Mark 5 Design in Progress
A Better Design Emerges
I was convinced that the Mark 4 design was it. I really was! Then it met potential customers. Oops!
The legs were a little thin--thin enough that they bent a bit when significant weight came down at just the right angle. And in terms of aesthetics, customers preferred the current design (the Mark 2) hands down over the new one.
Then there were my own reservations. although they did stack, to a degree, they didn't stack quite as well as I would have liked. And the way the carry handle had to be arranged, the base cushion had a tendency to slide off when the bench was carried.
So it was back to the drawing board! I had discarded the Mark 3 design after my own testing. And now the Mark 4 was done and dusted. Time for the Mark 5!
The new design combines the best features of the Mark 2 and Mark 4, so I'm certain it will be a winner. It has the folding legs you can see in the current Mark 2 design. And it looks virtually identical, so I know it will meet with the same great customer response.
But at the same time, it's much lighter--not quite as light as the Mark 4, but significantly lighter, all the same. And because it folds in addition to being lighter, it will be much easier to move around.
It will be slightly less expensive, too. Not as inexpensive as I had hoped, due the extra hardware required by the folding design, but still somewhat less than the current design.
The best news, though, is that the Mark 5 will be a lot easier to build, and it will be possible to scale production.
If I need a few, I can build them in my driveway. If I need a dozen, I can use a MakerSpace down the road and build them. If I need a hundred, I can send the CAD file to a builder anywhere in the world, and get them built.
At this point, the design is complete. Next week, I will build one more (hopefully my last) prototype to prove its viability.
Why "Build-ability" is so Important
The new design solves the production pipeline problem. It took 5 months to import the Mark 2 benches, with many a headache along the way. And importing in small quantities, the import fee for each bench was huge (hence the price).
I could live with the costs. They simply dictated the price of the bench. But the import delay was a killer! I have 2 more books (mostly written) to follow the Bench Yoga book (available at Amazon), and yet another one to follow that.
Meanwhile, the plan is to begin giving workshops. I have so much to share! I plan to put all of it into the books, eventually, but it will take a couple of years to get them all published.
In the meantime, I want to share the practices and principles I've learned in 30 years of spiritual pursuits, 40 years of athletic pursuits, and 50 years of dietary pursuits! But once I start giving classes, people are going to want benches. If I can't replace the ones I have in a timely manner, I'll have a problem! If I sell the benches I have, I won't be able to give workshops. But if I don't, I lose the income I need to ramp up to bigger import volumes, and attendees lose the ability to use what they have learned to develop their own meditative yoga practice!
Given the time lag, then, there was simply no way to win!
The new design solves that problem. It will let me meet demand and scale the business. And there is demand. Lots of people are meditating, and discovering that they need a comfortable way to sit!
The Demand is Real
I recently spent 20 minutes showing 3 meditators the bench, how to use it to get comfortable, how to use it to improve their posture, and how each of the practices generates a palpable energy flow. Afterward, all three bought a bench! And one wants to give a bench to her mom.
Once people try it, they love it. Even a lifetime practitioner of yoga and ordained "swami" (teacher, guru, expert) from India sat on it and said, "This is really comfortable". (Here is a picture of him sitting on the bench, holding my book.)
So I have no doubt that once people try it, they will want one. And workshops will give people a chance to try it. But now, instead of posing a dilemma, their purchases will make it possible to scale the operation, and bring "Yoga as a Meditative Practice" to an ever-widening audience.