With the growing culture of entrepreneurship and innovation around the world, more and more people have ideas for products that might change people’s lives. Whether it’s a new line of eco-friendly clothing or a special light fixture that reduces seasonal affect disorder, people have products that need to be manufactured. The only question is how? How do we transform our vision for a product into a fully-manufactured reality?
IVY member Kevin Chan is banking on a lot of people asking that same question. His new startup, Maderight, streamlines the production process, connecting individuals with seasoned production managers, ethical manufacturing facilities, and advice on scale and growth. Kevin sat down with IVY Magazine to talk about his reasons for starting Maderight and some of ways Maderight is making manufacturing easier by reinventing it for the modern age.
Kevin is an IVY Member (SF). Connect and collaborate with him here.
IVY: What are the biggest opportunities in manufacturing that no one is talking about?
We live in a society where resource-sharing is king. Uber dominates the transportation industry, Airbnb dominates the hospitality industry, but there’s nobody doing the same thing for the manufacturing industry.
Right now, most designers and brands are attempting to work with factories by themselves. The problem is that most manufacturing has moved overseas, and almost everybody with the knowledge of the entire process has moved along with it. As a result, brands are either spending 90% of their time dealing with headaches caused by miscommunication or they are hiring from a small pool of (expensive) production managers that still understand manufacturing.
We see this as the perfect opportunity to make the entire industry more efficient. We work with manufacturers and brands day-in and day-out, so we know what both sides want to see and where they typically miscommunicate. This means fewer errors, saved time, and lower costs for everyone involved.
IVY: What was the impetus for Maderight? What are the key things IVY Members should know about you guys?
Prior to starting Maderight, my co-founders and I had our own clothing brand. While running the brand, other brands and designers were constantly asking us for manufacturing and logistics support.
Our initial hypothesis was that people had trouble finding trustworthy manufacturers, so we initially entertained creating a Yelp for factories. We even got accepted to the top accelerators, Y Combinator and StartX, with that idea. However, just one week into starting the company and talking to potential customers, we realized we were wrong. What people actually wanted was a service that would manage the entire development and production process for them, which is what we offer today.
Everyone on our team loves products. If you have an idea, reach out and we’ll try to make it happen. It doesn’t matter how crazy it sounds, we’ve probably heard something even crazier and we’ve probably tried to make it happen.
IVY: What’s been the #1 toughest challenge you’ve faced while starting the business, and how did you overcome it?
Our team has a very hard time saying “no” to new clients. No matter how absurd the product idea or how far away it was from our expertise, we worked to help make their vision a reality. This has meant taking time away from servicing our existing clients.
Now, we try more to focus on the products that we have expertise in and pass everything else along to more knowledgeable people.
IVY: What is your most audacious life goal?
My personal mission is to inspire others to become the best version of themselves. I like to inspire by example so you’ll always see me challenging every aspect of myself. Most recently, I’ve signed up for a triathlon, started my own business, and took classes to become a better listener.
IVY: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Do the things that scare you. Everybody has activities that fall in their “avoid at all costs” list and many of them are irrational fears. When I was younger, those activities included anything that involved speaking to another person. My social anxiety was so bad that I was too scared even to order food at restaurants.
Now, whenever I am in a situation that makes me nervous, I just stop and ask myself “what’s the worst that can happen?” With this, I’ve slowly worked my way up the “avoid at all costs” list and have went from not being able to order food to pitching in front of hundreds of investors and colleagues.
IVY: Why should members reach out? What are the best ways they can support you?
People come up with a lot of great ideas but a lot of them never stand a chance of getting made because people don’t know where to start. Help us get the word out about Maderight (www.maderight.co) so more people can realize their dream.
IVY is dedicated to fostering a community for thriving people—inspiring connection, collaboration, and growth. To learn more, visit www.ivy.com.