Making The Most Out Of Quirky.com For Inventors
is a site that many inventors know about, but many more may not. As
such today we will be starting regular coverage of this very useful tool
for innovators, and in this article we will see what the site is all
about, and how you can best utilize it for your own inventions. If you
have ideas for products or inventions that you hope to bring to market
somehow, but you may not have the business or marketing skills needed to
see that project through, Quirky might be the tool you have been
First, let's see what exactly Quirky is. This is a company that was founded in 2009 to help inventors get passed the initial hurdles and help them bring products to market. Located in New York City, Quirky already has over 370,000 inventors in their community and has helped hundreds of products get to market. If you know about Kickstarter.com, Quirky is similar in some ways but also different. Here, you also collect popular votes in order to see whether your project will see the light of day, but you don't have to handle the actual production process for that product. Instead, Quirky handles the actual manufacturing and selling through their own site, and you get a percentage of each sale.
The way it works is fairly simple. First, you submit your idea to the site, and then a crowdsourced curation process starts. Here anyone who goes to the site can see your blurb and decide whether they want to support you or not. If you get a lot of support, then your idea has merits and the evaluation process goes forward. If you cannot gain this type of support then your idea is rejected and you can submit another one. If your idea is chosen, then a process of design and branding goes on in cooperation between you, the inventor, and Quirky. When that's done, the actual product takes shape, and manufacturing starts. This is handled completely by Quirky and you do not have to take care of this industrial process.
After that's done, the resulting product is finally put on sale through the Quirky site and that same community of users can buy. You can also use social marketing to advertise your product and drive up sales. You get a percentage of each sale, and you can then move on to your next idea or invention, providing yet another new product to the world.
How can you maximize the chance that your idea will get accepted?
So now that you know how Quirky works, you have to realize that submitting ideas is really easy. There are many ideas but few products, so how can you increase the chance that your particular invention will see the light of day?
The first key is inspiration. You need to have an idea
that is truly new and unique. Most of the products that end up being
created are things that have that 'wow' factor, where people look at the
title or concept image and right away are intrigued. But it still needs
to be a practical product. Many ideas touch on concepts that are cool,
but few people would actually want to pay for that.
Market research is something Quirky can help you with, but before you ever submit your own idea, you should do your own research and find out whether your product is something people want to buy. Does it answer a need? Is it worth the cost of production? If there is no market, then you will make no money from it. One good place is to look at Google and find out if people search for solutions to that particular problem. If there are a lot of people looking for ways to solve a particular need, and they can't find something that fits their requirements, then maybe there is a market. Look and make sure that something similar is not being sold on Amazon.com. If your item is related to a specific industry, look at stores that would likely carry the product and on online catalogs. Of course, make sure to search Quirky using as many words that apply as you can think of so you can make sure no one has already submitted something similar. (For more tips, look at our Doing Market Research For Your Invention page.)
You should also search if there are any patents taken that look like your idea. (See tips here on How To Do A Patent Search and Patenting Your Invention Idea.)
If someone else already invented the same thing, and it had no market appeal, then that may be a sign that you should think of something else.
Make sure your idea is not only cool, but it is also a
viable business. Can the resulting product be sold and shipped easily
through an online store? If it's too big, then shipping costs may be way
too high for people to buy it online through the Quirky store. What would the likely cost of materials and manufacturing be? If the raw costs are really high, it is unlikely you can sell your product at an attractive price to buyers. Will making, storing and handling the product be difficult?
Finally, take enough time to submit your idea. Enter exactly what problem that your research showed people have, and how your idea would provide a solution. Get high quality images or a video made that clearly illustrates your idea. If you are going to be using drawings, spent the little bit of extra money to get really good drawings done for you. There are a ton of online sources for getting high quality drawings done for you for cheap. If it would be helpful, try to have several images to explain vividly various aspects of your invention product idea.
Most importantly, remember that this is a community process. Once the submission is done, keep going back and interacting with the community, answering questions and providing updates. Make the most of social sharing sites and do whatever you can to spread the word about your idea to friends and family and the incredible networks available to you through social media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc. (Of course, make sure that if you are using these sites, that you follow all the shoulds and should nots of promoting your ideas on those sites.) Also, make sure to send your invention idea to us here at InventorSpot.com and let them know about your invention. Getting the word out and creating interest for your idea is your best bet for making sure your idea becomes a product.
So I hope this article was helpful to you. Submitting your ideas to Quirky and other crowdfunding sites is very much the same as the steps you take in the overall invention process. So for more tips on how to get your invention ideas onto store shelves, take a look at all the tips and resources we've collected for inventors.
Good luck and happy inventing!
Originally published March 2013 and updated May 2015.