Often, Universal Plastic Mold (UPM) gets the chance to make a real difference in getting a customer’s product off the ground. With CatchyCan™, we saw major opportunity to help a product make it to market while realizing a dream for the customer. In this case study, we’ll talk about CatchyCan, our approach to serving their custom injection molding needs, and the results we’ve been able to deliver for them, and what the future may hold for this innovative product.
CatchCan is the creation of our customer, a first-generation California native and son of Mexican immigrants. Having grown up as a hardworking member of their family’s landscaping business, this customer truly understands the needs of professional landscapers and lawn care workers. As an aspiring entrepreneur, the customer was always trying to think of products to invent and market, and that’s how CatchyCan came into being.
Most landscaping professionals use trash cans and dustpans on a daily basis, as they’re cleaning up leaves, lawn clippings, and other trash and debris. Our customer saw a fundamental inefficiency in the traditional dustpan, and asked the question: why couldn’t the front edge of a trash can simply be flat, like a built-in dustpan? From this simple idea, the CatchyCan was born.
The customer started out by self-producing CatchyCans, buying standard large plastic trash cans from home improvement stores and modifying them by hand. After generating a buzz in the local landscaping industry with his new invention, the goal was to find a way to mass-produce CatchyCans using custom injection molding. Through word-of-mouth, they heard about UPM and our ability to produce injection-molded parts that are high-quality, durable, and cost-effective.
One of the largest challenges facing many of our prospective customers is the cost of a custom mold, which can be as much as an $80,000 initial investment, in some cases. When CatchyCans came to us, we began working on a way to ensure fast return on their investment and make the project viable for them.
The UPM team started by helping the customer optimize their product for manufacturability to keep unit costs down and ensure reliable quality. After finding the most cost-effective way to produce their custom mold, we sat down with the CatchyCan team and showed them that it would take only 6,000 units sold to recoup the cost of their custom mold. This, we explained, would be a reasonable goal to achieve within one year of starting full-scale production of the CatchyCan.
Armed with that knowledge and a viable business plan, the customer was able to secure the investment capital needed to have their custom mold produced and bring the CatchyCan to market in earnest.
Once production of the CatchyCan started, they quickly became a hot item. A simple, high-quality, and incredibly rugged trash can with a built-in dustpan rim proved to be a very desirable product for all kinds of professionals, from landscapers to manufacturing technicians and beyond. In fact, the UPM team uses CatchyCans around our own shop to make it easier than ever to keep our floors clean and clear of debris.
Having received a patent on their unique design, CatchyCan now sells their product in local garden supply stores, and our initial run has all but sold out. At our current pace of production and sales, we expect to hit the 6,000-unit benchmark in roughly 4 months, just a quarter of the time we predicted initially.
After paying back all of their investors, CatchyCan’s plan is to market their product to the big-box home improvement stores, where they hope to find a nationwide market. With expert assistance from the team at UPM, CatchyCan has been able to realize their lifelong dream of becoming a successful inventor and entrepreneur. We expect to see CatchyCan’s sales continue to grow far into the future.