Anna is the Creative Director and COO, overseeing project development and handling the logistics and factory liaisons. Having lived and worked in Beijing for 3 years, she speaks Mandarin Chinese and understands the cultural nuances of working with Asian factories which acts as an invaluable tool when getting into the thick of development. She makes sure that projects are running on time and on budget and ensures that our clients' visions are being accurately represented in our designs.
Brien is the President and Head of Design, with a background of over 10 years working within different fields of design. He eats, breathes and sleeps product design, always looking for a way to improve on what's already out there. With over 40 trips to China already and over two years of working directly on the factory floors, he knows the intricacies of design for manufacturing and truly understands what works and what doesn't when it comes to product design.
This is Jack! Jack is our man on the ground in Shenzhen and is our Senior Director of Projects in Asia. While we're asleep, he's managing all of our projects, making sure that everything is running on time and on budget. He's committed to changing the way that the design and manufacturing business runs in China, striving to find the most streamlined process possible and is an invaluable member of the team. He really likes soccer too!
How does this whole making a product process really work?
Well, chances are you already have a great idea - that’s why you’re here right?! The next steps would be looking into that idea and making sure it’s possible. We always start with initial research, looking at potential competitors on the market, whether they’re even out there and if they are out there we ask ourselves what can we do to make yours better.
Next, we dive deep into an opening round of design, taking what you’ve already told us about your idea and seeing what we can offer to improve on that concept and bring it to life. Our process tends to revolve around providing you with a few different options, some of which will be in the more traditional field and then those that may just be a bit more out of the box! We often find that there is at least a nugget of something magical in those left field ideas that can be picked out and worked into the design that you want!
Most importantly, as a company we are focused on design for manufacturing, meaning that any concepts that we offer are designed with mass production in mind. We design with cost effectiveness and successful manufacturing as an absolute so that we don’t run into problems once we move into prototyping and production. Other design firms may provide you with a beautiful concept that is not actually viably manufacturable, but we’re here to see you through every step of the way.
We have great relationships with a number of different factories around the world, meaning that we can be sure that your product is in good hands. While designing, we begin sourcing and talking to factories so that we are ready to hit the ground running once that final design is approved and you’re ready to start prototyping. We understand that protection of IP is an important issue and we do everything in our power to make sure that your idea is in safe hands by ensuring that we have Confidentiality Agreements signed with every factory that we speak to about your project. We have our man Jack, based in Shenzhen and he is our eyes and ears on the ground, making sure that the factories we’re talking to are who they say they are and that everything is running on time and on budget.
Making a prototype can be a pricey business! The price of a prototype rarely matches the per unit price of a product and it’s important to remember that for a factory to make a prototype can involve a mixture of potentially ordering specific materials and components, shutting down a production line and learning a new process all for just one unit and they still haven’t even got the promise of an order yet! In addition, if your project involves tooling, and you want to make a production quality prototype, you may need that tool whether you’re making one or 10,000, and that tool is made from large quantities of steel. As a company we do our best to find the most cost effective solutions, and we do make it a goal to try and avoid as many hair raising upfront costs as possible! Prototyping solutions can involve a mixture of 3D printing, CNC machining, casting or other methods, but sometimes you need to be prepared to take that leap of faith in your product and dive in, and remember that we’ll be right there with you the whole time! Much like a unicorn, the “Perfect First Prototype” is a mystical beast of the design world and we can neither deny nor confirm it’s existence. As a result, we generally expect to go through at least two rounds of prototyping to work out any issues before we have a sample in hand that is ticking all your boxes. Throughout this stage, RD Projects will be handling all the back and forth with the factory, adjusting your files as needed and making sure that everything is on track for success so you can sit back, relax and focus on all the other aspects of your business that needs your attention.
At the end of the day, making a product is hard and no one should pretend otherwise. But it’s really fun too! We’ve gone through the years of pitfalls and disasters so that you don’t have to. As a company we make it our duty to make sure that we see you through to the finish line with your shiny new product clasped tightly in hand and a smile on your face!