The Home and Housewares Show: A Brief Quirky History

The International Home and Housewares Show, hosted at Chicago’s McCormick Place, is the largest housewares-only show in the world. The show attracts 2,200 vendors featuring their incredible products and more than 60,000 attendees looking for what’s new in the world of housewares.

Kitchen was a huge focus of this year’s show. Natural-themed products and fun-infused ideas were also a big hit. Large companies the likes of Whirlpool/KitchenAid, Cuisinart, Thermos, Midea, Eureka featured their latest and greatest products. There were also many inventors featuring their own ideas – which we loved!

Quirky showcased more than 20 of its products invented by real people like you, including its power line with crowd favorites Pivot Power, Switchflip, Prop Power and Port Power. Quirky kitchen products Ventu, Bake Shapes and Tether made an appearance and new storage solutions Slimline, Cubby and Versa Store were introduced.

Over the 80+ years the Home and Housewares Show has been around, many interesting inventions where showcased to the world. Below are some of our favorites.

  • 1906 – The first Housewares show was held in the NYC Madison Square Garden
  • 1910 — Chester Beach’s small motor powered a milkshake mixer for a Wisconsin dairy company. He partnered with L. H. Hamilton to form the Hamilton Beach Company.
  • 1915 — Corning Glass Works developed a glass to withstand extreme temperatures for railroad signal lanterns—this led to PYREXovenproof cookware.
  • 1928 — Manufacturer Col. Jacob Schick patented a men’s electric shaver. The electric shaver market reached its first year of million-unit sales in 1936.
  • 1938 — KitchenAid introduced a stand mixer designed by Egmont Arens. The stand mixer became the company’s keystone product and its form a symbol for a product type.
  • 1948 — Engineer/entrepreneur Lewis Salton invented an electrically heated tray to keep food warm at the dining table. His HoTray served buffet-style parties for decades.
  • 1958 — Corning introduced Pyroceram, a ceramic-glass material that could endure heat and cold and was strong enough for space missile nose cones. Corning Ware cookware soon became a kitchen classic.
  • 1966 — In Germany, Heinz Hankammer developed the AquaDeMat filter to desalinate water to use in car batteries. He made jug water filters for home tap water and named his new company, Brita, after his daughter.
  • 1979 — Black & Decker applied the technology it created for the Apollo moon landing to its Dustbuster.
  • 1994 — Salton, Inc. invited boxer George Foreman to represent its new grill, the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine.
  • 1999 — Procter & Gamble’s Swiffer made its debut. The mop with the dirt-grabbing, disposable cloths created a new category of cleaning tools.
  • 2002 — The iRobot Corp., founded by Helen Greiner and partners to create military, industrial, and research robots, introduced the Roomba vacuuming robot and in 2005, the Scooba floorwashing robot.

Source: Wikipedia

Learn more about Quirky Products featured at the Home and Housewares Show (#IHHS2018):

  • Pivot Power – Jake Zien
  • Switchflip – Inventor Erin Wiggins
  • Prop Power – Inventor Jacob Riesgaard
  • Port Power – Inventor Marc Zech
  • Carabandits – Inventor Marc Zech
  • Slimline – Inventor Leanne Luce
  • Crates – Inventor Jenny Drinkard
  • Cubbycomb – Inventor Lisah
  • Cubby – Inventor Tammy Maddrey
  • Versa Store – Inventor Robert Francois
  • Stackable Locker Storage – Inventor Jaswinder Brar
  • Pawcet – Inventor Tony Lytle
  • Silo – Inventor Jan H
  • Broom Groomer – Inventor Bill Ward
  • Squeak – Inventor Team Lab
  • Zen Cosmetics – Inventor Edwin Van de Bospoort
  • Ventu – Inventor Andrea Z.
  • Bake Shapes – Inventor Hadar Ferris
  • Tether – Inventor Gary Rose
  • Poppit – Inventor Yolanda Jackson
  • Stem – Inventor Timothy Houle
  • Verseur – Inventor Angelo Cacchione
  • Sheath – Inventor Sonia C.G.
  • Bobble Brush – Inventor Spencer Sloan
  • Solo – Inventor Don Darnell

Women Won’t Hold As Many Patents as Men Until The Year 2092

That’s according to The Atlantic, which means “when we reach patent gender parity I’ll most likely be dead, or at least wearing a new “sleeve” Altered Carbon style, says Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky.

Less than 8% of all patents filed name a woman as the lead inventor.

81% of patents filed DON’T NAME A SINGLE WOMAN AT ALL.

If 30% of women hold STEM undergraduate degrees, and 24% hold STEM jobs (according to the US Dept of Commerce), and if we just consider how many original ideas are outside of STEM fields, why the hell are only 8% of patents coming from women??

