You’re ready to build your product, but how do you make a prototype?
My name is Chanel Lindsay and I’m founder of Ardent. We’ve created a decarboxylation device that helps cannabis patients make accurate medicine and various cannabis products. When you’re moving into the building stage, the first thing you need to do is make a prototype. A prototype helps you shop your idea around to people who would invest in your company and helps you get feedback from your early customers. The prototype is also an incredibly important part of the product-building process.
Identify a Source for Your Base Components
The first thing you need to do when you’re building your prototype is figure out the company that is going to source and provide the base components. So when you’re building a prototype, you’re most likely going to start out buying individual components for your device and then having somebody assemble them or put them together for you. It can be difficult, though, to find your product and the pieces of your product without spending a ton of money. So you really need to make sure that you have a budget for your prototype because it can get very, very expensive when you’re buying small quantities of the particular items you need.
Make sure that you are partnering up with companies that specialize in prototyping or producing small runs. That will help you save costs while you’re moving through the process and will also set you up to have relationships with other vendors. The great thing about the vendors that you’ll go to for your small runs is that they often have relationships with vendors that do large production. This means you’ll be able to move quickly from the prototyping phase into the larger scale production phase.
Set a Generous Budget for Protoyping
Remember that the prototyping phase is going to be hard and it’s going to take a lot longer and cost a lot more than you originally predict, so be prepared. When you’re building your prototyping budget, build in a little bit of extra cushion so that you can make sure that you’re at least able to get to that first proof of concept stage before you run out of money and need to get more.
Movimg into Large-Scale Production
After you’ve built the prototype and the customers see what an awesome product you’ve created, you’re going to get more orders. When you get more orders, you’re going to realize a couple of things. First of all, if you keep making small batches of items, it’s probably going to cost you quite a bit, and while you’ll have more sales, your company really won’t be making any money.
You’ll need to move from making small batches of units into making large batches of units. You’ll move from prototyping into large-scale production. There are a lot of things to consider when you’re moving into large-scale production: whether or not you’re going to own the factory and your production facility or whether you’re going to contract with a facility to produce your goods.
Another big consideration is how many units you’re going to make at a particular time. It is really advisable when you’re moving into full production to still make a kind of small purchase order for the first batch of units, because there are always things that get lost in translation or need to be updated when you’re moving from doing things in small batches to doing things on a grand scale.
About Shanel Lindsay
Shanel A. Lindsay is an attorney, entrepreneur, and cannabis advocate. She is the founder and president of Ardent, LLC, a Boston-based biotech company created to provide safe, effective, and convenient products within the cannabis industry. As a drafter of Question 4, Massachusetts’ adult use cannabis law, founding member and co-chair of the Northeast Cannabis Coalition, Massachusetts Patients Advocacy Alliance Patient Advisory Board member, and well-known advocate for cannabis legalization on the east coast and beyond, Shanel is dedicated to improving public understanding of cannabis’ benefits.
Shanel graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and Northeastern University School of Law and began her career as a judicial law clerk for the Massachusetts Superior Court. She then joined the Boston law firm of Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak & Cohen, serving as a civil litigator for Fortune 500 companies before becoming Employment Counsel and Director of Human Resources for the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission. For over 15 years, Shanel has used cannabis medicinally as an alternative to pharmaceuticals. Alongside her professional pursuits, she gained first-hand expertise with various methods of extracting, preparing, and applying cannabis compounds. She leveraged her experience as a patient, business professional, lawyer, and advocate to develop Ardent, LLC. Through her company and continued advocacy, Shanel remains deeply committed to promoting cannabis education in Massachusetts and beyond and is excited to join the faculty of Northeastern Institute of Cannabis.