Quirky, a product design incubator based in New York City, is bridging the gap between online ideation and real world creation in their mission to make invention accessible to everyone with the opening of their new space in Chelsea. Fueled by a growing online community of incentivized collaborators and inventors since their launch in 2009, Quirky plans to green light over 104 product ideas in the course of the year, choosing two per week to be prototyped in their state of the art workshop and releasing the products into the market in anywhere from 40 days to a year and half, from initial selection.
Creators can now submit their ideas for $10 each – down from the original $99 price tag when we first wrote about them – in hopes of taking their concept from the idea stage to reality. General membership is not only free, but active participants can also get paid depending on their level of involvement in the product development process, receiving a percentage of the royalties, along with seeing their name appear on the packaging.
Perhaps the biggest success story to come out of Quirky to date has been Jake Zien’s Pivot Power Strip, an idea that was brought to market with the help of over 700+ influencers, and has made and shared over $100k in profits. Founder Ben Kaufman notes that Quirky’s community stands out from other crowdsourced efforts by enriching the collective power of members with expert knowledge and insight. Transparency and monetized incentives have also been key in retaining a critical mass of collaborators. This breadth of support and baked-in army of social media users has helped defend Quirky’s products against the competition, and allowed for product launches into national distributors like Bed Bath and Beyond, Target and OfficeMax.
We recently took a tour of Quirky’s new office/workshop located along the waterfront in Chelsea. The space is currently home to 80 employees, serving as a physical incubator for shepherding ideas throughout the IP process from prototyping to production. Furnished with employee designed office furniture, using reclaimed construction materials and bowling alley lanes, the former warehouse boasts two state-of-the-art workshops for design mock-ups and rapid prototyping. The world’s most sophisticated laser cutter available on the market today is housed on-site in a “clean room,” enabling trained staff to cut through any non-metallic material to create package samples, while a $250k 3D printer assists in creating functional model of products in under an hour.