My guesses are:

  1. Patents are expensive, and funding for female-led companies actually GOT WORSE in 2017. If the majority of funding is behind men, the majority of patents will be behind men.
  2. There aren’t enough women in STEM jobs at corporations which are filing patents on the regular. Even though studies have shown teams with females on or leading them boosts the bottom line, too many companies use the pathetic excuse that “we don’t see enough female candidates applying” to avoid taking real proactive steps in hiring women.
  3. Patents are confusing and time consuming, as is creating an original product or process to begin with, and without flexible work structures it can seem impossible for many women who are also managing motherhood to pursue them. Love what companies like Werk are doing in this space.

“Don’t worry, I’m not here to whine. I’m here to do something about it.

It’s been exactly 1 year since I assumed the role of President at global invention community Quirky and I am lucky enough to be in a position to steward real change,” says Waldhorn.

In a few weeks we’ll be announcing a major initiative to move the needle in 2018 on patents filed by female inventors. This will be more than a “movement,” we’re going to take action to get more patents filed with female inventors named on them.

What will it take? Awareness, education, and support to help play the long game. 3,000 patents filed with women named on them plays the short game and moves the needle one percent in 2018. Message us if:

If you are involved with Corporate Social Responsibility at any of the top 20 patent filing companies (see here).

If you work with any organization promoting females in STEM education or employment.

If you’re in IP law and need to fill your pro-bono hours with something worthwhile.

If you work for a major brand that supports Open Innovation.

If you believe this is as important and worthwhile as we do.

Lookout for news when Quirky officially launches our initiative in the coming weeks. “I refuse to be dead, cryogenically frozen, or suspended as AI before we reach gender parity in inventing,” says Waldhorn.

#InventHer

See the original article here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/rate-were-going-women-wont-hold-many-patents-men-until-gina-waldhorn/

Quirky Makes an Appearance at the New York Toy Fair

Each year nearly 1,000 global media representatives flock to Toy Fair to report on the hottest trends in toys and games. From exhibitors to manufacturers, attendee companies presenting at the Toy Fair account for approximately 90% of the annual U.S. domestic toy market totaling $26B.

This year Quirky joined thousands of other registered play professionals at the Jacob K. Javitz Center in New York City, to showcase some of the marvelous inventions submitted by our very own Quirksters!

Quirky showcased one recently launched product, the Tune Zoo and previewed 5 brand new inventions currently in the development pipeline. These are the lucky inventions that made an appearance at one of the biggest Toy shows of the year:

Free Wheel by Rene Diaz of Dallas, TX
Tune Zoo by Debbie Schwartz of Plantation, FL
Boo Boo Bear by Faith Bouchard of Phoenix,AZ
Q the Kangaroo by Christopher Zailo of Gulf Breeze, FL
Soundtrack by Ricardo Seola of Milan, Italy
VA Spy Tank by Megan Yocum of Kentucky

Congrats inventors!

Meet Quirky Inventor: Paulette Blankenship

Meet our featured Inventress, Paulette Blankenship!

Paulette has had aspirations of becoming an inventor since childhood. With so many innovative ideas in mind, she began searching for a way to make it happen. And then it did! Paulette came across Quirky several years ago during a televised broadcast and shortly after decided to give Quirky a shot!

“Since joining, I have made friends on the other side of the world and what I love most is that these people are just like me and we share the same passions for inventing and collaborating on ideas. My professional experiences have included anything from Magistrate to Real Estate, but for me, nothing has been more rewarding than inventing with friends…. it’s what I love.” – Paulette Blankenship

Since joining, Paulette has submitted 260+ ideas, collaborated on 690+ inventions to help other Quirksters and is an avid community forum leader. One of her most recent ideas was the SOS Flashlight: a flashlight that sends out 3D distress signals via laser projection. The SOS Flashlight was one of the winners of the ACE Hardware Invention Challenge, which was an initiative by Quirky + ACE Hardware aimed to develop inventions to help victims of hard-hit hurricane areas. Her invention recently passed Quirky’s Development tests and is moving to Production! It will be on ACE Hardware store shelves in 2018! Learn more about her SOS Flashlight idea here.

Community is at the heart of who we are at Quirky. We couldn’t help but to ask a few of our Quirksters about Paulette. Here’s what they said:

“Paulette’s creative engine never shuts down. I love working with Paulette; she inspires me and helps me to become a better inventor!” – Debbie Schwartz, Inventor of the Tune Zoo

“Paulette is a creative dynamo and the most passionate member I know. She’s the total package – skill, intellect, creativity, and dedication to task. Her excellent contributions on my invention are a testament to her skills, passion, and dedication to making invention accessible through – collaboration.” – Constantine, Inventor of Pivot Power Cubed.

“Working with Paulette is always fun and inspirational, She is an extremely creative person and comes up with more features and uses than any other member I have worked with” – Bill Jephson, Community Quirkster

Inspired? (we are). Join our community and spark up a conversation with Paulette here.

Quirky and Syracuse Partner to Make Invention Accessible

Students kicked off their spring semester with a 2-week invention challenge hosted by Quirky.

