is the Founder and CEO of Doris Dev, a full suite product development agency dedicated to helping brands build
products — from ideation around design and engineering, sourcing factory
partners, building a prototype, and ultimately bringing the product to
The front-end development agency, based in NYC, focuses on concept
ideation, design, and engineering, while the back-end manufacturing team in
Hong Kong leads full-scale supply chain management, fulfillment operations,
We sat down with Justin to uncover his experiences in the product world and
examine where he’s seen the most success when bringing products to market.
Here’s what you’ll learn:
How startups can bring a product from ideation to launch
Scaling a business to make room for more partners and ideation
Tactics to set foundational work for your own product
“Doris Dev can unlock value for brands because all of our team members are
programmed as product people. We holistically think about building both
processes and products to be unique and efficient.”
Streamlining the Brand Building Workflow
The genesis of Doris Dev came when several team members, who previously
worked at Quirky, aimed to engage brands with a product to be built. From
his time at Quirky, Justin knew there was a need, particularly from DTC
brands, to get support on building the product.
The process of working with suppliers and factory partners is a daunting
unknown for many organizations – one that has nuanced challenges if you
haven’t been in that world.
Brands come to Doris Dev with a concept and knowledge about how to market
and sell the product. From there, Doris Dev can take care of the touchpoints
needed to bring the physical product into the world – from design,
engineering, sourcing, manufacturing & logistics.
Justin shares they typically like to come in pre-revenue to help support
through the ideation phase (initial design) and lead development through
The manufacturing process is set up for scale and through a transparent
process that’s visible for the brand to take ownership. However, in some
instances, brands engage Doris Dev to “fill in the gaps” for what's needed
to bring their product to market, which can be just a part of the
development & manufacturing chain.
Doris Dev: Opportunities for Scaling Growth
When looking to scale the business and find that sweet spot between being a
small, nimble organization and a 500-person agency with hundreds of clients,
Justin’s goal for the business is not to scale just for the sake of growth
Instead, the Doris Dev team is focused on remaining dynamic, so they can
get new product introductions, manage development, and handle any potential
Their success so far has led them to work with category-leading brands
Justin describes scaling the business structure like a muscle that's
constantly being built up, while remaining toned and well-executed, to
support all touchpoints.
This balance has allowed them to continue work with incredible partners and
explore building a concept born from internal ideation, and eventually spin
it into a standalone company.
Canopy, a wellness brand that sells products like humidifiers and diffusers, came
from this internal ideation process, and now leverages the same Doris Dev
services other brands do.
Formulating a Product Strategy
Learning about product manufacturing is no small feat. If you have an idea
for a DTC product but don’t know where to start with getting it built, you
are not alone.
Many organizations, from smaller startups, to corporate clients, lack
expertise when it comes to navigating how and where to create a product.
That’s where Doris Dev comes in.
Justin’s team leads the innovation process– from design, to supply setup
and operational infrastructure. But they keep raw honesty at the core of
their mission and aren’t afraid to say no.
After the first conversations with potential customers, Doris Dev will
advise one of two options:
Option A: This may not be the best use of time, energy, and capital
Option B: Before you spend money to kick off the process, validate your
They know this is an unexpected response, especially to share with a client
that wants to pay to work with them. But after five years in the industry,
the Doris Dev team wants to ensure there is conviction & capital to get
an idea across the finish line.
For the latter, doing additional market validation research often doesn’t
require an additional financial investment, and can explore ways to
establish signals using existing networks or tools for validation
This approach allows everyone to level set, and there's a high level of
confidence (and mutual trust) that Justin’s team can execute on what’s being
asked of them.
“Regarding market research and further attempts to validate a product, it
could simply require that teams look at Amazon product reviews and hone in
on things that people really hate about similar offerings that are already
in the market.”
Staying Scrappy & Streamlining Complexity
Justin knows the team can provide founders with the most value in areas
where there has been thorough research around the market and customer pain
points, but there are still unknowns around how the product can be turned
into a reality.
Brands often need support to explore material and learn about the product's
utility. But, Justin notes that some founders have a tendency to hone in on
elements that may not be critical to getting to the next step – they get
fixated on particular manufacturing parts or ask for tech connectivity for
products that may be superfluous to get your product into the
Instead of immediately saying “yes” to every ask and going down a road that
likely leads to more complications and challenges, Doris Dev leverages its expertise & know-how to streamline the product
+ process where possible.
Justin self-describes their work as “showing founders how to be scrappy.”
They possess the tactics and skill to bring something to fruition without
overspending on upfront costs or time.
Doris Dev’s Playbook for Success
The merchants that Doris Dev partners with span early-stage startups to
high-growth corporate clients across an array of categories. Despite that,
when it comes down to traits for success, Justin has observed two common
themes in the brands and eCom teams he works with:
Justin’s team moves quickly, by design.
It’s a strength that makes them highly sought after. It’s important for
companies to be nimble and keep up with a fast pace of development work, to
stay on track for production.
Clients need to be dedicated to remaining involved and engaged.
From day one, Justin leads clients through the development process and
recommends they lean into the educational aspect of learning dimensions of
the engineering and supply chain setup.
Ultimately, the goal is to hand off the supply chain to the client when
they’re ready. This requires a certain level of engagement to ensure they
can “take the wheel” when ready.
The Doris Dev team knows a project won’t be successful without the effort
around communication and dedication, from all parties involved in the
Additionally, the client needs to be aligned with how a product may evolve
through the development process, so it would result in a bad outcome for the
work to be done in a non-visible environment.
“Clients have visibility week over week into progress or any challenges. We
don't like working in a black box and want to lead with transparency.”