From Zero to Brand – How To Come Up With A Product Idea?

Creating a brand from scratch should be easy right?

Think again.

Before you can even think about creating a brand you have to first figure out what you are creating a brand for…

Is it a product?

Is it a service?

Is it an app or something else?

What Should I Sell?

If I had a nickel for everytime I saw this question in an “entrepreneur forum” I’d be rich.

The problem with most people who want to start a business is that they think the idea is supposed to come to them in an epiphany type of moment.

They’re showering deep in thought and that genius app idea pops into their head! Or they’re sipping a cup of coffee and the billion dollar business idea springs into consciousness.

If only we were so lucky. Look, in rare instances it does happen like that, but in most cases the founder works hard to curate ideas and then works on them.

What do I mean by this?

I’m talking about good ol’ fashion brainstorming. Going through hundreds, if not thousands of categories and narrowing down ideas until you find something viable to pursue.

After running my Amazon FBA business for some time now, I’ve decided that I want to start something a little more worthwhile. I briefly spoke about this in my last blog post.

So, I sat down with a pen and paper and started writing. I wrote down anything and everything.

I wrote down materials—cotton, wood, steel, iron, plastic, bamboo, polyester, EVA, rubber, leather, kevlar, and many more…

I wrote down hobbies—photography, fitness, travel, skiing, personal development, video editing…

I wrote down random product categories—shoes, socks, pants, shirts, belts, ties, sunglasses, pens, wallets, computer accessories, bags, fitness gear…

I wrote down personal philosophies and values—Minimalism, responsibility, competence, creativeness, sophistication, lifestyle design, effort, passion…

One page of my notebook during the brainstorming process

I wrote down other stuff too. I researched older successful campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and observed what type of products seemed to be the most successful.

I also thought hard about things in my own life that bother me or annoy me in some way—things that I would want a solution for.

In the end, the goal with this exercise was to essentially manufacture that “epiphany” that people describe having. Rather than wait for it to come to me, I decided to go to it.

And it worked.

After a few weeks of these brainstorming sessions I came to a decision…

Travel Bags

Now you’re probably thinking, “oh man, the world doesn’t need another travel bag…” Or, “all that brainstorming just to decide on a ubiquitous travel product?”

Yes, but let me explain.

One thing I learned in this Amazon business is that you are hardly ever going to create anything that doesn’t already exist. The things that have made me successful on Amazon are not my inventiveness, but rather my ability to outresearch, outmarket, and outbrand my competition.

What specifically attracted me to travel bags?

  • If it wasn’t yet obvious, I love to travel and am often on a plane or train crossing into a new country every few months.
  • I am currently dissatisfied with my current bag and thought I could solve some of my own pain points.
  • I personally enjoy functional travel items that double as a fashion accessory—something that makes a statement about the person wearing it.
  • Ability to create a brand consistent with the lifestyle that many of my friends and myself live and embrace in this day and age.

Besides some of the personal things that I could get behind, I also rationalized the decision based on numbers and data:

  • The global luggage market is expected to grow 7.7% between 2018 and 2023.
  • The current market is valued at an estimated $20 billion. Even if I capture a sliver of that pie I’m doing alright.
  • Travel Accessories and luggage can be produced and sold as premium products in the $150+ price range (something that is a bit harder to do on Amazon alone with private label).
  • Not a single dominant brand—Market is highly fragmented with lots of widely different bag companies dominating specific niches.

How Is This Different From FBA?

What will make this business different from my Amazon FBA business is that instead of private labeling products off of Alibaba, this brand will be built from scratch. That means significantly more time spent on market research, product development, testing, and creating a unique and cohesive brand identity with a very specific target audience.

This process of creating something a little bit more complex and in-depth will take more time. Instead of finding a product on Amazon and securing a factory in 1-2 months, I’m looking at a timeline closer to 6-12 months from ideation to launch.

And this is the part that excites me!

What I enjoy about e-commerce is creating something that people are willing to pay for. This next project will allow me to spend even more time developing and refining the product until it is nearly perfect.

This is a bit different from Amazon FBA, which rewards those who move quickest. If you find a hot niche, you gotta be one of the first there. This leaves little time for innovation or real product development.

What’s Next?

Now that I’ve decided on what I want to make, I have to start the process of actually doing it.

This process will come down to completing many individual steps, which I will try to document as best as possible here.

The next step is to come up with a brand name and I’m almost there. Once I finally decide on the new brand name, I will make a post to share my process with you.

Stay tuned for more updates on zero to brand!

P.S. If you made it this far, I’d be incredibly grateful if you could take this short survey about your travel bag preferences: Short Form Travel Survey

I’m gather this data so that I can make the perfect travel bag based on what people actually want.

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