The community-led invention platform Quirky in partnership with Syracuse College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) partnered to deliver a one-of-a-kind invention experience for students coming back from winter break. When students arrived to start their spring semester at VPA, they were greeted by Quirky industrial design lead, Lex Zelekowitz, a Syracuse alumni and briefed on a Quirky invention challenge, The World’s Greatest Party Host, to design the next generation of party planning and hosting products.

Students were engaged and excited about the challenge – with multiple groups starting their brainstorming exercises within minutes following the brief. “This was a great group project, where students from freshmen to seniors had a chance to practice defining problems, communicating the solution and thinking about possible production methods. The collaboration was fantastic. Solutions truly emerged from anyone on the team,” said Denise Heckman, Associate Professor and Program Coordinator for the Syracuse School of Design.

Students will not only receive a grade from the school on their design work, but also vie for the opportunity to be chosen to preview their invention idea live on Quirky partner HSN’s Monday evening show, American Dreams, a program designed to tap into the joy and excitement of discovering new entrepreneurs.

Nearly 100 students participated in the invention challenge, and more than 20 ideas were submitted over the 2 week period. The winning product or products will be selected in March. As new members of the Quirky community, students will also have the ability to receive product royalties if their idea is chosen and commercialized.

Knowledge in science, technology, engineering, arts [industrial design] and math (STEAM) can be the key to a successful future. Some of the most well-known leaders of our time, including Steve Jobs and Marissa Mayer, demonstrated strong creativity and technical skills. “We invest in the younger generations because tech is the face of the future. 80% of jobs in the next decade will require technology skills and we believe partnerships like the one we have with VPA will help prepare students for their careers,” says Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky.

Press: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2018/02/prweb15156514.htmq

The best inventions we found at CES 2018

This year, CES, the country’s biggest consumer electronics show in the world, featured nearly 3,900 exhibitors covering more than 2.75 million square feet, making it the biggest floor in the show’s history. Team Quirky represented products invented by real people like you at the show across two booths. Among the Quirky inventions which were featured:

– Air
– Spacebar
– Chirp
– Helix
– Trek
Cruze
– Ventu
– Silo
Pawcet
Squeak

Watch the video of Quirky President Gina Waldhorn touring one of our booths.

That’s not all, at CES, we walked the floor at Eureka Park on a mission to find the coolest new inventions. Below are a few of the products we discovered.

  • Jooki: Celebrate the joy of music with your kids without the screen. Hear Theo’s story here
  • Shapescale: This smart scale will change how you view your fitness progress. Hear Charlie’s story here
  • Siren: Meet the sock that can change it all for diabetes patients. Hear Maryam’s story here
  • Oblend: The first essential oil dispensary is here. Hear Jim’s and Matt’s story here
  • WiSurf: Customize your wireless charging station with Wi Surf. Hear Lucas’s story here
  • Hypnos: Find a new way to start thinking and feeling better with Hypnos. Hear Kevin’s story here
  • My Special Aflac Duck™: This cute robot helps kids cope with cancer. Hear Hannah’s story here

There were many more incredible inventions, head on over to our Instagram to see a few more of our highlighted inventions from CES!

Standing Up to the #CESSoMale Fail

Last week CES was exposed for the obnoxious lack of diversity on their Keynote Stage. Not one single female speaker, and almost 100% white men. After getting bombarded with blogs and tweets from major tech influencers, diversity advocates, and Fortune 1000 corporations calling for change, they issued the world’s worst excuse. In a nutshell, they said zero women “fit their criteria” for a coveted keynote spot.

Then that response got slammed and slammed again. Naturally. Because it’s pathetic.

CES could have easily added a handful of women and people of color to the keynote stage by expanding the lineup, or simply asking a few men to swap out their spots (of which I’m guessing many of them would have been happy to do). Or hire a badass PR agency like Small Girls to spell it out for them.

The good news? A handful of gender avengers have stepped up to launch their own programming track at CES dedicated to a conversation around the importance of diversity, and showcasing what CES was so blind to see. If you’re planning on attending the show in January, follow and add these sessions to your calendar to get an unbiased view of the incredible work being achieved:

Your fearless female leaders from Quirky (@gwaldhorn and @LissaRegets) will be hanging in the Quirky Invention Suite all week, so come pay us a visit too!

Quirky’s Invention Process Explained

If you have an idea for a product or enjoy product design and helping others with their invention projects, Quirky is for you! Inventing on the Quirky platform is simple and it’s easy to track your invention from beginning to end. With Quirky’s invention platform, there are (5) five stages, or steps your invention goes through on its way to becoming a store-ready product: (1) Concept, (2) Review, (3) Development, (4) Production and (5) Launched.

Once you have setup your free Quirky.com account, you kick off the (1) Concept phase by starting a submission and give us an overview of your brilliant idea! 

