Almost eighteen months ago an inventor approached us with an innovative idea of a unique toy. In November 2019, it was soft-launched into the market and exciting prospects of global distribution are now being contemplated.
To give readers an insight into what it takes to commercialise innovative products or technologies, the story of the Zzzopa provides a wonderful case study of the many challenges that can exist on the roadmap to commercialisation. In this story, we take a brief look at what it has taken, who has been involved and the persistence required to go from concept to retail.
Firstly, when inventor Eddie Holden and fellow Director Steve Woods arrived in our office, they had a prototype of the Zzzopa. The only problem… it didn’t work! Using our international connections, a trip to Hong Kong and then our long-term trusted manufacturer in Guangzhou, we were able to utilise the engineering expertise of these professional manufacturers. Within 48 hours of being on the ground, they had redesigned the mechanics and then within six weeks, we had our first basic performing spinning, bouncing Zzzopa ball.
For inspiring inventors to know, this prototyping is just a first step in a long process to bring a product to minimum viable product. Initially, the process involved many steps in testing components, experimenting with material formula’s, and refining the manufacturing processes. When you are doing something that has never been done before, then it is truly a process of setting performance criteria and working with your manufacturer/industrial designers to achieve a defined set of metrics that we knew were essential for the Zzzopa to be successful in the market place.
As this process extends into the production of test moulds, production moulds, product designs, decoration methods, packaging decisions and cost analysis, operating alongside these “manufacturing” processes, we were also project managing the Patent Process:
- Legal Vision’s (Kevin Ashby)
- Commercial Agreements (Legal Visions by Alexandra Shaw)
- Local legal knowledge (Hong Kong based lawyer Jonathan Chu from Stephenson Harwood)
- Market research
- Distribution research
- Brand development (Gary Schmidt at LAO Branding)
- Market entry advice (Linda Ginger at Attractor Network)
- Developing the marketing material and strategies (Andrew Knight at Knight Riley Strategic Marketing)
- Production of videos and focus groups with kids (Ian Chapman at VMP)
- Insurance requirements (Graham Ballard)
- Accounting advice (Chris Morris at Advivo Accountants & Advisors)
- Ongoing advice from our Australian based distributors (Jeff and Luke Hunter at Hunter Products)
- Our first retailer (Chris Maggacis at Mr Toys Toyworld)
And finally, our team at Advivo ICP with Nicholas Love and Jasmine Hodson supporting myself Trevor Holmes, with what has been a mammoth task. Over the eighteen months, the team has travelled to Hong Kong and China on many occasions, Singapore, New York and multiple domestic trips with hundreds of hours of meetings, negotiations, planning, ongoing research and business operational activities.
What I trust all readers are seeing from this story, is the extensive resources, multiple facets of business, commitment to the process and risk mitigation strategies that must be employed to successfully launch a product of this nature. Some may think… it’s just a toy! But no, it’s more than that; it is a complete business strategy of mapping out the commercialisation process and importantly learning, then pivoting and adapting.
In a project like this, we are drawing on skills around production, a specific industry (the toy industry which has its own unique characteristics), legalities, protection of the IP, branding to a specific target market, market entry strategies, distribution, pricing models, R&D Tax, Export Market Development Grants and so much more.
The Zzzopa is a project of producing a product that has never been contemplated or achieved before Eddie Holden came up with his inventive idea. For any inventor contemplating the commercialisation process, we trust you learn from this article just what can be involved to get your product to market.
We continue to have high expectations for the Zzzopa, but we are now just in the early stages of the soft launch. There is much more work to do to ensure its success globally and this will take a number of months ahead even firstly to establish just kids knowing about the Zzzopa. Then with critical Toy Fairs coming up in Hong Kong, Nuremberg and New York in early 2020, we are working to ensure the Zzzopa finds its mark as a craze toy.
We are very proud to have been involved and working with Eddie and Steve and all our vital supplier partners. It does go to show just what a team effort it has been, and we would have to say, a fun project to work on too.
So, support a local Australian invention such as the Zzzopa by jumping on board and getting your kids, grandkids, nephew, niece or kids of friends one of the wonderful ranges of the Zzzopa or Zzzopa mini. It makes a wonderful gift and the kids will be one of the first in the world to experience the spinning, bouncing, zinging ball set to be a craze around the world.
To find out more and see the latest tricks, follow Zzzopa on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Are you ready to make innovation your new competitive advantage and take your business to the next level? Contact us today!