People don’t get the complexity of manufacturing even a very simple product in quantity.
Example – I’m making a product for miniatures gamers. It’s pre cut out hexagons cut from corrugated cardboard, with foam rubber ‘grass’ texture on one side. They come 50 in a bag.
Here’s all the steps in making them:
1. source corrugated cardboard
2. determine a good glue – I’ve tried four of them, haven’t found one I like yet
3. buy glue
4. tint the glue
5. buy foam rubber in big sheets (sorry, the little bottles sold for model railroaders would eat my profits up).
6. Dye foam rubber
7. Build gizmo to hold meat grinder bought off ebay and motor to power it
8. put foam rubber through meat grinder
9. apply glue to cardboard
10. spread foam rubber on cardboard. This takes up huge amounts of space waiting to dry.
11. develop custom jig to hold cardboard flat while it’s cut
12. mount cardboard in jig
13. Cut apart with laser
14. After a few of these, dig hexes that have fallen down into pan of laser out
15. source poly bags (stuff like this can drive you crazy – I’ve spent most of a day looking at poly bags)
16. design logo and fold card.
17. print up fold cards. Cut apart with scissors or have it done at copy center
18. fill bag by weight or count
19. fold card over, staple, punch with special hole punch that makes hangy thing
20. Make website, sell on ebay, market on Etsy, etc etc.
21. Keep books and expenses for all this. File various insurance, licenses, taxes, etc.
22. Make product photos
23. When orders come in, copy them from however they come to some other form, probably a manual copy/paste. Source mailing labels, dig them out, put sheet in printer, print out. Source mailer bags. Put product, possibly an invoice/manifest printout, which needs printed, in mailer, put label on mailer, put return label on mailer, take all of them to the post office or fedex or wherever to ship.
And then have customers write you and say “You’re a ripoff – you’re just cutting up cardboard and putting grass on it and selling them, and you want $7 a bag?”