You may choose to keep your submission private or make it public. Private keeps your invention between you and the Quirky team but prevents you from tapping into the community for help. Public shares your invention with the Quirky community, where other members can offer help with features and product design. Most members choose public as they come to Quirky with an idea and need help to push the invention over the finish line. With public inventions, community members are incentivized to contribute in projects in which you’ve shared “influence” (in other words, they have the opportunity to earn royalties for their contribution). When all areas of your invention are complete, you may submit it to the (2) Review phase.

While you’re invention is in the (2) Review phase, we begin our evaluation and capture feedback from the Quirky community on your invention to better understand its viability. In this phase, you are no longer able to edit your idea and the focus shifts to collecting market research on crowdsourcing competitive products understand the landscape.

Next up is (3) Development. If your invention made it to this phase, congratulations! We think your idea really has potential and we dedicate resources to further develop your concept. This is where we create industrial design sketches & renders, test materials, build prototypes and analyze price points to understand if your product has a place in the market. We’ll be sharing updates along the way as your invention is being refined. 

If after all of this, we believe we’ve found a winner, your invention will move into the (4) Production phase. This is where your product is being built at the factory and is on its way to hitting shelves soon!

Last but definitely not least is (5) Launched. It’s time to earn that cash! This is where we showcase your invention’s full journey and link to our Quirky Shop for shoppers everywhere to buy your invention.  And don’t forget – every time it’s sold, you earn! We share our product royalty 50/50 with the community. When you succeed, we do too!

 

 

QUIRKY, HSN, and Randi Zuckerberg to Host Invention Search in NYC

Calling all inventors and entrepreneurs in the greater New York City area. We want to hear your brilliant ideas!

Quirky and leading entertainment and lifestyle retailer, HSN, are hosting an open call to inventors and entrepreneurs to pitch their product ideas “Shark Tank” style at Randi Zuckerberg’s Sue’s Tech Kitchen in New York City on December 9th 2017.

The chance to pitch HSN and Quirky executives will be first come first serve. Check out http://old.quirky.com/brilliant-product-idea/ for more information on how to participate.

The product search is a component of HSN’s American Dreams initiative – a program designed to tap into the joy and excitement of discovering new entrepreneurs, and then collaborate with strategic partners to find, educate and train inventors as they bring their products to market.

Sue’s Tech Kitchen is a tech-fueled wonderland for the mouth and the mind. Envisioned by bestselling author and serial entrepreneur Randi Zuckerberg, designed by a NASA scientist, and featuring technologies from all corners of the modern imagination, Sue’s Tech Kitchen offers a STEM-inspired adventure for the whole family that empowers kids to engage with tomorrow’s technologies and revolutionizes family dining in the process.

Quirky, Ace Hardware Select Two Inventions for Hurricane Recovery

In August and September, something terrible happened.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria raged havoc.

Millions of people were affected: their homes and cars destroyed, access to power lost and food scarce.

Billions of dollars in damages piled up across multiple US cities and Caribbean countries.

Many stood by, hoping and praying for the people affected.

Quirky and Ace Hardware partnered and took action.

We polled our community, some of which were affected by the storms, to uncover the biggest problems people faced as they started recovery efforts.

And the Hurricane Recovery Invention Challenge was born.

For one month, our Quirky Community of thinkers, tinkers, makers and inventors went to work, creating thoughtful solutions to various issues – from safety and structural damage indicators and removing flood water quickly and efficiently to portable power solutions and moving debris, we received hundreds of useful ideas.

The decision was tough. A few weeks ago, we released the shortlist of the top 20 invention ideas and today we are announcing the 2 that have made the final cut.

Before we announce the winners, we want to thank every inventor who submitted ideas for the challenge and send a special thanks to all the brave individuals who have volunteered their time on the ground in these communities – helping people rebuild and recover from the devastation these storms have left behind.

The winners of the ACE Hardware Hurricane Recovery Invention Challenge are…(drumroll please)…

The eCharger by Constantine Orfan

This invention is an ingenious portable power bank the size of a keychain that is powered by a 9-volt battery. This is a great alternative to traditional chargers when you are on-the-go or in an area with no access to power.

The SOS Flashlight by Paulette Blankenship

This is no normal flashlight. It not only lights your way but has handy features that let’s someone in need send distress signals to identify their location to emergency personnel and others around who could help.

Congrats Constantine and Paulette! We love these inventions because they were thoughtful solutions to some of the issues flood victims faced immediately following the disasters and we believe there is a gap in the marketplace for items such as these.

Learn more about this awesome ideas and the others which were recently selected to move forward to development, check out our products in development page here. As we continue to test these product concepts, we’ll update these pages with our progress.

WANT IN ON THE ACTION?

Curious about how you can get more involved, and perhaps be chosen for the next products in development announcement? Join one of our LIVE invention challenges.

Login to Quirky.com and click on one of the invention challenges for instructions on how to invent the next big idea.

What We Should be Thankful for this Thanksgiving

We often talk about the inventions that have changed our lives for the better – and hey, they are pretty incredible, but what if instead of celebrating things, we celebrated the brilliant minds behind those inventions we love so much.

