Production Manufacture

Hi! My teenage daughter is very creative and has recently designed a really cool necklace out of buttons. She has gotten many nice comments and requests when she wears it out in public. She would like to start selling them, but she doesn’t have time to stay home and make them all day long. Can you give us any help as to how we could find someone to make large quantities of these necklaces so she can start a small business? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Dear Vaughn,
You have asked a big question here, and unfortunately I can’t give a simple answer. Here’s what I will say about starting a business:
1. You have to REALLY love your product and everything having to do with it, because you are going to be spending a lot of time with it.
2. Figure out what you and your daughter like best in terms of selling. If you like working a booth, like at a crafts fair or bazaar, or if you want someone else to sell it, or what.
3. Do your best to profile your end user. This will point you to the best marketing venues.
Now for the matter of production assistance. Again, no simple answer. The best thing I can tell you is, talk to everyone that you know and see who likes doing this sort of thing. Keep looking and talking, this may take a while. (Then again, you may find someone right away.) You must look for this personally and yourselves because there is no clearinghouse for small-scale low cost production labor in this country. Plus, you must control the designs and the quality closely. When you get into the thousands of pieces, you can go through manufacturing groups and Chambers of Commerce who serve as middle people for production in other countries.
I strongly suggest that your daughter make up a few pieces that are her best and take them to local boutique owners for feedback. I have found that there can be a big difference between what our friends love and what works in a store. Feedback from boutique owners/buyers will assist her to increase the marketability, quality, and design creativity.
Hope this helps!!

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