Would you like to design for Fred?

INTRODUCTION

We are currently working with many designers from around the world – a process that is fun, constructive, and hopefully profitable for all involved.

Some reasons you may enjoy partnering with us:

1. We truly value design and work like crazy to refine and preserve the original idea behind every product. We hate compromises, and we don’t “dumb it down.”

2. We enjoy collaboration. While respecting the designer’s contribution, our in-house staff supports the designer and helps implement the design.

3. We source intelligently – finding the best materials and manufacturing processes to achieve a functional, durable, attractive product at a price point the market will accept, resulting in a product that you will be proud to be associated with.

4. No product is finished until it's beautifully packaged. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and we work hard so our packages make a good one.

5. We give you full credit – on the product when possible, on the packaging, on our marketing materials, and on the website – your name is front and center.

6. We’re very visible worldwide. Search the web for our products and you’ll see lots of exposure on blogs and e-commerce sites; we’re also regularly featured on international media.

7. We pay a fair royalty, we’re nice, and we’re honest. You’d expect us to say that, of course, but really – the designers who work with us always come back again, because they’re happy with the outcome.

HOW THE PROCESS WORKS

We invite you to present your product ideas by email. We don’t require elaborate presentations or highly developed drawings. The best ideas come through clearly even if scribbled on a napkin. We are, however, interested to know what you think about your idea and how you developed and refined it. This helps us understand both you and the design better.

It is easiest/fastest/most efficient to work on a good-faith basis. We are not in the business of ripping off designers, because we’re designers too! We value our reputation for original ideas and market integrity.

If you'd like to proceed on this basis, please go ahead and tell us more!

However, if you're feeling cautious, you might want to try a slower approach – restrict your initial disclosure to the bare minimum – just tell us what category the product falls into and how it might be used. If you tell us it’s a television or a streetlamp, we can say stop, that’s enough, we’re not really interested, don’t reveal anything more! If it’s a product area or functionality that interests us, we’ll ask you to proceed with more detail, one step at a time.

Then, we will try to give you our most useful feedback. Sometimes, it may be stuff you don’t want to hear, but we basically think honesty is more important than diplomacy in these matters. If the idea is a minor variation on an existing product, or if it’s already been done (unbeknownst to you), or if it exists in one of our many sketchbooks, or if it doesn’t seem practical to us, or unsafe, or impossible or costly to manufacture, or just plain wrong, we’ll tell you that too.

On the other hand, we might love it! When we identify an item that we’re interested in producing we make a general agreement with the designer that allows us to take some time to test the item for production and marketing – to make sure we can build proper tools, to find the right material, to produce the product to good quality standards at a price that's acceptable to the market. At this stage, the designer agrees to stop showing the item in public, blogging it actively, or offering it to other manufacturers. This stage usually requires 30-90 days.

When we are satisfied that the product is practical and marketable, we write a formal license agreement that specifies royalty rate, term, guarantee, and advance. The basic contract is rather standard – it has some fine print because it's written by lawyers, but nothing tricky. Depending on the specific details of your design we’ll negotiate a royalty with you that has a specific term, a royalty rate, an advance, and often a guaranteed amount. We’ll negotiate this with you in good faith and explain our positions clearly. Royalties are paid quarterly, and we supply screen captures from our business-operations software to substantiate the sales figures.

Then we get to work on the product development. Sometimes we do the bulk of the final design development, sometimes we ask you to share the load – it varies from product to product. Whenever there are big design decisions to be made, we solicit your input, because we want you to be proud of the final product.

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT OUR BUSINESS

Our business is focused on a few categories of product: kitchen, tabletop, party, desk, baby and kids, and personal accessories. We are also interested in expanding into bath, garden, and pets. We think our product range reflects a point-of-view, an attitude about living, a personality (a rather funny personality, we hope). We love iconic products, ironic materials and imagery, and surprises. We really believe that the most successful products make an emotional connection with the buyer and the user, and often serve as strong social and personal expressions.

In regard to marketing, our home territory is the US and Canada. We also have sales agents in the UK, Europe, Japan, and Australia, and we sell direct to retailers all over the rest of the world. We manage to maintain a pretty high profile, and we get a lot of blog recognition and publicity. Here in North America, our customer base includes specialty retailers such as Urban Outfitters, MOMA store, Cost Plus and Sur La Table. Our product is sold online, both here on this website and at other online merchants like perpetualkid.com and amazon.com. We maintain a broad-based sales effort, with representatives in every state and booths at all the industry events.

WHAT NEXT?

We want to hear from you. Please send your product suggestions, descriptions, drawings, whatever, to our Product Development team, pd@fredandfriends.com. We will confirm receipt and give you our most helpful feedback.

Thank you for your interest in working with us!