Take the microwave for example, invented in 1945 by a man named Percy Spencer. Spencer, who never finished grammar school, became a self-taught engineer and accidentally invented this magic heating machine when the technology he was testing cooked a candy bar in his pocket.

How about those disposable diapers, which have protected us from an undetermined number of blowouts. We have Marion Donovan to thank for this amazing idea. Most didn’t think her invention had any merit when she first pitched it in the early 1950’s, but Donovan didn’t give up on her cause. In 1961, she found someone who believed in her vision…and I think we all have heard of Pampers.

Great ideas come in all shapes and sizes. In 2012, fifth-grader Clara Lazen created a model for an undiscovered molecule, tetranitratoxycarbon. Her teacher recognized her brilliance and shared a picture of the model with a chemist. Now her idea is published in several scientific journals.

Everyone has an idea worth sharing and the potential to become the face behind the next big invention. As we gather around the table to give thanks, take a moment to appreciate the everyday creators and inventors both past and present.

Happy Thanksgiving!

What NOT Making the “Most Inventive” List Should Be Telling You

 

Every year, some of the top magazines release their top inventions lists, touting some of the coolest and most innovative inventions to be released. The most recent list to be published was Time. The list was rather comprehensive, with inventions coming from all sorts of verticals including Sports & Fitness, CPG, Apparel, Beauty, Auto, Electronics, and even Space Travel. National Geographic, Popular Science, CBS News and Money Inc. Magazines have similar lists.

Have you been featured on one of these lists? If your company was lucky enough to be featured – congratulations! If not, we should probably sit down and have “the talk.”

You’ve probably heard this statistic, or one similar:  Only 12% of Fortune 500 firms from 1955 remained by 2016. Almost 9 of every 10 Fortune 500 brands from that era are gone, merged, or declined to the point they were no longer considered part of the elite. Looking ahead six decades, it’s safe to assume that few of today’s Fortune 500 will remain as currently constructed.

This constant turnover attests to the importance of true product innovation (versus commercial, service, or business model innovation). You don’t have to be a member of the Fortune 500, 1000, or even 10,000 (is that a real list? If not, someone should make it) to take this lesson to heart: Invent or die. Okay, you probably won’t die… but the consequences for your business won’t be pretty.

Is your newest competitor on this list? Did Amazon and Google have Jibo on their radar? Was L’Oréal prepared for the splash made by Fenty Beauty? In today’s dynamic market, your next competitor is an invention away. And thanks to the many platforms democratizing creation, “away” isn’t years or millions in R&D, it’s someone like you or me with a great idea and a smartphone.

Assuming there were no mistakes, let’s consider why you didn’t make this year’s list. You’re smart and creative. Your company highly prioritizes and funds innovation. What’s missing? Some of the more common hurdles to successfully bringing inventions to market include:

  • Solving the right problems: What sorts of products do people wish existed? Most companies don’t have a visionary like Steve Jobs or Henry Ford at the helm, capable of inventing products people didn’t even know they needed. Are you positioned to find the white space?
  • Filling the funnel: Successful innovation relies on understanding basic math. The more quality concepts you begin with, the higher your success rate will be as you move through the evaluation and development process.
  • Product Validation: You’ve got a robust pipeline of concepts, but how do you prioritize and validate which ones to move forward with? Are you suffering from too-many-good-idea-paralysis?

Brands should be inspired by the products and companies on this list and motivated by the fact it’s not them. What else is standing in the way?

Join The Product Journey

Today we launched our new pipeline pages, a content series where you can keep up with the progress of inventions which have been selected for development.

Check out Helix here, and Sound Track here.

What does it mean if your submission is selected for Development?

First of all it means you should celebrate, brag to all your friends and family, and blow up your social media with the news of your incredible accomplishment. Out of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of invention submissions yours has been chosen (cue sound of a hundred angels singing).

The Development stage is where we test for viability. Can this idea be turned into a real product? Should it? Think of the Development phase as being made up of lots of additional sub-phases, and your idea now needs to pass each one of the sub-phases before going on to production and distribution. These sub-phases include:

 

  • Design. We’ll put some of the industry’s finest industrial design talent behind sketching out your idea into a real tangible product.
  • Renders. Let’s visualize the form factor in the necessary environments.
  • Prototyping. Time to actually make a V1.0 of your product using 3D printing or other rapid prototyping technologies.
  • Testing. We need to make sure it will work, and it won’t harm anyone. There are more safety and federal regulations around products that you can imagine, so we’ve got to check all these boxes.
  • Sourcing. Can we find the materials and put them together in such a way that is efficient and allows us to produce the product at a reasonable cost? We all love cool pencil holders, but not ones that cost more than your iPhone X.

 

 

Each week we’ll provide updates as the chosen submissions move through these sub-phases. You’ll also get a glimpse into team meetings about your submission and some videos straight from the factory.

