, haskap berries, simply because he knew how good these berries are for us, and nobody else at the time certainly was selling them in freeze dried format. So of course as with all these ideas, you do need to verify that there are people out there who will buy it. And as I say, I will be doing another episode on validating your product ideas. However, there is an older episode out now that you can listen to if you just can't wait for that. Um, and hopefully this little mini episode is enough to get you inspired. Um, you might also want to go and listen to some of the episodes that I've mentioned as well to see if that helps you spark anymore ideas. Um, and I guess your next steps are to keep your eyes, your ears, your mind, absolutely everything, open to the possibilities. Um, because if creating a product to sell is something that you want to do. I do believe that it is available to you, and yet you'll just need to keep an eye out for ideas, and I really hope that inspiration strikes soon. Thank you so much for listening. Right to the end of this episode, do remember that you can get the fullback catalog and lots of free resources on my website, vicky weinberg.com. Please do remember to rate and review view this episode if you've enjoyed it, and also share it with a friend who you think might find it useful. Thank you again and see you next.