Building dreams and legacies.
Ian Peterman is the Founder and CEO of Peterman Design Firm.
Peterman Design Firm helps visionaries turn their ideas into brands and products that change the world. They launch multi-million dollar companies, providing the product design & development along with branding and start-up consulting.
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Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, we're all reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
and with us right now, we've got Ian Peterman. Ian, you are the founder and CEO of Peterman design firm. Thank you so much for joining us. Yeah, thanks for having me, Josh. Appreciate it. So what made you decide to put your name on the side of the building? Why Peterman design firm?
Um, well, it actually worked out the acronym for the for the company name is PDF and we do a lot of work with Adobe products. So that was kind of a little bit of a tongue in cheek there. Yeah. And then the other pieces. My name is unique. Yeah, in the design space there. So it's easy to have the name. Yeah, put up there.
Well, I and Rand would be pleased as well. She's a big fan of putting your name on your stuff. So, yeah. So how did you get into this? What we're going to talk about is kind of how someone can launch their product or business. If they have a concept for something. This is kind of what you do. Can you kind of explain exactly like who you work with and and what are some of the, you know, I'm on your website right now. So I see some beautiful things that you've helped get put together. Yeah, so we'll talk a little bit about that. Can Can you just kind of give me a kind of a quick overview of of what Peterman does,
yeah. So we are is a full service concept to cash flow and We work with clients to design develop, engineer, find and build a supply chain and actually then launch a product with the right branding we have no connections with marketing and then making sure that you know after you invest all that money in designing and developing our product, you actually launch it successfully and have a return on that investment.
Yeah, so say for example, like looking at some some things that in your portfolio, which kind of fun to see all the things that you've helped design. So I'm looking like I'm seeing here like a canister, a stackable, mobile canister system, a scrubbing brush, a sailboat Kai kayak sailing system.
That was a fun one.
that was a fun one like sailing.
I mean, so where does Where do you come in so our people just kind of show up. And they're like, Okay, I have this idea in my head. Is that where they usually come in? Are they a little bit more advanced than that?
It ranges so definitely we're people that are just, you know, at that I have an idea. And I'll do basically a idea review session with them just oh, you have an idea let's let's go over let's see how, how possible this is, you know, what's the market look like? You know, what, what is it going to cost to actually develop so I work with like, early early stage, or the inventor types that are constantly coming up with new ideas and help them figure out Should we go after it? Should we develop it? Is it worth the time and no, strategies based on shoot should patenting happen, things like that, kind of give them some direction on because there's so many different routes to go in, in developing our product. So definitely do that space and then also work with companies that are more solution centered. So they're they're looking more for, hey, we have, we either have a gap in our product line, and we need something that goes here. And they're not sure what and so we actually do have to do more market research and design research to figure out what is a good product, what's the market, put something that's going to fit into that market. And then the third direction that people have is they just have they have a problem. So they just come to me and they say, hey, there's this, this problem, I can't do X, there's no tool, there is no product that does what I need to have happen. I have no idea what the product is going to be I I just need something that's going to do and accomplish. Why no and what what is that and so then we develop a product that actually just does, whatever that is that they're looking for.
So it sounds like to me In that you have a core set of a certain set of skills. And then you also know a lot of people and and so you can provide some guidance through, hey, we have a partner who does IP law, and they can kind of help make sure that you can get your your patent and trademark taking care of things like that.
Yeah, so we have a, we have a core, you know, set of skills, so to speak, that we do, basically all the design, work, design, engineering, that kind of portion of it. And then is the last 15 years of doing product development. I know or can source manufacturers, we have some patent attorneys, we have marketing that we work with PR that we work with, you know, so the whole breadth of all the ancillary things that you know, you're designing new products, that's the core piece, but then you have all these other components and we work We either work with people that we've worked with before. So we have our own basic list of approved people we know do good work. And for the ones that we run into that need something really specialized, or just unique that we haven't touched before we go and source and find find the right person to do that job.
Yeah, how is this a? It's, you know, in your experience of working with clients, how does this solve a major a major problem for founders.
So in my experiences with founders, you know, they have, they have a good idea, and they might have a little bit of experience, but a lot of people that come up with new ideas for products are not product developers, they haven't worked in the space. And so really, the the problem that we're solving is that when you have an idea and you don't know how to do it, it's going to be either really expensive or really painful or you're gonna fail in the end. And so what we do is I bring my experiences and our vendors and all of a team and say, Okay, well we actually have done this before, we know how to do this. And so we walk the client through and say, this is, this is your idea, you know, we're not here to take your idea, this is yours, and we're just going to help you take that all the way through to where you have a successful product at the end. I mean, so it's basically that gap in experience and knowledge and, and tools, you know, we have multi thousand dollar software that we that we run and we have, you know, 3d printing that we have access to and, you know, all the tooling and things like that as prohibitively expensive if you were to just buy everything or try to do it all yourself and so that's, that's what we bring is a complete package of tools, experience and knowledge to launch products.
So how did you as the founder, come up with this is kind of, you know, designed certain But then just kind of this hub to everything that you need for launch.
It really came about from my experience starting out. So when I started out as a designer, I ended up being put in charge of basically a supply chain. And that kind of acted that expanded. I was a partner at a design firm before and we brought in branding and marketing and things like that. And so I've just over time I've I've experienced the entire process from concept to cash flow of products, and all the vendors that takes how each discipline required to do it. And so and in doing contract work and working with startups is realizing that they mostly just don't know all the pieces even required to really launch a product successfully. You know, it's, it's, it's not that there's like a smoke and mirrors and magic behind. It's just, there's Huge wealth of knowledge you have to have in order to actually do something like that. And so with talking to those clients and finding out their needs, it's a lot of startup inventor, you know, early stage, they really need a bunch of different components brought together and there's value and a lot of value for especially people in the startup space, that maybe don't have project managers on staff and they don't have this management team ready to manage 15 different vendors to be able to do some bring something together. That's where I recognize that I can I can basically be their project management, on top of actually designing because I can be a single point of contact for everyone that's needed.
