Innovate UK Smart Grants

For many the coronavirus pandemic is becoming a catalyst for change, whether it be personal or work related. The phrase “new normal” now resonates on a global scale. For the critics, potentially our “new world” means mass unemployment, recession and a crippled economy. As a result of the lockdown many businesses are facing financial challenges as they head into the final quarter of 2020. New Product Development seems to appear way down on the priority list for a lot of companies, however investing now in the early stages of designing a new product will actually help you be ahead of the game once we regain some global stability.

There are financial lifelines available from the Government to encourage and assist you with this in the forms of kickstart grants and (what we focus on in this article) a new round of Innovate UK Smart Grants.

The latest round of Innovate UK Smart Grants, launched last month, closes at 11am on the 25th November and businesses of any size can apply for a slice of £25 million. This open UK grant funding programme has a specific purpose of supporting game changing ideas to develop new products that have significant global market potential. Applications are welcomed for NPD across all sectors including Sextech, where this industry is reportedly worth over $30 billion and estimated to be growing at an annual rate of 30%.

To be in with a chance of winning a grant, the key to your application is to demonstrate you have clearly considered your new product’s innovation, global market potential and the target customer’s needs. This is where utilising a Product Design Consultancy like Sated Design could be the key to your success.

We can assist with a feasibility study which will demonstrate to the judges that you have determined whether your NPD is do-able. We can undertake a risk assessment which will demonstrate that you have considered the end user of the new product. We can also assist you with completing your application for smart funding and if successful, most excitingly, we can help you make your ideas a reality, taking your product idea to the point of manufacture when it becomes a market ready product!

Our services can be tailored to suit your needs – we are well adapted to itemise our service and can step in and out at any stage. In our online portfolio you will find an extensive list of successful pleasure products we have helped bring to market. We have completed many projects over the last decade – some of which have gone on to win coveted industry awards – and our skills, experience and expertise are invaluable.

Contact us today and let us satisfy your needs for quality, innovation and great product design.

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Crowdfunding

In last week’s article, we focused on the difficulties of attracting investment if you are a private inventor. As we demonstrated, a certain amount of time, resource and capital has to be undertaken before any investor would even begin to take a pitch from you seriously. As a result of this, many small start-ups are seeking alternative ways to bring a product idea to life.

One new approach that’s been steadily growing in popularity is crowdfunding. Through the emergence of websites like Crowdcube and Seedrs ,crowdfunding is revolutionising the way businesses and projects are being funded, allowing small start-ups to use the power of the internet, social media and engagement to recruit and raise funds through a large number of small investors or lenders.

Nowadays, crowdfunding sites are heavily regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) making them a safer proposition to many new investors who might have been discouraged by the risks in the past. There are also notable tax relief benefits of up to 50% available to investors through Seed Enterprise Investment Schemes (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS), making crowdfunding investments very attractive and potentially lucrative. Within crowdfunding itself, there are three models for raising funds which are equity-based, loan based and reward based, allowing a lot of flexibility to the start-up and the investor.

For private inventors, crowdfunding is seemingly a great way of getting traction for your idea and delivering your finished product into the hands of your target market. The flexibility of crowdfunding means that it is possible for private inventors to recruit more than just financial investment in the form of hard cash. For example, some “investors” with design or technology expertise will offer time in kind and lend valuable advice if the inventor was to run in to a hitch involving something such as manufacturing during the product development stage.

However, the golden rule of any New Product Development (NPD) is to protect your idea with intellectual property. With crowdfunding it would be easy to fall foul of the copy cats so the trick is to provide enough information to entice the investors, but not to divulge so much that it puts your product in jeopardy before it’s even entered the marketplace.

Crucial to this is ensuring you have developed a robust intellectual property strategy. You should make sure that you’ve filed all necessary patent, design and/or trademark applications before you go public on a crowdfunding site. It is also crucial that you have worked out your timings, to make sure that you have enough funding to see you through the various stages in intellectual property filings and product development. If you postpone developing an IP strategy, patent protection (for example) is unavailable and you run the risk of losing the rights to your own invention.

You also must know the exact detail and terms of your product offering, even if this means delaying going public until all the details have been ironed out. It is easy to get whipped up in the excitement of the moment but it’s important to keep your feet firmly on the ground. Seeking advice from an IP Attorney and having supporting illustrations for your new product provided by an experience Product Designer will help to secure your legal position.

The expertise of a Pleasure Product Design Consultancy like Sated Design could be a clever move during the early stages of your New Product Development (NPD), however as a full service agency we can step in at any time up to the point of manufacture to assist you on your journey. Contact us today.

