New Hibermate version production update (and some background)
Posted by Chris Thomas on November 18, 2014. 1 Comment
I've been very lucky this year.
Late last year my wife accepted a new role with a large Australian telecommunications company in Hong Kong. After nearly 8 years, I resigned from my full time day job as the General Manager of a digital search agency in Melbourne, Australia.
We packed up the house, the kids and ourselves and relocated to one of the most amazing cities in the world.
The best thing about being here in Hong Kong as a "trailing spouse" meant that for the first time, for as long as I can remember, I actually had enough quality time on my hands to focus solely on 2 things, 1. my family 2. my own business, and by extension, the product itself, doing my utmost to make it better.
The other great thing was that while most of the Hibermate components were manufactured in China and some in Australia (which made for a logistical and assembly nightmare), all production has moved to China now and I've been very lucky to have connected with some wonderful new suppliers.
We still work with the Australian firm, Baron Rubber who have updated our silicone ear cups to make them thicker and more effective at reducing sound. We're also still working with the amazing ethical clothing company, Bluegum who manufacture the sleep masks for us.
In April this year, I visited the Hong Kong Gift Fair. While I was trying to digest the vast array of offerings from over 4,000 exhibitors, I stumbled upon a modest stand run by the founder of GPG2.com, George Gruber. George and I hit it off straight away, he's an inventor (a much better one than me!) and he'd had a successful Kickstarter campaign like Dillon and I had in 2013.
George offered to help redesign the product packaging and the result has been fabulous.
George also introduced me to his Chinese partner/supplier, a gentleman named Raymond. George had churned through about 25 Chinese suppliers before he met Raymond and he recommended that we discuss how we could do business together.
Raymond's factory is located in Shenzen, just across the border from Hong Kong and he invited me over to tour his facility.
I was really impressed, not only with the Factory and the way he cares for and looks after his loyal staff but also the level of care and the quality control for every product they assemble and ship out. Finally, the hospitality extended to me was nothing short of amazing.
These last few weeks, all components have arrived at Raymond's Factory and assembly is now in full swing. Raymond and I met this morning to discuss shipping to Amazon Fulfillment Centers in the United States. It's the first time either of us have had to navigate our way through the labeling and inventory management requirements of FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) and it's been fun learning together!
We'll be doing a small trial run of 2,400 units in 6 colours to FBA and all going well, production in Shenzen will be completed by the 29th of November 2014. If we're lucky and everything goes according to plan, we may have the new version of the Hibermate available on Amazon mid-to-late December, possibly in time for Christmas delivery. It'll be a close run thing!
The balance of the production run will be shipped to Australia to handle domestic Australian orders and most of the international. My fabulous colleague Paula is helping with much of the customer support and fulfillment there.
I'll be in China this Saturday to inspect the product and QC everything and I'll try and take a few photo's and maybe a video of the assembly and production process. I'll be back again on the 27th, next week to do a final inspection and help with the box and pallet labelling for Amazon FBA.
Just back on the Hong Kong relocation for one sec, I'd personally also like to thank Joshua Miller and the team at www.okay.com for their guidance in selecting a property to rent in Hong Kong, Chris Exline at Home Essentials who helped us furnish our apartment with both rented furniture to begin with while we got set up and then later purchasing nearly everything required to get set up during a stressful first few weeks!
Will try and keep the updates coming with time permitting!