Selling your own modules

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gialg
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Selling your own modules

Post by gialg » Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:48 am

Let me know if this is out of topic. I am new to Muff Wiggler.

I am an engineer, making a living through software but spent my university life (and that was 20 years ago) studying mostly electronic engineering.

I recently discovered modular synthesisers and fell in love with them. Having experienced the speed at which moneys flows out of my wallet, I decided to use my dusty skills and design and print PCBs for a few modules (namely a VCO based on AS3340, a ADSR EG based on AS3310, and a 24db low pass based on the AS3320). I plan to continue and start experimenting with more complex design.

While the goal here is strictly personal -- I want to build stuff for myself -- I now have a few extra PCBs and enough high quality components to build more modules than I need. Despite their simplicity, I am happy with the results I have got and I wouldn't classify what I did as crappy cheap modules.

So my questions are:

1. How's the culture of selling your own design in the Eurorack community? How do I start? Or better yet, should I do it? If so, do you suggest to sell DYI kits or assembled modules?

I am definitely not expecting to make a considerable amount of money out of this.

Thanks in advance!

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Muff McMuff
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Re: Selling your own modules

Post by Muff McMuff » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:03 am

I think you have to share your builds and modules on social media and online like here on Muffs. Start a thread showing off your VCO. Make some demo videos, even short clips and post them on Instagram. Instagram seems to be popular for short demos. Youtube for longer videos. Mention you have spare PCB's and you are selling them. Sell them on ebay, etsy. See where it leads and what happens. You will get feedback especially if something doesn't work as expected! Good luck.

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EATyourGUITAR
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Re: Selling your own modules

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:54 am

it is a small group of people located globally. modular companies usually produce for about 4 years. some of them never die. some of them are zombies selling old IP. feel free to announce your product here. one thread is fine. this is not a FS area of the site but we always welcome marketing communications and user speculation. sometimes your fans will see a leak on modulargrid and post about your module before you do. the biggest decision you need to make is pricing and distribution. if you are big or small you need a viable margin and a working means of fulfillment. don't expect everyone to buy your modules, that depends on many factors. if you make something good, and price it well, it may not sell without good marketing. I am like you in that I make 10 modules and sell 9 keep 1. it has been very hard for me to get distributors to work with me unless I do consignment which is a very one way 0 risk scummy way of doing business. if two companies do business together and one of them sheds the risk usually that is called paying for insurance. but they haven't actually paid you. they are in debt to you. ask the PCB factory if they will ship you something without payment. the sad truth of this industry is that big players make the rules. little guys have to do excellent consistent customer service and they have to grind out the marketing with a real online persona consistently day after day. if you put this down as a business expense you make $1 per hour. you also need to go to trade shows after you have a full product line and they are not selling. now you are spending thousands in marketing to not lose thousands in modules. then when the orders come in you need to scale up. then after you scale up you go back into the consignment model. :waah:
WWW.EATYOURGUITAR.COM <---- MY DIY STUFF

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forrest
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Re: Selling your own modules

Post by forrest » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:18 am

Gotta love it a lot to make it worth the while.. There are trade threads in the DIY forum, lots of builders here who enjoy swapping and building other peoples designs. Cheers

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MARK27
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Re: Selling your own modules

Post by MARK27 » Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:45 pm

I love being able to buy stuff from boutique operations, especially new ones.

That being said, they have to offer something new, whether it is new functionality or just a new and better UI for something common.

It definitely seems like you have to have a passion for the work and be prepared for a rocky road the first couple of years. But I guess that's the same for any non-predatory business.

When I imagine how difficult it must be to get a modular business off the ground, I am inspired by Eric from Schlappi Engineering, Tom from Serpens Modular, Finlay from Future Sound Systems, Raph of Michigan Synth Works, and Matthew from North Coast Synthesis. These are just a few of the gentlemen running small, one-man operations that could (and might be inclined to) talk to you about those initial phases of getting a modular business off the ground. I have found them all to be friendly and helpful in general. Great fellas, all. They are all likely too busy to hang around MW, but if you write any of these guys, they will more than likely write you back.

Just don't tell them it was me who suggested them. :omg:

gialg
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Re: Selling your own modules

Post by gialg » Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:03 pm

Muff McMuff wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:03 am
I think you have to share your builds and modules on social media and online like here on Muffs. Start a thread showing off your VCO. Make some demo videos, even short clips and post them on Instagram. Instagram seems to be popular for short demos. Youtube for longer videos. Mention you have spare PCB's and you are selling them. Sell them on ebay, etsy. See where it leads and what happens. You will get feedback especially if something doesn't work as expected! Good luck.
Thank you for this reply. It really helped me understanding how to approach this. I'll definitely get some videos to show the working of the VCO. I am generationally afraid of instagram but I might try to challenge that phobia. :-)

gialg
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Re: Selling your own modules