Sometimes the inventions won’t pass a sub-phase. That sucks, but it’s a fact of life. We’ll also use these pages to explain what went wrong, and why a product might be sent backwards, or crossed off the list.

The product development process is an incredible journey, and we’re excited to have you on board.

Welcome (Back) to Quirky

Today Quirky looks different.

What you are seeing is the first piece of a multi-phase rollout of important and necessary updates and enhancements to quirky.com.

What’s New:

First, we updated our homepage. As Quirky’s business model has evolved, so has our process for invention evaluation and development. Our new homepage is designed to educate new and returning Quirky users on these changes.

It’s also designed to help people start inventing, inspiring them with Invention Challenges and answering some of the most frequent questions we receive from users.

Next, the inventor dashboard has been completely transformed. This dashboard is the homebase for Quirksters, where they can keep track of what they’re working on, find new opportunities to invent and earn royalties and follow newly launched Quirky inventions. The dashboard is also where users can search for inventions and follow as inventions move through the newly launched invention phases: Concept, Review, Development, Production, Launched.

We’ve also integrated social sign on into the account creation process, updated the user profile page, and launched three new Invention Challenges with dedicated briefing pages.

For those inventors who have existing IP and a prototype, we’ve made it easier for them to submit their product idea without having to go through the standard submission process. We recognize it’s unnecessary given how far along they already are with their invention, and so we’ve created a more direct path for these inventors

Our FAQ’s have also been revised, and our Terms of Service have been updated to include a “Put Simply” talk track that aims to translate  what can be sometimes difficult to understand legal language. Making sure inventors understand why and how Quirky is taking ownership of their IP when they submit an idea is a priority issue for us, and these updated Terms of Service are a first step in clarifying and simplifying how it works.

There are quite a few additional enhancements and features throughout the site, but these are the main components in our first phase of the rollout.

And there’s more we want to do!

What’s Not New (But Coming Soon):

We are currently gathering feedback and testing multiple different optimizations of the invention submission process, and an improved submission process will be launched by the end of the year. .

Influence. We are experimenting with new rules around how royalties are offered and divided. Our aim is to maximize the opportunities for Quirky users to lend their expertise to other projects in order to earn and cash out their royalties.

We’re also working on new visualizations and transparency for tracking influence and royalty earnings. We’ve added basic stats now, but envision a dashboard where users can track the units sold and dollars earned around their specific products to come.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

We are utilizing a disciplined data science approach to better understand invention trends. This will allow us to create new categories and products for brands they didn’t even know their consumers wanted.

We are testing new voting mechanisms, forms of currency, communications systems, market research tools, dynamic submission forms and much much more.

Today marks a momentous day in Quirky’s story, and the next step as we start to see our (and your) vision become a reality. To suggest features for the next rollout of the website, head on over to our community boards where we have an active feature request thread.

We look forward to your participation and as always appreciate your unwavering support of our mission to make invention accessible.

Setting the Record Straight on Quirky’s Royalty Structure

We’re the first ones to admit our royalty structure (which is called Influence on quirky.com) isn’t a simple one. That’s because what we’re doing isn’t simple – it’s groundbreaking. From the technology that divides – in real time – millions of fractions of royalties, to the community control of those royalties, we’re not your typical licensing company.

In this blog post we’ll answer all of the basic questions around how inventors make money on Quirky and shed some light on the rationale and mechanics behind these economics.

 

How does Quirky make money?

As of 2016 Quirky operates under a licensing business model. We no longer manufacture, and thus we don’t sell products to wholesalers or retailers directly. Instead, our licensees or designated distribution partners are the ones manufacturing the products which come off our platform, and they sell those products utilizing our brand name to retailers. They pay Quirky a product royalty of 3% for the rights to manufacture the product for which Quirky owns the intellectual property. They also pay Quirky a brand royalty for usage of the Quirky brand name, which typically ranges from between 2-5%, depending on how the product is branded when it comes to market (fully branded vs. co-branded). These royalties are where Quirky derives its revenue.

 

How much of the royalty that Quirky makes gets shared with the Community?

When a product is sold direct to consumer from Quirky.com, Quirky gives the full 3% product royalty to the community. The 3% royalty is on gross net paid revenue of that product. Gross net paid revenue means the retail price of the product minus discounts, allowances and returns.

When a product is sold to a third party retailer who then sells it directly to a consumer, Quirky splits the product royalty 50:50 with the community. That means the inventor and those who collaborated on the invention are sharing a royalty of 1.5% of gross net paid revenue. Gross net paid revenue means the wholesale price of the product minus allowances, and returns.

How come Quirky gets to keep 98.5% of the wholesale price (when a product is sold via a third party retailer, e.g. not from Quirky.com)?

First point to address is that Quirky is not keeping 98.5% of the wholesale price. As stated above, Quirky licenses all products to be manufactured and sold via third parties. Quirky is paid a licensing fee of between 5-10% for all products, out of which we pay the community.

Let’s review an example of a product sale via a third party retail channel.