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Thinking beyond the ETO Show

We were extremely disappointed to learn of the postponement of this year’s ETO Show, which should have taken place this week. Tradeshows like these provide a great opportunity to network and take the pulse of the current marketplace. There are a number of brand new exhibitors which we were really looking forward to meeting. Never mind, let’s look forward to later in the year.

We are definitely ‘glasses half full’ kind of people and perhaps this current global situation as a result of the Covid-19 could actually pave the way for some really exciting New Product Development (NPD) in the adult toy marketplace.

Reported just this week is a growth of 13% in adult toy sales over the last fortnight as people begin a period of self isolation. The demand is there and we are certain there will be many of you out there with their heads full of new ideas for brilliant new adult toys or pleasure products.

Consider this: The current restrictions on flights, exhibitions and even possibly day to day working conditions will mean home working and time away from the office for reflection. Ask yourself, where do you want your business to be when these restrictions are lifted and how can you be ahead of the game?

Perhaps you’ve had an idea kicking around for ages but time has never allowed you to take it any further. Now is as good a time as any to take the bull by the horns and make it a reality!

This is where Sated Design can help you.

Our design process methods can get you to the point of manufacture so you are poised and ready to hit “GO” once the manufacturing industry is showing signs of recovery. We have a comprehensive range of in-house capabilities including 3D printing, CNC machining, model making and silicone casting, meaning that all prototyping can be done right here in our office. We are able to use CAD to create parts and assemblies ready to provide to manufacturers for quotation and production.

We don’t even need to physically meet up either. Our remote conferencing facilities mean we can discuss projects virtually and do on screen reviews.

Pre-planning will make the difference when it comes to securing the future of your business. If you have a great idea and would like a little help to guide you through the journey of making it a desirable reality, get in touch today.

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In-house 3D Printing

Nowadays pretty much everyone has heard of 3D printing. As a primary tool for designers 3D printers can produce a real life object for handling and use. 3D printing has enabled us, here at Sated Design, to streamline our design methodology which vastly improves turnaround timings. Thanks to our in-house 3D printing capabilities we can usually build and handle physical parts that same day. This saves days over traditional modelmaking and subcontract bureau services and improves the quality of decisions made during the design process.

To the outside world, 3D printed parts are often a huge disappointment for many users. It should be borne in mind that the old saying of ‘you get what you pay for’ and ‘horses for courses’ are particularly true.

Users of 3D printing need the right know-how. Robust parts and high-quality parts can be made if the right materials and processing are used. We have taken 3D printing a step further and often use 3D printing to produce specially made tools and jigs to assist our design processes and also that of our clients. Examples of this are bespoke jigs and fixtures produced to precisely and accurately make modifications to parts or assemble. We have also specified 3D printed parts as a small batch manufacturing method for complex structural parts which would otherwise have required expensive mould tooling and involved considerable delays.

While 3D printing is now available to the mass market, it still takes a level of expertise to know how to process a part to be appropriate for printing. Key factors need to be understood in preparation for 3D printing such as print time, material volume, temperature control, orientation of the print and the nesting of items. It can be very tempting for inexperienced innovators to purchase their own printer in a bid to visualise their own products. This may at first seem to be the cheaper route for some, however, without the experience and the understanding of the amount of variables involved in producing a high quality 3D print, it is a much safer and cost effective option to leave this to the professionals. Our designers have the “know-how” to get the best from each print run and ensure each part is representative of the intended design.

If you need assistance with 3D modelling and printing, contact us today to discuss your requirements. As a full service agency, we can step in at any stage of your project to suit your needs.

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Funding the next great product

The beginning of a New Year can often be the catalyst to make a change, whether it be personal or work related. The phrase “new year, new start” resonates through January and this is especially true when considering New Product Development (NPD). It can take a lot of time and resource to get an idea off the ground, find a suitable market and develop a new product. Even the most accomplished of businesses may require assistance both in terms of funding and in terms of expertise.

Grant funding is one way you can turn to finance your new product idea. The Innovate UK Smart Grant competition opens on the 9th January and businesses of any size can apply for a slice of £25 million. This open UK grant funding programme has a specific purpose of supporting game changing ideas to develop new products that have significant global market potential. The Sextech industry is reportedly worth over $30 billion and estimated to be growing at an annual rate of 30%.

To be in with a chance of winning a grant, the key to your application is to demonstrate you have clearly considered your new product’s innovation, global market potential and the target customer’s needs. This is where utilising a Product Design Consultancy like Hillside could be the key to your success.

We can assist with a feasibility study which will demonstrate to the judges that you have determined whether your NPD is do-able. We can undertake a risk assessment which will demonstrate that you have considered the end user of the new product. We can also assist you with completing your application for smart funding and if successful, most excitingly, we can help you make your ideas a reality, taking your product idea to the point of manufacture when it becomes a market ready product!

