When I came up with the idea for the Cot Wrap, I had absolutely no experience in bringing a product to market and therefore it was a very hard and slow process.
I am lucky that the Cot Wrap is a sewn product, which means that it was comparatively simple and low cost to start making, unlike for example a plastic product which would require special moulds to be created. However what makes it hard is that the sewing required was quite difficult for a novice such as myself. Although the fabric which I used in the beginning was much simpler than the specially-designed and patented fabric we use today, it still wasn’t exactly the kind which you could buy in your local fabric store.
My first idea was to get a local seamstress to make up the product, with me doing all the preparation work. However I soon realised that the seamstress didn’t have the equipment to do a professional job, and the price she would charge per product was the equivalent to the RRP which I had in mind.
I was very keen to get the Cot Wrap made in the UK, not only because I wanted to support British industry but also because I was very intimidated by the idea of going abroad, but after doing a few sums I realised that I unless I sold the product for about £40-£50 each, I would end up making a loss. Going abroad is very daunting, but for the majority of labour-intensive products such as sewn products, it is just not viable to get them made in the UK in the long run.
A very useful article which I found is How to Manufacture a New Product Overseas by Heather Allard. Be sure to read through all the comments, there is some very useful info hidden in there. However, something which I think the article fails to emphasise is the high minimum orders which overseas manufacturers typically require. This can be a huge barrier. If your product can be made in the UK it may be a good idea to at least start off this way so that lower quantities and a lower investment of funds can be made.