8 Insanely Clever Storage Ideas

Most of us don’t live in sprawling Jay & Bey style mansions. We live in “charming” homes that support our lifestyle and life stage. But whether you live in a stylish studio in the big city, or are creating a home in the ‘burbs for a growing family, every bit of space counts. These unique storage ideas were hand-picked by our invention experts to have passed the test for fun, quirky and useful.

  • Pet Feeder, $21: Why not feed your pet and store his/her food at the same time? Besides, this elevated feeder improves your pet’s digestion and helps reduce neck muscle strain. Can I get a hells yeah?! 
  • Play Mat Cleanup, $11: Make playtime easy and cleanup even easier. Legos anyone?
  • Silo Food Storage Container, $11: Silo is a stylish kitchen container with an integrated portion-control barrier. Perfect pours and always fresh ingredients #allday.
  • Cycloc Bike Mount, $99: Store your bike with style. This bike mount offers elegant and effortless horizontal or vertical bicycle storage, ideal for home, office and retail display applications.
  • Toy Eating Monster, $17: This might just be our favorite. No need to run from or battle this monster. Teach your kid to put his/her toys away in a fun way, then zip the monster’s mouth shut for safe toy storage. 
  • Hide a Sponge, $16: This savvy trey will hold and hide your sink sponges to keep your kitchen looking clean and tidy. 
  • Magnetic Bathroom Drawer Strip, $13: This handy magnetic strip holds all your bobby pins, tweezers, and any other metal tools so you never have to search again. 
  • Cargo Shower Caddy, $11: Cargo is no ordinary shower caddy. This souped-up carrier organizes all of your products with five flat bungee cords that separate items according to your needs and keeps bottles from toppling over. 

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.

Announcing our New President, Getting Ready to Relaunch

Today Quirky announced the appointment of Gina Waldhorn as President. This hiring is the first public signal of what’s to come for the invention platform that during its heyday employed over two hundred people and raised over $180 million, but was forced to shut its doors due to an unsustainable business model.

“We’ve been purposely flying under the radar, and working hand in hand with our community members to reestablish trust,” said David Hazan, Partner at Q Holdings. “That started with making sure we did everything we could to honor their ongoing royalty potential.” After successfully making the first payment of newly accrued royalties in 2016, the new Quirky team has shifted their focus to restructuring the business model, and creating a sustainable process for bringing community-led inventions to market.

“We’re currently working on updating the technology and user experience, and putting the inventor at the core of every decision we make,” said Waldhorn. Prior to joining Quirky, Waldhorn co-founded innovation boutique Evol8tion, where she helped brands like Nestle, Mondelez International, and Colgate-Palmolive identify and partner with early stage startups to solve business challenges. At Quirky, her role will foster a new kind of pairing between inventors and brands as Quirky makes a major shift to a business model which phases out manufacturing completely in favor of building brand and retailer direct relationships. This new model will bring more development and distribution opportunities to the community.

While Quirky is not yet releasing specific details on its re-launch plan, the site is live today with an active community, and receiving dozens of new invention submissions per month. The appointment of Waldhorn as president is a positive indicator that the lights at Quirky are indeed on, and potentially beginning to glow brighter than ever.