And I would imagine in that you absolutely can save someone a lot of time. Ultimately, do you feel like you can also save the money
the way We save money is by avoiding easily easy mistakes that we've already we've already had and figured out. It's betting manufacturers properly. There's a lot of young men who've been dealing with manufacturers and the Kickstarter world has really, really shown this, it's really easy to go talk to manufacturer and say, Hey, can you do this? And they say, yes. But, you know, did they actually vet them? Can they actually do it? Can they deliver on time? And those those all add up pretty heavily to if you can't deliver your product to your customers, when you say you're going to they're going to have customer service issues. If it's not a good product you're going to have how many returns you're going to be dealing with Are you going to be replacing everything you know, not that most products are level of automobiles, but when you look at like when Toyota makes a mistake or somebody carmaker makes a mistake now they're recalling millions of cars Right. So if you're if you're one of those that has a really ambitious, huge idea, it's even more important that you put everything together properly, you, you test it, you make sure you validate everything. And that all takes, and it takes time. And it takes experience to be able to, you know, look at parts, inspect prototypes, and know when people are going to be able to deliver what they're supposed to deliver. And having backups. You know, that's the other thing I run into as being like, Oh, I have a manufacturer and they'll hit a space where that manufacturers like, well, we're, that was a year ago where we can't manufacture anything for you for another six months. Hmm. And they didn't think to have a backup manufacturer in case that happened or something like that.
Yeah, I mean, I can see where experience it would be exceptionally valuable in this. I mean, a couple of things. Number one, you know, we live in an era where you can't get away with a bad product. It's just not good. You might short term might be able to get a bunch of sales. But at the end of the day, I mean, it's consumers. Yeah, we really, I mean, we just have way too much. Consumers rely way too heavily upon the reviews of other consumers and other consumers. If there's a problem with the product, oh, trust me, that will let you know. And, you know, there can't be anything more frustrating than dumping $20,000 into, you know, manufacturing a, you know, a pallet full of product, and then come to find out, it's defective. I know, this especially, can be an issue with overseas manufacturing, and I'm sure you've had some experience with that.
Yes, yeah. And, and there, there's a whole nother component of, you know, language barrier and, you know, making sure and even with US companies, making sure that everybody actually understands what needs to be made and Making sure you have good tech specs, good drawings, good, good and just understanding of both the product and what's gonna actually be delivered on. So there's definitely been some times that I've been brought in for cleaning up a botched manufacturing and figuring it out and, and most of the time it just comes down to communication and experience and knowing what what does a manufacturer actually need? What does the marketing team actually need to deliver what you want? And it's communicating in their language in their way what how, how do you know engineers have their own way of understanding things, marketers have their own thing design and so there's a lot of different cross communication and even if we all speak English or any other language, it's there's still so much technical jargon, so to speak behind each industry that you Need to produce a product that it's, it can be overwhelming and mistakes can happen. And just not understanding what those what those words mean.
Ian, what would you recommend just in terms of if I want to hire a design firm? What would be some of the things that maybe questions I'd want to ask or, you know, especially, you know, if I'm a founder, and I'm concerned about budget, you know, what should I still make sure is, listen, I know you want to save money, but you just absolutely can't shortcut yourself on X, Y, and Z. Like, what's your advice on that?
Um, the advice on that is that really the the key pieces are the upfront work. So a lot of people really want to skimp on design or they want to skimp on engineering. And those are those are key places that if you do that, you end up costing yourself More money down the line. And really, it's if you are wanting to do something a little bit more on budget, then it's being willing to cut back product features. And understanding that there's a there's a certain level of what you can get for a price and and yet cheap can be good, but don't fall into that trap. Because if you do that cheap product, and it's and you're trying to sell it as not a cheap product, you're gonna have future issues at hand. And so, you know that the biggest the biggest savings is really do your design work, do your market research. You know, one of the things that I do with clients and require almost every time that we do some sort of market research, market analysis, you know, consumer level research just to make sure is the product actually going to be marketable. Because I spent far too many years in my early career working on ideas that nobody did any of that and no one's gonna buy it, then it's a waste of money and you're going to be, no one's going to be happy. So it's making sure you do those early stage components really is going to save you on the back end, because it's much better to spend a few thousand dollars researching everything, and then find out we shouldn't do it. And then to go, Okay, well, yeah, we have 20 grand and let's just let's just do what we can for 20 grand develop a product get there and launch it and then find out it wasn't wasn't ready yet or market wasn't ready for. Nobody really wanted to purchase it.
Yeah. So in Ian, you know, in terms of being the founder of a design firm, what have you done that's allowed you to maybe grow and scale a little bit faster than some other design firms out there are freelancers you know, folks guys are Just doing it on the side.
Yeah, so having done freelancing myself and then working on a design level and running my own, on this scale really just comes from being able to use the designers around me. So I've hired designers, I have a core team. And being able to do that is what allows me to scale is having that additional expertise, it just adds adds a level of double checking and making sure that we're doing things right. And, you know, that allows me to focus on the part that I really love, which is more on project management and making sure that vision of the project is is being held on. And so that that's really where the scale is, is making sure to hire good designers to have the experience that really add to your team and so that's what I've done is hire, hire people that match well.
Well, Ian Peterman You are the founder and CEO of Peterman design firm, you're on the web at Peterman firm calm and that's Peterman n a n. Firm calm. Thank you so much for joining us.
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