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How I Brought My First Product to Market – Idea to Launch


In 2021, i quit my job to explore new opportunities as a creative. At this same time, my friends at grovemade asked if i wanted to collaborate on designing a desk accessory product from scratch. I’ve never designed a physical product before, but i was up for the challenge. And now 2 years later, it’s finally here. Hello, i’m matthew encina, and in this video, i’l share the process of bringing a product to market. Before i begin, i want to thank shopify for sponsoring this video, more on that later. A quick backstory: i’m a los angeles-based creative director, who loves to build things and make content on productivity and creativity, under my company, mod musings. Grovemade, based in portland, is a high-quality desk accessory maker, who shares my passion for improving the ways we work. They love my content, i love their products, and after years of working with each other, we finally decided to design something together.

The Double Diamond Design Process

When it comes to developing a product, there’s a process that is common across all design disciplines known as the double diamond. It’s a series of iterative phases that alternate between expansive exploration followed by focused refinement. You begin by exploring what it could be, then define what it should be. From there, you develop and refine until you deliver your final product. I’l break this down so it’s easy to understand.

Discover Phase: Understand the Problem

The first phase: discover. We explore the problem and observe with an open mind. For our project, ken and sean from the grovemade team fly out to los angeles to study my environment and how i work. We did the same study with my mentor, chris do, and from both of these sessions, we quickly notice some overlap and challenges when it comes to note-taking, a big part of our daily work. As a follow-up to these in-person interviews, we conduct a series of online surveys with grovemade’s email list. We ask questions to learn how people take notes. What their workflow and tools are. And what challenges they face. From all of these, we were able to make the following observations:. First, taking notes is essential to our daily work. Usually, on calls and when consuming information, using notepads or whatever paper is on our desk. Second, we don’t have a good way to store our notes, which usually leaves a mess on our desks, or are hidden out of sight out of mind.

Define Phase: Determine the Design Challenge

Define. Here we make sense of our discoveries and focus on the right problem to solve. While the previous phase was all about expansive thinking, now we’re narrowing things down till we have a clear design challenge. I fly out to portland to review our insights with the grovemade team. Here we kick things around and ask ourselves: what are the common insights and pain-points? Does this seem like a big enough problem that others face? Are there already solutions on the market? And is this something we’re excited about? After much discussion, we land on the following as the challenge we want to address: how can we design a better way to capture, review, and store notes?

Develop Phase: Explore Potential Solutions

With a clear design challenge established, we move on to the next phase: develop. Here we go back into an expansive way of thinking, now exploring potential solutions. We continue to work remotely, running whiteboard sessions digitally in miro. For a few weeks, we set time aside to sketch ideas, share research, and add to each other's work. For me, this is the fun part of the process because it’s loose, fast, and is exciting to possibilities, rather quickly. In portland, some of sean’s sketches include quick prototypes made of cardboard, old scraps, and 3d printing, which he sends me for review. An unexpected challenge in this process comes up with the notepad paper stock, and we spend a few weeks trying to find the perfect thickness that would stand up on its own, without feeling excessive, like card stock. This entire process takes several months of cycles to complete. We refine ideas we like, test them out, then make adjustments to the form and function. Dialing in the details of dimensions, angles, and materials. We settle on a direction that involves a set of tools that work together: an updated notepad size from a previous grovemade design, a stand to hold notes, and a divider to store them.

Deliver Phase: Build the Solution that Works

Now we move into the last phase of creating the product: deliver—the implementation of taking the prototype and turning it into a production model. This is the last part of the design process, and we’re back into convergent thinking. We know what the solution is, now the focus is building it the right way. This whole process takes months. It’s largely out of my hands, and now under the care of the implementation team at grovemade. They finalize the sourcing of materials, develop how each piece will be made, and the processes for assembly. Determining the costs to make each piece. This slightly influences the final design and price, but not by much since sean and ken kept manufacturing in mind as we went through the earlier phases. After several months, grovemade sends me the final product, which i’l give a detailed review of at the end of the video. As the implementation team at grovemade is completing the manufacturing of the products.

