Package developement

Gearfix box design.
Early box design.

Sometimes the container of your innovation seems more important than the actual product. This really sucks when you don’t have any money.

The Gearfix shape
Needs explanation.

A strange product
Gearfix looks a little peculiar and its shape doesn’t really help you understand it’s a drill bit holder. A functional presentation was important. I thought the consumer should be able to feel the product to understand it was elastic and could wrap around his/her machine nicely.

In a perfect world…
… you wouldn’t need to spend cash advertising stuff. Every one would intuitively understand their needs. But reality bites and I had no money. The package had to catch the customers attention, advertise and educate them instantly.

Candy box filled with rubber.
This candy box would have been perfect. But the candyman wouldn’t sell any to me.

Thinking inside the box
My Gearfix invention would have a small paper tag with the necessary information. And if I put a bunch of them in a nice box there would be plenty of eye catching box space to profile my gadget.

Sugar daddy got what you need
For the first order I only needed about 60 retail packaging boxes. I looked around for quick and cheap solutions. Custom designing them would probably be super expensive and I found a special chocolate-candy box that was perfect. But the manufacturer wasn’t interested in helping me out. Sugar daddy was cruel and I had to think of another way to solve this.

Keeping it simple

Gearfix prototype with label.
A puritan solution.

When I got rid of the flashlight I no longer needed a sealed container and my packaging alternatives widened.

Cutting the cost
The cheapest package I could imagine apart from printing the bar code directly on the product was fastening a simple price tag to it. This also gives the customer an opportunity to examine and feel the product before purchasing it.

Photo of a fästband.
In Sweden they call it fästsnöre.

What do you call this crap?
You see them in stores everywhere, billions used every day. But I couldn’t find a single one on the internet simply by not knowing what they were called. Eventually I went to a clothing store where all their price tags were fastened with these nameless strings. The shop clerks didn’t know what they were called either. But I got the phone number of their supplier and everything was eventually sorted out.

The first packaging draft

Sketch of packaging alternatives.
My first sketch of packaging alternatives.

From the start I was trying to figure out how to make the retail packaging for my Gearfix drill bit holder. People still nag me to include drill bits in the package. And I still think its a bad idea.

The first sketch
At the very beginning I thought how my Lampowitz invention should be presented in the store shelves. You have to work simultaneously on everything and I made a few sketches right away.
(The flashlight was later removed during product development.)

Scetch of alternative packaging.
Expensive material, less work.
Scetch of alternative packaging.
Cheap material, more work.

Bag or blister?


In the beginning a simple plastic bag stapled to a cardboard top seemed as a good idea. That’s how many other store items are packaged and relatively cheap to make. But a plastic blister would reduce the handling cost and maby be equally cheap in the end?

Captain Picard
Futile resistance!

Resistance is futile?
I hate irrational behaviour. Unfortunately other humans are more willing to buy stuff when it is presented in a fancy package. Regardless if the packaging is more expensive than the actual product. A nice blister pack would enhance the sales potential so there seemed to be very little choice. But later, when I got rid of the flashlight, my horizon widened.

This is fucking expensive

Graphite mould
This stupid thing costs a fortune.

You have to make sure that your invention will sell before anything. This is no joke, it’s really expensive to start industrial production of even the smallest, simplest gadget you can imagine.

Are you happy?
If your invention improves your own life – perhaps you should stop there and keep on just being happy. Turning your clever invention into a successful dream project can easily turn into a nightmare.

Jack of heartsAll in?
Just because you invented the best thing since sliced bread doesn’t mean people will buy it. Taking the next step is a life changing experience. Most likely to a lifelong path of misery and economic hardship. It is addictive and you just can´t stop.

My solution
I kept my day job and didn’t invest more than about 50 € making prototypes of my drill bit holder Gearfix. Not until I had a retail order for thousands of them I felt safe to take a loan. If you can’t tactically wait with your investments like me, make damn sure you will survive a failure!

The worlds worst advisor

Image from LOTR
His previous assignment screwing this poor old man.

It is difficult to evaluate advice you receive and it doesn’t help when your professional counsellor is a compulsive liar.

Mr experienced expert
I found my man! An old business guru, expert in the retail market and he wasn’t nearly as popular as Miss Cutie Pie. So I easily booked our first meetings. Everything went smooth, only the lack of useful advice bothered me a little.

Experienced bullshit
Taking advice is all about trusting people and this silver back liar seemed very trustworthy. The big firm he was working for lowered my guard as he claimed I would instantly get sufficient economical funding if I just presented a retailer order for my drill bit holder.

U-turn
When I finally got the retail order and asked for the necessary funding he made a complete U-turn. Denying everything previously said and tried to
disparage me. I was so stunned I forgot to punch him in the face.

Ouch!
Ouch!

Economic disaster
Now everything was hanging by a thread. I had pressured the retailer quite hard to place this order and now I couldn’t deliver. Desperately me and my wife went to several banks trying get a loan without success.

You fix this!
The last resort was to contact the organisation and presented the tight spot this idiot had put me in. The lady I spoke to didn’t even ask, she knew who the fuck up was and helped me get the loan I needed. Now I was a little delayed, but back on track!

Return of the Idiot
A year later I received a call from this compulsive liar. He was cheerfully purchasing my invention Gearfix
in a store and wanted to congratulate my success. Obviously he hadn’t grasped that I hated his guts. Don’t worry, he will never call again.