Jameco Electronics Vice President of Marketing
The word "chutzpah" came to mind when one of Jameco's high school interns made a parting proposal before going off to college. He proposed that we pay him a recurring commission in exchange for an electronics kit he wanted to design. The audacity of this "kid" surprised me so much that I couldn't get it out of my head. The next morning in the shower it dawned on me that this idea wasn't funny; it was brilliant! Club Jameco, a community-based electronics kit design program, was born that day. The program just celebrated its second anniversary in May and by all accounts is a huge success.
Many Jameco customers recall fondly their experience building electronic kits growing up and we saw a resurgence in demand for our collection of ready-made projects and kits. So the idea of adding garage-inspired projects that were simply not available anywhere else made a lot of sense to us.
But, as is always the case, there was a catch. Our business is all about managing inventory. We needed to have enough of what would be popular and not too much of what wasn't. So we built what we call "kit on demand" capability. This means we build kits as they are ordered and are never stuck with product that won't sell. This same capability also means if the instructions are clear and the project works, we could say "yes" to virtually anything our customers dreamed up.
Taking kitting on demand a step further, we added the ability to print PCBs on demand as well. We offered our customers a commission of up to 10% and Club Jameco has been thriving ever since.
We created a whiteboard website where our customers could discuss, collaborate and design electronics projects. Anyone with some imagination and some technical skills could develop a bill of materials and step-by-step instructions. For its part, Jameco promised to validate the design, source product, promote and sell the projects. Two years later, we have hundreds of customer-designed projects for sale and designers getting a commission on every sale.
We were thrilled to see that virtually over night the electronics kit business became our fastest growing product family and we've seen that growth continue every quarter since we launched the program in 2012.
After taking up that intern's proposal, he went on to college and to design a few different kits. While he's still completing his electrical engineering degree, he has already earned thousands of dollars on the sales of his projects.
Jameco's more than 50,000 electronic components are just itching to be designed into a Club Jameco electronics kit. What's your idea? Learn more about designing your own projects.