If you are someone who has got a creative flair and have a few ideas for simple products that could sell but don’t know how to go about it, Ponoko may have the answer. Ponoko is the first company in the world that allows it users design, manufacture and sell their products online. The company is only a couple of years old and even though it is based in Wellington, New Zealand, most of its business comes from the United States
How it works
To get started with designing a product you can download the Ponoko making guide and templates (you do need to use vector art software such as Adobe Illustrator CS, CorelDRAW X3, Inkscape or Macromedia Freehand MX files to create designs). They also give you the option of buying a product plan from them (some are available for free) which you can then customise. They also have a photomake option where you can literally draw out a design with pen and paper and upload a photo of your design.
Once you are satisfied with your design and all that’s left is getting the product made. All that is involved in this step is transferring your design to one of the Ponoko templates and uploading it, choosing the material you would like your creation made with. Ponoko then cuts out the pieces of your design which you can get shipped to you make sure that everything is as it should be. If everything is as it should be then you are all set to sell your product.
At the moment, the available materials are wood, ply sheeting, acrylic in a range of colours and thickness. The product pieces are cut using a laser cutter and are manufacture in either Wellington or San Francisco.
The last step is selling your product which you can do for free via the storefront they provide users with. How much your product sells for is up to you and there is no need to worry about shipping options as Ponoko takes care of that and buyers have the option of paying by credit card or PayPal. An order can either be shipped directly to the customer or it can be shipped to you to then ship to the customer. Ponoko ships worldwide and charge $10 packaging fee plus a delivery fee which is dependent on the number of sheets of material in the order and the shipping destination. One thing to note is that you also have the option of selling product plans as well as products or just product plans alone.
Opening an account is free but there is a Prime account option for $39 per month which offers you a few extra features.
Does this sound like a good idea to you?