The Comfy Cup Chronicle Part 3: Hey, Can Your Mom Make Me a Comfortable Cup Too? The Product Development Journey

"You can do anything, but not everything."
Word began to spread about Kyler's invention and boys started asking Kyler, "Hey, can your mom make me one of those comfortable cups?"  As time went on, we learned that there was a demand for a more comfortable cup among elementry age baseball players....a demand I couldn't keep up with.  It didn't take long to realize sewing Kyler's comfortable cups at the dining room table was neither cost effective nor timely. So, we began to research companies who could help us with product development and manufacturing.  Our path lead us to two different companies near our home.  One in Kansas City, Missouri (R2Fact) and one in Pittsburgh, Kansas (PRG Prototyping, Inc.).  We wanted to find a company close to home so Kyler could be included in the meetings and follow the process of developing his product.  Kyler and I visited both of them, shared his invention with the owners, and learned how each company could help us.  Both companies were very kind and took the time to show Kyler around their offices, letting him get a glimpse into what life looked like working at their company.  He met graphic designers and engineers was able to see computer programs used to create animated renderings of products.  He saw a 3-D printer and got a glimpse of other amazing inventions people were creating.  
We were surprised to learn that the product development phase would cost upwards of $15,000-$20,000 dollars!  We weighed the options of both companies and the services they could offer and decided to move forward with PRG.  We signed a contract with PRG and forked over the down payment of $5,000.  Then, we got to work making Kyler's comfortable cup invention a reality.  The first step in product development was developing a CAD (computer animated drawing) created by a graphic designer.  Once the CAD was complete, we needed to create another prototype based upon the CAD with exact dimensions developed by engineers.  Before we moved forward with a prototype, we wanted to be certain we could find a factory to produce the cup Kyler designed.  So, we put the prototyping on hold and began the search for a factory. Unfortunately, PRG was not able to provide us with much guidance in the way of finding a factory for manufacturing, so we were on our own to find someone to help us with this step.

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