  1. A retailer buys an invention from a Quirky manufacturing partner for $20.00 (wholesale price)
  2. Quirky receives a royalty of 7% ($1.40)
  3. Quirky pays the community 1.5% ($0.30)
  4. The manufacturer receives the remaining 93% ($18.60)

Why does Quirky receive a higher percentage than inventors?

Quirky receives a higher royalty because of the financial commitment and risk we’re taking in bringing your ideas from concept to marketable product. We have overhead including technology and infrastructure, security, an intellectual property team, staff that builds and maintains our technology, staff that curates and pitches your invention ideas to partners, industrial designers, marketers, customer support, and so on. The exact royalty rate we receive varies based on the level of complexity of the product, product category, and investment required to develop and bring the product to market.

Why does the manufacturer get to keep so much?

The manufacturer has taken on the majority of the risk and required investment to bring the invention to market, including mechanical engineering, tooling, factory management, production, quality assurance, legal/insurance liabilities, packaging, inventory, supply chain & logistics, training a sales force to sell the product into retailers…and the list goes on. Of the total ninety plus percent of the wholesale price they’re keeping only a fraction of that is actually profit.

What if I have already secured a patent and invested in building a prototype? Can I have a higher royalty?

Our answer on this one is maybe. On a case-by-case basis Quirky will evaluate invention submissions where an investment in procuring a patent and developing a prototype has been made to determine if an adjusted royalty structure is warranted.

Why is 20% of the Influence carved out already?

When allocating your influence during the submission process you’ll see that 20% of your influence is carved out already and locked. 5% of that is for Market Research, and 15% is for Quirky Projects.

Market Research is for any community member to take a market research survey. These surveys are tremendously valuable to our manufacturing partners and do play a role in influencing the selection of an invention for production.

Quirky Projects is the name we’ve given for a portion of the influence set aside for development support once an invention has moved into the Development phase. We know the Quirky community is full of very talented engineers, industrial designers and prototype makers. We reserve the right to offer influence to some of these community members for helping your product get to a point of viability by offering their more advanced product development skills. If we don’t allocate this influence it is given back to the inventor. It is never left in reserve.

On the Road(map) to Invention

July was a big month for Quirky.

We selected our first new toy invention off of the platform to move into production – a plush toy invented by community member Debbie Schwartz called Tiger Tunes.

We decided to do this a bit under the radar by posting a plush toy challenge to our forum members and running the complete process (challenge brief to invention selection) in about three weeks. Quirky selected Tiger Tunes because it was a creative plush execution and had components which aligned with the trends and technologies our manufacturing partners were most interested in – such as touch sensors. 

This idea of aligning to a manufacturer’s goals or roadmap is an important one. It represents a significant opportunity for more Quirky inventions to be moved into production, and have a better chance at success in market. What does it mean for a product to be aligned with a manufacturer’s roadmap?

First, let’s define what we mean by roadmap in this scenario. We’re talking about a 1-3 year out plan that defines different areas for product development. The roadmap can include new target audiences to go after, new product line extensions to explore, trends to capitalize on, or technology to integrate. In some cases a roadmap can have components which are fixed (for example, a manufacturer may have invested in a piece of technology, and are committed to building with that technology). In other cases the components are fluid and flexible (for example, a manufacturer might want to build products which tap into a sustainable/green trend).

In the case of Tiger Tunes the use of touch sensors was then expanded upon to play children’s songs.

Your inventions are chock-full of these roadmap components whether you realize it or not.

As we prepare for the unveiling of a new Quirky experience at the end of the summer we’ll be hosting more invention challenges that encourage you to imagine solutions and design products around these roadmap components so that we can accelerate the number of inventions we’re bringing to production and our speed to shelf. Products equal royalties. Royalties equal happy Quirky community. Happy Quirky community equals happy Quirky!

New Partners, New Shop

Two big announcements this week!

First, we’re thrilled to announce our partnership with Viatek Consumer Products Group. Viatek is a world leader in the development of innovative products for both their brand, as well as renowned licensees. They utilize a strong global infrastructure for product development and currently distribute products in 40 countries spanning 5 continents.

As a Quirky partner, Viatek will be bringing several of our favorite Quirky products to market this summer, including Pivot Power, Pivot Power Junior, Pivot Power Desktop, Powershell, Plug Power, Port Power, Pod Power, Prop Power Pro, and Contort Power.

A big congrats to the inventors of and contributors to these inventions!

Pivot Power and Pivot Power Junior are already on sale. The other Quirky products selected will hit shelves by (or before!) August, and everyone will start receiving royalties shortly thereafter. We’ll keep you updated so you can brag to all your friends and family about your genius invention being on sale once again.

Along with bringing these inventions to market, Viatek is actively sourcing new inventions from the Quirky platform, and are currently focused on finding products that bring improved design and ease to plugging in and powering up. Viatek has also taken a Quirky brand license, which means they’ll be bringing some of their own inventions which are under development to the Quirky community for collaboration and market research – which means more royalty opportunities for you! Hooray!

