Project Name
Frunding

Typology
Case Study

Year
2018

Country
Portugal

Initial investment
15€

Percent Change (after 2 months)
Increase 7790%

Description
Applying the principle of short-term stock market investments in the manufacture and sale of home furnishings, we wanted to understand if micro-investments could generate interesting revenues without the need to inflate prices or scale production in order to lower production costs.

We set up the following experiment:

– With initial capital of €15 we put on sale a collection of 4 products, produced in a limited edition of 14 units each, to an audience restricted to 14 people. The products were: a candle holder in cork agglomerate made for tealight candles (sold for €5/unit); a marble centerpiece (sold for €20/unit); a cutting board in solid pine wood and kambala (sold for €33/unit); and a side table in solid oak (sold for €77/unit). At the end of the experiment, every participant would get back 10% of the total money they had each spent. The experiment would last for 2 months, with the aim of generating €1000 profit on the €15 invested.

After 2 months the experiment ended and the results exceeded our expectations, with profits amounting to €1,168.50.

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Project Name
Ghome

Typology
Brand

Year
2016

Country
Portugal

Initial investment
500€

Percent Change (after 1st year)
Increase 4724%

Description
Earth’s population keeps growing and the side effects of our consumption have reached the planet’s limit. Yet at the same time, our lives depend on a number of products that will ultimately have a negative impact on the world. This apparent contradiction was the spark for the work that would lead to Ghome.

The idea was to come up with a business model, as well as a strategy for product development and sales, that was in line with the most pressing social, economic and environmental issues in the world today. A business model tailored for making the best home furnishings with no unnecessary impact. In order to achieve that, we devised a plan based on the following:

– the outsourcing of production.
– the use of Portuguese raw materials.
– local manufacture
– a policy where packaging was optional instead of a default requisite.
– a direct sales system instead of working wholesale.
– pre-defined maximum amounts sold each year as a requirement for product development.
– commercial focus on the Portuguese market.
– 25% of the yearly stock for each product available for sales overseas.
– avoiding funding in favour of fostering natural growth.

Ghome is an ongoing project, and currently GPOD assumes the role of creative direction and head of product design.

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Project Name
Make It

Typology
Service

Year
2012

Country
Portugal

Description
Make It transforms good ideas into real products. It is a service offered by GPOD tailored to put those with (product) ideas into contact with those with the means to manufacture them. Make It is aimed at fostering homegrown production in Portugal. The process begins with a design analysis of the product or idea presented to us, after which we source the best manufacturer to develop it further, establish a direct contact between parties, and mediate the process until brand and producer reach a business agreement.

Clients:

Esporao | PT | 2012 |
When we got the call for a meeting, the only thing Esporão disclosed on the phone was, “We have a challenge for you!”. On the day of the meeting, they had on the table the olive oil and vinegar dispenser trays that they supply to restaurants. “This is it”, they said. No reaction on our side, and our immediate thoughts were, “That?! Really???”. But they elaborated, and their proposal was indeed going to be a challenge. At the time, their current product was porcelain and made in China. They were looking for a new one, made in Portugal and cheaper to produce, to which we eventually said, “Alright, it’s a deal!” In the end, our job consisted of developing a product that could be produced in Portugal beating the cost of the Chinese alternative on the meeting table. They also asked us to set up a supply system that could handle their orders over time. To start with, the quote was for an order of 15,000 units, and it soon became obvious that the only way to ensure low production costs per unit for small orders would be to choose Portuguese raw materials and avoid the need for production molds. Going for cork agglomerate made sense in all respects, and even though the final order came down to 9,000 units, we still managed to cut 25% off the cost per unit compared to the Chinese option they had been using. We set up a supply system in Sintra 10 minutes away from our office, and since then we have been producing 3,000 units a year.

Frama | DK | 2013 | 
Niels from Frama called wondering if we could source production in Portugal for a new product they were developing: a table series designed by Nicholai Wiig-Hansen to be built from cork agglomerate and marble. The design was good and showed no production issues. Cork and marble are familiar to us, and the factories we work with here in Sintra were potentially what Niels was looking for. We met with the factories to present the design and see if they were interested in doing the job. After positive feedback, and with their permission, we passed their contacts over to Frama. We accompanied the process for a little longer, but there was not much need for mediation in this case. Soon after, Frama launched the product and named it Sintra.

Iungo | PT | 2014 |
This was one of those moments when the phone rings and on the other end someone tells you about an idea you wish you’d thought of yourself! Iungo called saying that they were developing a product to bring electricity to parts of the world that didn’t have the existing infrastructure. They wanted to use the sun as an energy source, and this device needed to be portable, in order to better respond to local forms of social organization. We were told on the phone that the technology was stable as a functional prototype, but now they needed to come up with a real product as well as a design that was fit for purpose. When they finally asked if we would like to work with them, our answer was an emphatic YES! We would work on this case with a very specific set of technical components with precise needs, and the client had already decided on both the building material and the production partner. Our main task was to work on the best design to put all the components together in a way that would foster the capture of solar energy and enable the device to be portable and practical.

raawii | DK | 2016 | 
The Copenhagen-based brand was looking for production options for a range of ceramic items they had in development. When we were presented with the designs, we understood that before setting them up with a factory, we would need to find someone that could work together with the brand on the technical development of the items. They would ideally be someone independent but well-connected to eventual producers. Raawii agreed, and we went to Alcobaça to do our sourcing. Ceramics wasn’t something we were familiar with at the time, but after we identified the best partner for Raawii, our job was pure mediation. We made sure the technicalities would be well taken care of, that the cost per unit was consensual between brand and manufacturer, and finally that packaging and transport logistics were reliable. We took our leave after the first order was delivered, as there was no need for us to be in the process anymore.

Time Out Market | UK | 2017 |
After the huge and supersonic success of Time Out Market (TOM) in Lisbon, the company decided to replicate their concept for food courts in other cities worldwide. This was when they realized they needed to upgrade the quality of their furniture, and so they called us! They wanted us to work specifically on their chairs, but were very clear: “We love our chairs, but they break too easily. Can you make it work without changing the chair completely?” After a thorough analysis, we said yes! Indeed, they were poorly designed, structurally speaking. Our work on it was all about structural design and production engineering, but it was obvious to us that we needed to involve a manufacturer in the process right from the start – someone that would be technically equipped to build a wooden chair for the contract market, and capable of responding to the volume of orders TOM had in the pipeline. Last but not least, we wanted the manufacturer to be in Portugal. TOM liked our redesign of their chair and accepted our argument defending the need for them to team up with a reliable supplier. Besides the design work, we were involved in some diplomatic work to make sure both client and supplier would agree on terms and trust each other enough to join efforts. We were successful! The new chair looks very much like the original, it is structurally reliable and we even managed one important upgrade in comfort. All this at a lower cost per unit than the original chair. TOM will open 5 new food courts in North America during 2019, and in 4 of them the furniture will be made in Portugal!

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