Our services can be tailored to suit your needs – we are well adapted to itemise our service and can step in and out at any stage. In our online portfolio you will find an extensive list of successful products we have helped bring to market across a broad range of industries. We have completed many projects over the last 13 years and our skills, experience and expertise are invaluable.

Contact us today

Once you have taken that “new year, new start” leap, it’s important you get it right.

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Making your sex toy idea happen

Some of us at one time or another, may have had a new sex toy idea and we thought it could be the next big thing. There’s been a lot of talk in the industry recently that SexTech start ups are shifting away from the phallic shapes towards new and innovative products.

The journey between the initial idea and seeing it on the shelves can be a very rewarding experience. However the road to success is littered with hidden pitfalls. Many companies and inventors struggle, or even fail, to develop a new product without appropriate assistance.

First and foremost, our role at Sated Design is to assist businesses in developing a new or improving an existing product so it is ready for its intended market.

A typical project would include one or more of the following stages:

  1. Review – the idea may be good, but does it tick all the boxes to be a successful and commercially viable product? This is the first step along the road and allows you to decide whether it is worth continuing or not.
  2. Funding – Developing, protecting, manufacturing and distributing a product will require a substantial financial investment. How are the necessary funds going to be raised?
  3. Protecting – There is no point having a great product if a copycat competitor steals your market advantage. What type of intellectual property protection is most suitable?
  4. Developing the product – To take an idea from a rough sketch on the back of a paper napkin to a physical product rolling off the production line involves several stages. From the initial concept sketches, prototyping and testing, to producing data files ready for manufacturing, there are many elements to consider in development of a product.
  5. Selling the product – All the hard work getting the product developed and manufactured will be for nothing if distribution and marketing fails. How are you going to get a good return on your investment?

Even the most accomplished will require assistance with new sex toy ideas which is where Sated Design’s expertise is invaluable.  We work closely with all our clients to ensure they have all the support they need throughout the product development process.

Who we are
Sated Design was founded in 2003.  We are a focused company who want our clients to achieve business success with innovative products that address the key factors of performance, reliability, cost and aesthetics.

We have designed many products within the Adult industry and to date our products have won Best Male Product for ETO, Winner of XBIZ Best Male Pleasure Product, Winner of Erotixx Highest Potential Product as well as several nominations for other Erotica Awards.

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Welcome to new recruit Holly Hollis

Sated Design are pleased to welcome new recruit Holly Hollis to the team. Holly will be responsible for managing all aspects of digital marketing. In an age where social media platforms offer impactful and cost effective ways of marketing, Sated recognises the importance of these platforms in connecting with current and potential clients and advertising our product design services.

New recruit Holly says “I am delighted to join Chris and the team. This role is very exciting – no day will be the same! Sated Design offers such a wide range of services across many sectors and that’s what attracted me to apply for the position. I’m looking forward to growing our digital presence and as a result of this work, our client base.”

Holly’s appointment marks the beginning of an expansion plan for Sated Design and sister company Hillside Product Design Ltd in 2019. We are also recruiting for a Senior Product Designer to further grow our capabilities. Recent interest from new clients in the USA are helping business to boom. We are also seeing opportunities for business growth in the UK with the introduction of funding such as the Innovate UK Smart grants for manufacturing and innovation at a national level.

Company Director Chris Howsam says “Holly joining the team marks the start of our expansion plans. Forget the doom and gloom. We are finding new clients and looking to make 2019 a great year; so watch this space.”

Let’s create something together.

If you have an idea for a new product, we can make your ideas a reality, guiding you all the way from your initial concept to a marketplace-ready product. Whether you’re a large corporation, SME, new technology start-up, or entrepreneur we offer a complete design for manufacturing service.

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The Importance of Continuous Testing

Testing a product concept during all stages of its development is an important part of the design process. Prototypes, mock-ups and test rigs, or whatever you wish to call them, enable the design team to evaluate every aspect of a product. Using feedback derived from tests the design team create great products which delight the user and make healthy profits for the manufacturing and distributing chain.

Here at Sated Design our approach to the development of adult toys makes use of many different types of prototypes and each prototype brings its own benefits to the end design. At the end of the development process the design team and the client can be confident that the final product is indeed fit for purpose. Prototypes are generally made in house in our model shop although we will use external suppliers for specialist parts.

Good visual imagery is an important part of any design process as it is an effective way of showing what the final outcome will potentially look like. 2D images have their place; they are great for visualisation but are unable to portray some of the important details; for example the weight and feel of the product. Accurate prototypes that are faithful to the intended appearance and feel of the final design are extremely useful in marketing discussions and for pre-launch media. We have lost count of the number of occasions when a prototype has been photographed before a production piece has been available. That is not poor time planning, it is in fact the opposite and a necessity when rapid design techniques have to bring together marketing/promotion during the run up to a launch or exhibition.

