Grand St. aims to give independent hardware manufacturers a place to sell their products and to test prototypes.
If you’re looking to get any consumer electronic to the marketplace, there’s an arduous process involved. One of the biggest obstacles is getting funding for a venture that could miss the mark. Another is finding customers interested in your product.
Grand St. provides potential solutions for both problems.
Right now, the site is the place to get The Loop, a leather organizer that can charge your iPhone. There’s also a hackable alarm clock kit and an iOS enabled guitar for sale there, now.
Fortune says that the addition of independent manufacturers selling their gadgets on the site has turned it into the Etsy of the electronics world.
On the official Grand St. blog, co-founder Amanda Peyton explains:
“Our goal has always been to create a better way for hardware creators to find an audience and get their products to market. For this new version of Grand St. we wanted to create a flexible solution that addressed indie hardware makers at different stages in the development cycle.”
The company says it now has about 200,000 users. And indie gadget makers have three ways to sell their new products through the site:
When you’re ready to sell the gadget you’ve created, you can list it through the Grand St. Shop. Grand St. says it previews and must approve any new listing. If a product doesn’t make the cut, Grand St. notifies the maker of its reasons for rejection.
If a product is approved and listed, the site takes an 8 percent commission on all sales. It takes the same commission on Beta sales. These are products that haven’t received any customer feedback and aren’t quite ready for a mass audience.
A Beta product maker can pick testers for the products and await their feedback. Based on the feedback, Grand St. says the maker of the product can then decide to seek more funding for changes or get the product ready for the marketplace or pre-order sales.
If a product is within six months of being ready for the marketplace, it can be sold through a pre-order feature on Grand St. The site doesn’t take a commission on those sales and there are no monthly fees linked to selling on Grand St.
Sellers need to handle all their customer service and shipping commitments, the company notes in its seller guidelines.