There are levels of customization that you can do to each product. From simply putting your logo on an existing product, to changing up the entirety of a product concept to be unique to you. For example, some brands would prefer the ODM approach, which stands for Original Design Manufacturer. In this case, the manufacturer would be the one designing the product and offering it to you to rebrand as your own. On the other hand, if you want to have greater control over your product and customize it to the exact way that you want, you can go with the OEM approach, which stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer.
In this case, you would go to the manufacturer with the exact specification that you want for your product, adding in the pieces to an existing product that no one else has and crafting it to be truly unique to your brand. Now this approach is a tad bit more tedious, because you essentially need to perform round two revision and testing for the specific product. Whereas if you go with the ODM approach, it would have been tested in the past by the manufacturer already.
With OEM, you can create something that is truly yours. And depending on what your product is, it could be worth the extra investment of time and money. After you figure out the manufacturing approach you wish to take, the next step is to start picking apart the components of the product to develop for. For Doe Lashes, I knew that the lashes come down to three components-- the lash doe itself, the plastic case that hosts the lashes, and the packaging box for it.
For each of the components, I asked my manufacturer to send me samples of the options for these pieces. For starters, I picked out four lash styles I wanted to launch with. And I chose the four that I believe had the broadest appeal to my target audience. The reason for this was because I wanted to keep the startup costs low, with less variance, and also target a wider range of customers with options I know more people will like.
An easy example for another product would be color options for T-shirts. While you may want to go off and make a T-shirt with 12 different color options, it's often cheaper and more efficient to pick colors that most people would be able fit into their wardrobe, like black, gray, navy, and blue. Next, I had to choose a plastic casing that would hold the lashes in the packaging box. There were options for a white case and a plastic case.
And within these color options, there were different positions of the lash display that I could choose. I ended up choosing the white case with a slanted positioning because I felt that it would help display the lashes the best with the packaging that I had in mind. But truthfully, a lot of these options come down to your own preference and the vision that you have for the brand. Finally, it was time to pick the packaging box that would showcase all these components together.
There were a number of options on how the box would look. Whether it be circular, transparent case, a magnetic case, a tube, or a simple paper box. All these packaging options would cost differently based on the materials required to make them. For example, the magnetic box is made with a thicker paper board with a magnetic strip at the opening, which cost 10 times more than a simple paper box with just a transparent sheet as a window.
In the lash market, magnetic boxes are typically reserved for higher-priced lashes like mink lashes. And since my product is a more affordable option using silk fiber, I opted for the paper board with a clear window. Down to the box level. There are actually different types of customization options that would affect the price, such as the color printed on the box and the weight of the paper stock. For Doe, I chose a single color print using our brand colors, with an embossed logo to give it texture.
For the paper stock, I chose a heavier weight of the paper to give the box a more sturdy feel and to elevate the perceived value of the lashes. While thinking about customizing your product, it's important to think about the consequences of all the pieces that you add. Different components make the product weight more or less, which would affect the cost of shipping it. The extra components can make the product easier to use, or easier to break, or not fit into any packaging at all.
So it's really important for you at this step to think about the consequences of everything that you add to your product.