Why you should prioritize QC from day one: Plufl's blueprint for streamlined ops


Plufl co-founder Noah Silverman shares the importance of having quality control (QC) standards in place from day one.

As a consumer brand, airtight quality control is essential at every stage: from gaining early customer trust to expanding into retail partnerships. 

Take it from Noah Silverman, Co-Founder of Plufl. They’ve created the world’s first dog bed for humans — designed to transform the way we nap by maximizing comfort and relieving stress. 

Since 2021, they’ve crowdfunded $400,000+, won funding on Shark Tank, and gained loyal users by delivering high-quality coziness. Across that growth, Noah admits they were new to QC — and quickly learned how crucial it is to standing up a brand and eventually going omnichannel

He sat down with Factored Quality to unpack his early QC mistakes and the lessons he’d give to young DTC brands

“When you’re a young business, you need to be proactive. You don’t necessarily have backup inventory, finances, or other resources. So, anticipating any risks from the very start is important.” 

Define your QC standards & operations from the get-go

It may sound like obvious advice, but you’d be surprised by how many brands begin thinking about QC after production has occurred — not before. 

Instead, you should: 

  1. Clearly set standards for production before it’s even begun
  2. Work with a QC professional or provider to turn standards into QC processes
  3. Work with manufacturer(s) to ensure they know what you want from production

At the start, the Plufl team treated QC as “double checking” at the tail end of the production workflow — an approach that Noah now calls “almost pointless”:

  • Once the product is already manufactured, there’s nothing you can change about it 
  • At the same time, people hate to throw out imperfect products entirely. 

So, you find yourself at a crossroads: You either accept a flawed product, or potentially dispute with your manufacturer, force yourself to start over, and waste a lot of time and money. Ultimately, if you leave QC unaddressed after day one, you’ll struggle to catch and prevent real issues

Early-stage brands need to be proactive

Even with Plufl’s impressive growth trajectory, they are still a young, early-stage brand. With this, Noah stresses that if your QC fails and a production run goes very wrong, you most likely won’t have the resources to cushion yourself. For instance, Plufl currently runs one production line. If a large portion of a run ends up flawed, they may not have the inventory or liquidity on hand to support themselves in the intermediary. 

That’s why they stress setting QC standards and operating procedures way before you begin producing. 

“We really recommend having your quality control on deck from day one. Work with your manufacturer and a QC team or professional to ensure products are actually being made in the ways you want.” 

As you scale & expand, get ready to meet new quality standards

The team at Plufl is presently ramping up to expand into more sales channels — namely Amazon and online marketplaces, but potential retail stores and pop-up stores as well. After all, the coziness and sensory experience of the Plufl in person is what’s convinced waves of shoppers to purchase — and even repurchase down the line. 

To make this expansion a reality, they’re working toward airtight QC standardsRetail partners are exceptionally stringent when it comes to standards for: 

  • Safety and compliance
  • Product quality, durability, and lifetime value

To do this right, select the right QC partners

As your brand and production ops scale, the statistical odds of product defects grow, too. This is why the team at Plufl has doubled down on building a rigorous QC engine now — when they’re on the precipice of outsized growth. 

In order to update and better enforce their QC standards, they had to find a partner who could simultaneously: 

  1. Understand Plufl’s customer base and the retail landscape
  2. Get to know their one-of-a-kind product and quality expectations
  3. Communicate those standards and ops to their manufacturer and inspectors

They eventually found a partner who checked all of the boxes: Factored Quality

“It’s essential that we work with partners who understand the landscape we’re in, who can ensure our QC standards are communicated with our manufacturer and the QC agents on the ground.” 

The stakes only get higher as you mature from young brand to legit omnichannel operation. 

To ensure your Quality Control is flexible yet airtight at every stage, check out Factored Quality’s free public demo.

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