From the Warehouse – Welcome To Hell!
When Wednesday rolls around, we look at LFG items from our warehouse and tell the story of their design and development, and then, y’know, try to sell you them. But not because capitalism; because we love them and think you will too.
You know what I don’t talk enough about? The LFG Fwoosh rug. You don’t have to read a lot of my blogs to figure out the products I developed that I am most proud of, or so you might presume! I’m quite proud of The Fwoosh rug. It was one of my earliest products and the first out of the ordinary idea I successfully pitched. It taught me a lot about the development of a product.
STEP 1. Concept
Believe it or not, before a product can exist physically, it needs to exist theoretically. Theoretically, that’s where I come in. My brain and I ask each other “As an LFG fan, what product would I like?”
In this case, the concept was an LFG welcome mat for a game room or fire-themed bathroom (I believe bikram is the technical term for it).
STEP 2. Internal Research
There are some product ideas that may seem brilliant but are actually lower hanging fruit than you might expect, so it’s good to look into what’s been tried before and see how it flew.
No one working on LFG merch had ever made a rug or anything close to it, so at least this was a known unknown. Sohmer had an idea for a welcome mat based on the Loading panel on page 36, but the idea hadn’t gone to development (it eventually did, but the colours and complexity of the design meant it would be way more expensive than the simpler, more straight forward Fwoosh design)
Although this was new ground we were breaking, the we did know that another Fwoosh product, the Fwoosh Stress Ball, was one of our best-selling products.
STEP 3. External Research
Who could we contact to make this product? What would this cost us to make in the quantities we expect to move versus what do we believe we can sell it for?
Because I couldn’t just consult with whoever developed the last rug like I could a book or t-shirt, I needed to figure out how a rug was made before I could start developing one.
STEP 4. Internal Again
It was tough explaining my job because you could say I designed products, excluding anything visual. I brought words to the artists, then I brought their art to the manufacturer, sparing everyone my art skills.
Our in-house artist at the time, Aurélie Martin, designed the Fwoosh’s look. As you might expect, there were a few rejected ideas before we landed on the design we liked.
STEP 5. Manufacturing
Like the art phase, I’m not the one doing the actual work. Think of product development as the father of the product. The artists are the mother, and the manufacturer as the midwife. Obviously I had a lot to do with the creation, but I was hardly the hardest worker involved.
One of the best parts of my job was getting a production sample that perfectly matched the art.
STEP 6. Delivery
Development on this project started in September of 2014, and delivered in May 2015. With the product in hand, we were ready to sell it!
The Fwoosh rug wasn’t the hit I hoped. It was a consistent but slow seller. That said, when I would show one off at a con, the “Oh cool” reactions seemed genuine (as opposed to many polite “yeah, that’s nice” reactions I’ve received showing customers products that just weren’t for them). I have to assume that the price factored into how often people who thought the Fwoosh rug was cool left it on the shelf.
I get to put that assumption to the test. The previously $50 Fwoosh rugs are now on sale for $25 while supplies last! I also have reason to believe that orders of a certain size will receive a few extras. Check out the Blind Ferret Shop blowout sale now for more great LFG and other Blind Ferret products!