Post by gialg » Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:07 pm

EATyourGUITAR wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:54 am
it is a small group of people located globally. modular companies usually produce for about 4 years. some of them never die. some of them are zombies selling old IP. feel free to announce your product here. one thread is fine. this is not a FS area of the site but we always welcome marketing communications and user speculation. sometimes your fans will see a leak on modulargrid and post about your module before you do. the biggest decision you need to make is pricing and distribution. if you are big or small you need a viable margin and a working means of fulfillment. don't expect everyone to buy your modules, that depends on many factors. if you make something good, and price it well, it may not sell without good marketing. I am like you in that I make 10 modules and sell 9 keep 1. it has been very hard for me to get distributors to work with me unless I do consignment which is a very one way 0 risk scummy way of doing business. if two companies do business together and one of them sheds the risk usually that is called paying for insurance. but they haven't actually paid you. they are in debt to you. ask the PCB factory if they will ship you something without payment. the sad truth of this industry is that big players make the rules. little guys have to do excellent consistent customer service and they have to grind out the marketing with a real online persona consistently day after day. if you put this down as a business expense you make $1 per hour. you also need to go to trade shows after you have a full product line and they are not selling. now you are spending thousands in marketing to not lose thousands in modules. then when the orders come in you need to scale up. then after you scale up you go back into the consignment model. :waah:

Thank you for writing this up! I can imagine how hard must be to have a profitable small business in this environment. I am -- I think -- not shooting for actually setting up a business, but mostly to recover the losses that this new hobby is bringing me. In general it's nice to show your own work and getting feedback.

gialg
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Re: Selling your own modules

Post by gialg » Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:09 pm

forrest wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:18 am
Gotta love it a lot to make it worth the while.. There are trade threads in the DIY forum, lots of builders here who enjoy swapping and building other peoples designs. Cheers
Yeah, there's lot of love, it is already worth the while! ;)

Thanks, I'll take a look at the forum!

gialg
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Re: Selling your own modules

Post by gialg » Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:21 pm

MARK27 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:45 pm
I love being able to buy stuff from boutique operations, especially new ones.

That being said, they have to offer something new, whether it is new functionality or just a new and better UI for something common.
Don't think I am there yet. I am essentially learning modular synthesis. I started from software -- my knee jerk reflex as a software engineer -- writing first an FFT-based synthesizer that simulated analog, then got lost in FM synthesis, very simple in software.

I am now instead building actual stuff, and what I build reflects my need: understanding the basic blocks of synthesis. I am building modules that do one thing and do it well. I am going for classic and simple modules. No frills, no exciting graphics.
MARK27 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:45 pm
It definitely seems like you have to have a passion for the work and be prepared for a rocky road the first couple of years. But I guess that's the same for any non-predatory business.
Yes, and to be honest a rocky road doesn't really scare me. This is a hobby, and I really like what I am seeing around, given the culture and the exciting mix between engineers and musicians, often the same people.
MARK27 wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 10:45 pm
When I imagine how difficult it must be to get a modular business off the ground, I am inspired by Eric from Schlappi Engineering, Tom from Serpens Modular, Finlay from Future Sound Systems, Raph of Michigan Synth Works, and Matthew from North Coast Synthesis. These are just a few of the gentlemen running small, one-man operations that could (and might be inclined to) talk to you about those initial phases of getting a modular business off the ground. I have found them all to be friendly and helpful in general. Great fellas, all. They are all likely too busy to hang around MW, but if you write any of these guys, they will more than likely write you back.

Just don't tell them it was me who suggested them. :omg:
Hah. Okay, won't tell! ;)

Thanks for the pointers, yes they are really inspiring!

I have just sent a few modules to friends that have modulars at home. I am really curious of what they think!

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EATyourGUITAR
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Re: Selling your own modules

Post by EATyourGUITAR » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:08 pm

By the way, if you check the seo on google search for modular synth DIY, eurorack DIY, eurorack PCB, you will see 4 big companies and 1 little one. AI synthesis got to be in the top 5 by interacting with people on forums and creating a product that penetrates into ancillary markets that greatly influences the Google algorithm to promote him as a relevant topic of discussion. The other companies did this also but this was done by the customers and the forum users themselves and took longer to rank up. You can't do it with bots but you can work harder or do things that the competition are sleeping on. If you release a flagship module every 3 months you will get a huge free bump in user promotion and loyalty therefore market share. Communication with customers needs to be responsive, professional, and equitable. If you burn one person on your obligation to support your products before or after the sale then they will do serious damage to your reputation and in some cases that is an intentional vindictive manipulative type-A business person with a huge ego. The only way to survive in that environment is to provide email responses and product replacements even in the middle of a global pandemic even if your building is under order to close for pandemic or riots or fire. People will trash first then when they find out it was on fire they will walk away without fixing the reputation.
WWW.EATYOURGUITAR.COM <---- MY DIY STUFF

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abelovesfun
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Re: Selling your own modules

Post by abelovesfun » Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:16 pm

I'm always happy to do virtual interviews on the subject. You can reach out to me via the /contact page on my site. I only check in here every other day or so.
Super Easy, Awesome DIY kits @ http://www.aisynthesis.com
modular ambient and composery music @ http://www.forcedamage.com/
https://www.facebook.com/forcedamagemusic

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