Good user experience is a vital part of any adult toy. The whole experience of receiving the item, opening the packaging and switching the toy on are very important but they are the aperitif for the main course. If the toy does not ‘work’ then it is just a big let-down and that has to be avoided at all costs. Working prototypes are a vital part of getting this right in the product development. An example of how this process can work came about very recently when our model makers made a silicone prototype of a new vibrator. This was sent out for user testing and the feedback suggested that the sensations could be improved by thickening a certain part of the shaft profile. A second prototype was quickly prepared and once again sent out to the same person for testing. Within days we received positive feedback. This simple, quick and low costs exercise gave the client the confidence to immediately go forward to the next stage of development and the tester kept the prototype!

Some prototypes are quite mundane but they still serve a vital role in improving the assembly and cost effective manufacture of a product. It is not uncommon for our design team to prepare several 3D printed prototypes to evaluate wiring, motor mounting, jigging/fixtures and resolving fine details of switches and connectors to ensure that no detail is ignored.

Do you have an idea for a new Sex Toy? Would you like a little help to guide you through the journey of making your product a desirable reality? Get in touch today – we may just be able to help you.

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Pulling the Plug

A patent protecting the broad concept of “teledildonics” has recently expired, potentially paving the way for a wave of sex toys that can be controlled over the internet.

Teledildonics, also known as cyberdildonics, is a term to describe sex toys that can be plugged into a device, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone, and link to other sex toys and interactive applications over the internet, giving users the possibility to interact with sexual partners over long distances.

The patent, originally filed in 1998, includes descriptions of systems where stimulation devices are linked via transmitters to computers equipped with video cameras, capable of then connecting to and interacting with other such systems and pre-recorded video across the internet.

Many view this particular patent as having stifled development of this technology for several years, with the company that had owned the rights filing 10 lawsuits alleging infringement between 2015 and 2017, leading them to be labelled a “patent troll” and gaining notoriety in the industry. The expiration of the patent now potentially removes a large barrier to new development in this area.

However, despite cheers and applause from sex toy innovators, expiration of this single patent doesn’t necessarily mean a green light to a free-for-all for new teledildonics products. While on the surface it may look like a golden opportunity, other inventors will no doubt hold patents and intellectual property covering different areas of this technology, so even with one significant obstacle removed the wider legal minefield remains present. You are just a bit less likely to get sued.

As always, it’s important to continue to do your due diligence to ensure that your product doesn’t infringe anyone else’s intellectual property and land you and your business in hot water. Make use of the services of a patent attorney to help you discover the potential pitfalls and barriers to your product development early on in the process to avoid costly legal action and redesigns later on. It is important that you have a good understanding of the intellectual property landscape of your industry.

We as your product designers can then help you to come up with solutions that circumvent the rights held by your competitors and put valuable IP into your own hands.

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Are There Advantages of Outsourcing Your Design Requirements?

Here we look at why it may be the better option rather than building your own in-house team of designers.

Experience:
Consultancies deal with a wide range of products across a variety of markets, giving them a greater breadth and depth of skill and knowledge. This knowledge helps to fast track ideas to becoming a reality, whereas working within your own confines can potentially take much longer, especially if it is proving difficult to know where to begin.

Working with many projects and different clients, here at Sated Design we can cross pollinate insights and knowledge gained from a host of different varying projects. Our depth of experience coupled with your knowledge results in original thoughts which develop into original products that standout not just in terms of aesthetics but also in functionality.

Cost:
Hiring external design services at first glance may seem expensive, but in the long run will prove to be cost effective. By paying for design services only when you need them, this not only saves on the cost of salaries but also all of the other extra expenses such as software-licences, workstations, prototypes and testing equipment.

Design consultancies not only help to save time and money by designing your product but also help you save when it comes to manufacturing. By using your design-house’s suppliers, you will be able to receive competitive quotations and manufacturing experience, which is not easy to find on your own.

Flexibility:
Designing might not be your full time job, it may be your hobby therefore you may not have sufficient time to focus on achieving your goals for your project. Seeking external design expertise will help you prioritise the workload or assist you at critical phases of the design process. It is always a good idea to seek help or even advice during the development of your product. Any delays in launching products or missing a design opportunity can end up costing you far more than the cost of hiring external help.

Conclusion:
By helping you to refine your ideas to a good product for your intended market and ensuring that the end result can be manufactured we may just save you time, money and a catalogue of unexpected challenges.

If you need something designing, or to compliment your current design capabilities, or even just a fresh perspective on a project, please contact us here at Sated Design.

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