April 4, 2014, 9:39 AM

How to bring a new product to an online marketplace, via Fenway Park

A toy company wins a product contest sponsored by The Grommet.

Lead Photo

First came the pitch video, followed by a digital election and then a presentation and question-and-answer session at that palace of baseball, Fenway Park. The lesson, says Maeve Jopson, is that sometimes selling a product online involves more than feeding inventory data to Google or Amazon.

Jopson, an industrial designer who is co-founder of toy company Increment, came out on top in The Grommet’s 2nd Annual Product Pitch. Her product: O-Rings, designed for children with special needs and which Jopson describes as “a full-body, sensory learning toy for kids of all abilities to play together.” The Grommet. The Grommet is an online marketplace that launched in 2008 and uses video and other methods to tell the stories behind its food, home décor and other products it sells.

Incremental Studio’s O-Rings beat out three other finalists in the “Ready for Crowdfunding” category. To win, Incremental Studio submitted a 90-second product video to The Grommet, which put several products up for vote on its web site. The company won enough votes to qualify as a finalist for the event at Fenway, where it gave a four-minute presentation and answered question from judges. The judges then crowned the O-Rings as the contest winner.

Incremental Studio has placed orders for samples it hopes to use in a crowdfunding capital-raising campaign via Indiegogo in advance of a launch on The Grommet. Victory also brings other rewards: A professionally produced video to help with raising capital; a “campaign coach” from Indiegogo; marketing advice; and an e-mail promotion of the product launch to more than 1 million consumers.

“In the meantime, we are continuing to test our product and building our network of parents, teachers, schools and organizations—important supporters to have on board at the beginning of our campaign,” Jopson says.

She faces months of hard work. Thinx, a developer and online retailer of anti-microbial and moisture-wicking underwear for women, won the Product Pitch last year, also in March. The company completed its Indiegogo campaign and launched on The Grommet in January.

The Grommet also cited other companies who products are closer to being ready for sale. A compost shredder from Ecotonix won in the “Ready to Market” category, which means the product is ready to be sold.

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