Next, you might have noticed that our Quirky shop is currently undergoing some maintenance. We’re busy updating the site to improve the shopping experience, as well as bring you some new and innovative products from makers and inventors from around the world. Don’t fret – we’ll be back up and running in a few days.

Stay tuned for additional updates and some new BETA opportunities launching at the end of the month!

Inventors Rights: A Letter from the President of the United Inventors Assoc.

I am proud to announce that Quirky is now a corporate sponsor of the UIA, a national 501 C 3 non-profit organization dedicated to inventor education, marketplace access, and advocacy. The UIA was begun in 1993 with strong connections to the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Today it boasts a national membership and affiliation with 70 inventor clubs around the country. The website is www.uisusa.org. It’s free for inventors to join.

The UIA has always believed in a strong US patent system, and to this end, has partnered with several other inventor groups and businesses to promote the inventor cause in Washington DC.

This month the UIA is involved in gathering signatures for the attached petition. It will be delivered to Capitol Hill in support of an inventor friendly Director of the USPTO, as well as a thorough review of the current Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) process. The PTAB can review patents after they have actually been issued, a part of the recently passed American Invents Act (AIA) that has proven very challenging for inventors.

In August the UIA will also be well represented at the USPTO’s Invention Con summit on August 11th and 12th in Alexandria, VA. UIA Board member and Pro Bono Patent Commission Chairman Jim Patterson will be speaking on access to the patent system by folks who have a hard time affording the entry and legal fees. I will be there as well, speaking about local inventor clubs and licensing.

On behalf of the UIA, I encourage all Quirky inventors to sign the attached petition and support their local inventor clubs.

SIGN THE PETITION

_________________________________________________________________

Warren Tuttle

President, United Inventors Association

June Update: What’s Going On

Summer has well and truly arrived here in NYC, and we’re embracing all of the work that’s keeping us inside with the AC! Here is a snapshot into some of the projects we’ve been tackling over the past few weeks:

Licensing Expo Las Vegas: At the end of May the Quirky team hopped a flight to the city of sin to showcase the brand at the world’s largest licensing trade show. This event was important for Quirky because licensing represents a new and critical revenue stream.

Licensing for Quirky comes in two forms: licensing products (inventions), and licensing the brand (and these aren’t mutually exclusive).

Some of our partners will take a product and a brand license, which means they select an invention off the platform, and bring it to market under the Quirky brand name. They may also choose to develop their own products with the help of the Quirky community (e.g. contributing to design, features, or performing market research), in which case Quirky executes a more traditional brand license.

Our booth was packed with interest from major manufacturers and retailers across fashion, kitchen, outdoor, pets and other key categories where product innovation is becoming a life or death mandate. The positive reception we received in Vegas reaffirmed how well positioned Quirky is to disrupt the licensing landscape.

Logo Design Update: Just like overalls, what’s old is in again, and after polling the community we’ve resurrected our old (and favorite) logo and design palette. This small but meaningful change helps to unite our brand image across channels, and restate our commitment to the original vision of making invention accessible.

New User Dashboard: While the design update changed the face of our website, the real work is going on behind the new facade. Our first focus is on the central dashboard, home base for Quirky inventors. Our goal is to improve the user experience by better organizing all of the activity and progress around a user’s inventions and to customize the experience to surface more, relevant opportunities to participate and contribute to inventions that need collaboration. We’re also making it easier to track the progress of a selected invention through evaluation to sales, as well as track the per unit sales of inventions you have a royalty stake in. We’re on pace to demo this new dashboard to our BETA testers in July.

Thanks as always for your continued feedback and support. We love hearing from you, so don’t be shy, all shower thoughts welcome to gina@quirky.com.

Quirky’s Had Some Work Done

Something’s different, we’re glad you noticed!

We’ve had some work done. Nothing crazy, a few cosmetic tweaks to update the aesthetic of the website. Over the next couple of months you’ll see quite a few changes being rolled out to the Quirky platform, starting with our homepage and logo change today. Why did we make these changes?

First, like an adolescent exploring who they are, Quirky has tried out a few different personas over the past 6 years. We’ve had multiple logos, icons, and color schemes. You may see one logo on a Quirky product in-store, a different one in your cabinet, and yet another one on our website.

It’s time to bring it all together under one cohesive identity, and we’ve gone with the one you told us you preferred. We surveyed our community forums, and the logo you see today was almost unanimously voted on as the favorite. We’re pleased you chose this logo, we like it the most too.

Second, it’s important you see that Quirky is continuing to iterate, evolve, and advance. Sure, we could have waited until all of the new and improved features and functionalities we have planned for the website were ready and done a big reveal in a few months, showcasing lots of big fancy updates. But we’re family, and we’d rather grow and change with you, in front of you, so we can consistently get your feedback and input as we transform.

We’ve set the wheels in motion, and we’re grateful to have you along for the ride.