Product Naming, Messaging & Marketing Overview

There’s a few more things we have to take care of to get the product ready to sell: naming, messaging, and marketing. Naming is such a critical part of bringing a product to market, because it helps define its identity.

Product Naming Process

For us, we have to name the individual products we’ve created, as well as name the collection, since they’l be sold individually and as a group. Our criteria are to: fit within the naming conventions of other grovemade products. Communicate what it does. Is nice to say and looks good when typeset. And, uses words that are common in the market, but utilize any distinctions that set it apart. Just like the double diamond approach we use for design, we follow a similar approach here. We start by writing down whatever comes to mind. Then curate the words and phrases we like. From there, we expand: researching words that carry the same meaning. Then combine, edit, and try out sets of words together until we land on these: the note-taking kit. Notepad. Display rail. And veritcal organizer. They might seem simple, but there’s a lot of consideration into how they live in the current and future grovemade lineup, and where they might appear when searching for these items online.

Developing the Brand Messaging for the Product

With the names established, we move on to messaging. These are the core talking points to communicate the essence of the products. I take the lead on this because marketing and content is my area of expertise and what i bring to the collaboration. In this step, i try to keep the language clear and direct to answer the core questions we need to understand before marketing. What is the product? How does it work? Who is it designed for? And why is it valuable? Going back to our research and surveys, i put my head into the mind of our users. Thinking of their pain-points and goals when it comes to note-taking. The core messaging i land on is this: the note-taking kit is a set of tools to help you capture, review, and recall your notes. Clear the clutter. Organize your ideas.

Product Marketing Using Organic Content

Now that we know what we’l talk about, we move onto how we’l say it. The messaging translates into the copywriting on the website and packaging. As well as the story for videos and media we’re creating to generate awareness and excitement for the product. Since grovemade and i have spent years developing an audience on our respective channels, our marketing efforts will be focused here. I’l release a series of videos and posts on my youtube and instagram, and grovemade will do the same on their accounts and email list. This should create interest in our products and drive prospects to the grovemade website, where they can learn more and purchase if they’re interested.

Sponsored Segment by Shopify

Around it’s never been easier. There’s so much great information out there. Production is accessible globally. And we have fantastic tools to run it all, like shopify, the sponsor of today’s video. Shopify is an all-in-one commerce platform that helps you easily open and manage a shop. Empower your business with a suite of tools to sell your products online, on social, or in-person. Making the hard stuff simple, like updating your shop, managing inventory, and payments. A challenging aspect of a business is growth. That’s why there’s shopify learn, with courses from over 90 instructors to learn from, and a community of entrepreneurs to grow with.

Product Reveal: The Note-Taking Kit

After 2 years of design and development i’m proud to share the note-taking kit by grovemade and mod musings. What started with an exploration of the note-taking process, resulted in a set of tools to help you capture, review, and recall your notes. The notepad features a dot grid pattern paper that allows you to capture your thoughts neatly. And the heavy base enables you to flip pages with just one hand, making it effortless to keep up with conversations and take note of what's important. With the display rail, you can keep your notes and devices upright and accessible, allowing you to review them quickly and keep tasks top of mind during your busy day. And the vertical organizer helps you store and sort your notes until you're ready to recall them. Keeping your workspace clean while still being able to access your notes whenever you need them. The note-taking kit is available in a few finishes including: maple with light gray felt, walnut with dark gray felt, and a limited mod musings edition in white oak and black leather to commemorate the collaboration. We designed the note-taking kit to help you clear the clutter, organize your thoughts, and keep your important tasks top of mind. Available now at

Reflections After Launching a Product

Collaborating with grovemade has taught me so much, and i’m grateful to have them as a partner. There are so many more details that go into launching a product, but hopefully, this video gives you an overview of the process, and a glimpse of how much work it takes. If you have any questions, ask, and i’l do my best to answer. And if you enjoyed this video, leave a comment, share with a friend, and consider the note-taking kit. I appreciate any support you give me. I’l be making more content on how i use the note-taking kit in my workflow, so subscribe if you want to follow along for updates.

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