Got a product idea? Watch the movie Joy

If you have a product idea and don’t know what to do with it, you must watch the movie Joy.

Joy20th Century Fox

This is the true story of Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) who invents the Miracle Mop. The life of inventor Joy Mangano’s path to success was paved with roadblocks both inside and outside of the family. Despite all the obstacles, she managed to carry through and created her own business empire. Here’s the official movie trailer.

Joy20th Century Fox

The first half of the movie is a bit slow, (in my opinion), but the pace picks up when Joy meets with a TV executive (Brad Cooper) at QVC, North America’s largest shopping channel at the time.

I loved the movie because my story is very similar to Joy’s in many ways. I can relate to all the sacrifice and obstacles she went through to bring her mop to the market. Almost 15 years ago, I came up with a product idea, a picture hanging tool, that my business partner and I brought to the market. It’s now sold at large retailers such as The Home Depot, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and more across North America. Since then, we’ve brought additional patented products to the market. Along the way I’ve certainly learned a few lessons; sometimes very expensive ones.

Over the years, I met lots of people with great ideas. Often their biggest challenge was not knowing what to do with it. So, if you have a product idea, here are 9 things to think about:

  1. Don’t tell anyone about your idea unless they’ve signed an NDA (Non disclosure agreement) to protect against someone stealing it from you (as seen in the movie).
  2. Know your competition. Do an internet search to see if there’s anything like your product idea currently being sold.
  3. What problem does your idea solve? How many people have this problem?
  4. Think about who would buy it. Who is your target market?
  5. Test the idea with friends (after they’ve signed an NDA) – listen to their feedback.
  6. Ask yourself if you really have the skills to develop the idea. If yes, be prepared for a long journey, as nothing happens overnight.
  7. If you don’t have the skills, consider how you might sell your idea. For example, another company brings it to the market and you get a royalty cheque.
  8. Ask for advice from people who have experience in product development, manufacturing, marketing and sales.
  9. Based on the results to the above questions, decide if you should pursue it further.

As the owners of a new product and design company, my business partner and I have been through this scenario many times. We’ve come to understand each step involved in bringing an idea to market, taking it from the initial concept all the way to store level.

Here’s Joy drawing the design of her self-wringing mop with her daughter by her side.

Joy20th Century Fox

To succeed as an entrepreneur you have to be gutsy, believe in yourself and not be afraid to make mistakes. There are lots of strong female role models in the movie (especially her grandmother, Mimi), which we need more of in the world. I have two daughters, so these characters are inspirational for us.

Joy20th Century Fox

There are funny scenes from the movie I can relate to. Being kicked out of a parking lot is one of them. In my case the police didn’t’ come, but a security agent did. I was doing a color marketing survey for our tool, chatting with customers as they went in and out of the store.

Another one was freezing on stage at QVC , as seen in the movie. It was only for a few seconds, but nevertheless the whole experience was very overwhelming.

I’d love to meet Joy Mangano, since we have similar stories. It would be so much fun to compare notes. I’m glad Jennifer Lawrence has received a nomination for best actress; this movie needs to be seen.

We’re always looking to develop new products that solve problems and help make life easier. If you have an innovative product idea you think we should consider, we’d love to hear about it. Share your idea here.

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