- BOM and Suppliers: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1AU0EJTxprGNujfqmUCn6Tm59NYAtDdlqL7acJ9QhqD8/edit?usp=sharing
- Suppliers: We bumped into hardships finding manufacturers who would adjust the cane/crutch according to our needs. We feel that If we had more time we could have kept looking for partners, but by the end of the semester we needed to focus on the product so we resorted to using finished products from Taobao and putting them together ourselves.
- Mission statement: To bring color to the lives of people with mobility issues by improving the aesthetic of medical crutches.
- Product description: CandyCrutch© is a line of crutches designed to be more interesting and fun to look at. Sporting bright colors in minimalist patterns, these crutches empower users to feel confident and proud while using them. There is even a glow-in-the-dark version of CandyCrutch©! The crutches are medically-tested aluminum crutches that can hold up to 100kg each, coated in acrylic paint and vinyl stickers. Regardless of their reason for using crutches, everyone will feel better using CandyCrutch©.
- Paragraph on journey: Over the course of this project, we went from ideation and market research to design and prototyping. Our initial idea was to innovate on cane design to help the elderly, but eventually looked at children’s crutches instead. All of the crutches we saw were very bland and boring to look at, and we thought it would be simple to add some colors and design to these crutches. After researching materials and designs to customize the crutches with, we were not able to find a manufacturer willing to work with us. In the end we decided to get the component parts and assemble the crutches in-house. The results may not have the professional finish we were hoping for, but they are just a few steps away from fully realized products and we learnt a lot throughout the journey.
What we take away from these 4 months is a thorough understanding about the manufacturing process, especially in China. We learned how to identify and research market opportunities, come up with products to fit those opportunities, and how to bring those products from idea to reality. Part of this process involves balancing ideation and production, and it’s usually best to do both at the same time. It is important to revise the product you’re working on, but you also need to time deal with factories and other aspects of the supply chain. Another critical facet of this process is talking to real people who could be using your product. If we had moved from ideation to production sooner we might have been able to adjust to the obstacles that came up, and would have had a more finished product in the end. In the end, we realized we are probably too charity-minded to be good business people. 😛
- Next step:
- Our next step would be to look for a manufacturer who would not just produce the crutches for us, but also paint professionally.
- Additionally to the paint, we would try and modify the height adjustment system of the crutches as well.
- Once we found a manufacturer for the crutches, we could consider applying the same concept on canes, so we could extend our market.
Our Process in pictures:
I think it’s safe to say that I knew basically nothing about business before, now I have a general understanding of it at least. I realized how overpriced everything is, especially bags and clothing; even though I’m not a shopaholic, after this class, I will not become one probably. What really helped me was the beer game, experiencing “doing business” through playing definitely helped me understand the process and the dangers. Furthermore, I realized that the market need is not random or connected to seasons, and that major events such as a world cup or Eurovision can majorly effect business. The other part from which I learnt the most was the individual talks – mostly with Rudi – about the market, how to contact manufacturers, and what aspects to consider while putting together a more complicated piece. I am still not an expert on engineering but at least I bought a voltage converter, that’s an achievement. 🙂
Working with Tristan was surprisingly smooth, we were always on the same page (maybe I couldn’t express myself correctly and that led to some major confusions).Actually, maybe we were too much on the same page, none of us could get into the right mindset to see this project from the point-of-view of a business person. I think I picked up some practical skills/way of thinking from him, he definitely found the simplest solutions for everything. What he possibly gained from working with me is to care about aesthetics and the creative side a bit more, at the end the product we wanted to create was meant to be used around people, not in a dark basement where only the cockroaches see it. But at least we had fun while working on the cane/crutch together.
- I think that this class was a great sort of hands-on experience or introduction to doing business in China, but I feel we spent a bit too much time on the ideation and didn’t have enough time on the production.
- Maybe a bit less freedom would have taken us further. We were definitely overthinking everything and you let us do it, because it is part of the creative process. But I think this class is about learning about the Chinese market and the different stages of starting a business, from ideation to production. Probably would have been better if we are limited in terms of what we can do or cannot change our idea.
- I think it would be very effective to have a general prototyping session, when you put simple things on the table like carton, double sided tape, velcro, etc and we can’t use anything else. Also maybe a directed case study would help(such as what Marianne is using for Assistive Technology, with a short description of the situation that needs to be solved and with some information on the target user), to help to imagine ourselves more in someone else’s shoes and learn that cardboard and velcro can go a long way.
- But you were super-duper helpful and I am very grateful for every bit of extra help we received! 🙂