Start an import business - new products inspired by nature

There are some clear ‘does’ and don’ts’ when looking for new inspiration for your new import project or when starting an import business. First of all, we always advise – don’t start on Alibaba.com. Use it to find suppliers for sure, but in many cases it’s kind of too late once it on there and being mass produced in China.

We work with start-ups and small to medium sized businesses everyday so we know a bit about this and we use lots of techniques. But this one is really cool. Think nature.

Over billions of years, plants and animals have developed fairly robust ways of surviving, and in these techniques we can learn not just new products, but new ways of developing existing products. As a quick framer – this is definitely not about evolution and religion. So please don’t read into this blog being about anything but product inspiration.

Take a look at this – do you know what it is?

Start an import business - new products inspired by nature

Imported products inspired by nature

Surfers will know for sure, an upside down keel. Foiling or keeling is becoming big in water sports – sailing, wakeboarding, paddle sports and even surfing, enabling you to cruise and float above the water. Keel innovations have been around for ages (think 1983 – Australia winning the America’s Cup of sailing)

But in this case almost 30 years later, some very clever person developed a keel for everyday water sports use, to better glide through the water. How did he or she make it better – no doubt from a sting ray. And why not, if you are looking to develop a water sports innovation, where better to look than the ocean, it is estimated to be home to more than 1,000,000 species.

 

More Well-Known Products Inspired by Nature

Velco from Grass Burrs (burdock burrs)

We all know Velcro – big in the 80’s, kind of annoying sound and still used on kid’s shoes and a range of other household items. Well it was inspired by burdock burrs (see image), which we know from long grass, they often get stuck on your socks.

Firefly Lightbulbs to LED

Scientists discovered that the illumination from fireflies was amplified by a combination of their insides and sharp jagged scales. The scientists then re-created this based on the firefly anatomy, and with the help of clever product development, manufacturing and marketing they developed the LED light. Of course the LED light has been a revelation in lighting using way less power, and emitting far more light than standard bulbs.

Let’s say you come up with an idea to manufacture, or innovate an existing product, would you know:

  1. Where to manufacture it – to the best quality and protect it from being copied?
  2. How to best negotiate the improvements with a manufacturer?
  3. Best path to market? Here’s a tip – it’s not online.

We have a pretty good idea, we do this every day and we work with small to medium size businesses and start-up importers that bring product from China and lots of other markets.

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