How To Turn Your Idea Into a Product on Store Shelves

How To Turn Your Idea Into a Product on Store Shelves

[The original version of this post was shared on 12/30/11.]

How do I make my idea into a product?

If you’re asking yourself that right now, you’ve come to the right place. Edison Nation was created to solve that exact problem and make it easier for everyday people to bring their ideas to market.

If I’d had the answer to this question say, 20 years ago, I might’ve sealed my fate as my parents’ favorite child! You see, I was raised in a house full of ideas — which makes it destiny, I believe, and so rewarding to now work for an invention community. It seems every other day my parents were coming up with some new innovation and researching how to bring it to market.

I can even clearly recall one instance where they actually secured a meeting with a major ceiling fan manufacturer to present one of their ideas. They sketched out their vision for the product to the best of their ability, planned a presentation, and drove across state lines to the company’s headquarters to meet with representatives. By the end of the meeting, much to my mom and dad’s excitement, there was interest in the idea and they were told that if they could come up with a working prototype, the company would be willing to meet with them again. Unfortunately, that’s where the story ends.

Ultimately, my parents were unable to find the resources to develop a working prototype and the product found its way into the “idea graveyard” — perhaps alongside many of your past ideas. While it didn’t end the way they’d hoped, it was somewhat of a win in the fact that they’d at least gotten a face-to-face meeting — and furthermore interest — a feat not easy to come by, as in many other cases, they were simply told that the company did not accept ideas from outside of their organization.

I have to imagine that some aspect of my parents’ experiences sounds familiar to many of you. For them, a prototype was their roadblock; for you, it may be something else. While bringing a product to market on your own certainly can (and has!) been done, I witnessed firsthand in childhood, and now from the stories of inventors I interact with every day, that it’s often not without many trials (and many dollar signs!).

I’m sure any independent inventor would agree that it would make a world of difference to have an advocate with established relationships with retailers and manufacturers. One that could not only tell you what specific innovations companies are seeking, but put your ideas in front of those very companies for consideration for nothing more than an initial submission fee. Sound like a familiar company model?

If you’ve ever asked the question “How do I turn an idea into a product?” and this is your first introduction to Edison Nation, or if you’re already an Edison Nation member and just need a refresher on how EN works for the independent inventor, let the video below serve as your guide!

… And in case you’re wondering, my parents are now proud Edison Nation members! 🙂

[The original version of this post was shared on 12/30/11.]

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Also published on Medium.

9 Comments How To Turn Your Idea Into a Product on Store Shelves

  1. brittany shook

    Can I submit an idea without having a patent and how do I know that your company can be trusted?. I really want to submit an idea and the closing date is coming near but I am terrified to actually go through with it. Any suggestions Thank you for your time!

  2. Andrea

    Hi Brittany!
    No, you do not need a patent to submit an idea. Edison Nation will secure a patent (which includes the name of the inventor) for any selected idea that does not currently have one. In regards to protecting your idea, this is a very valid concern and as important to us as it is to you. One resource I would suggest to you is reading through our Live Product Search FAQs ( This will answer many questions you may have and also includes a link to the licensing agreement between Edison Nation and our inventors. Please note that if we do not select an idea you submit, you retain all rights to your invention.

    When it comes to protecting your ideas as we present them to retailers and manufacturers, please know that we secure airtight agreements with each organization to ensure the protection of your ideas. If you still feel unsettled, I encourage you to visit our forums and talk with some of our members about their experiences ( I hope this helps! If you have any other questions at all, don’t hesitate to give us a shout!

  3. Pete G.

    Great intro to E.N. …I’ll be passing on the youtube link to a few inventive minds.

    …and great story on your part, Andrea …wishing your parents many G8’s!

    Happy 2012!

  4. masha.s

    That’s the first post I read on Edison Nation! And it’s good! Brittany, is a good helper if you have any questions in terms of patents.

    Good luck in 2012!

  5. Frankie

    I have a question about the submission process. What if the idea you want to submit is for a cosmetic product that is already in production on a small scale but needs help getting to the next level? I don’t think that it can be patented, but the formulation falls under the realm of a trade secret. Does Edison nation take those kinds of ideas? Thanks.

  6. Andrea Simon

    Hi Frankie,
    Great question! We have worked with several trade secret-type products in the past and absolutely consider products like this. Our objective is to commercialize Intellectual Property for inventors or further the progress they may have already achieved. If the product has already been developed, our goal is to get it to the next level.

    Some things to note: With submissions like this, our team will be looking for whether or not the proper steps have been taken to protect the trade secret (there are NO forms to file, but here is good link to reference-

    Also, one of the things “infringers” look for is how easy it is to reverse engineer a product, so we would be looking to make sure the product isn’t a simple formulation that could lead to easy knock-offs.

    Hope this helps!

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