Quirky.com, a website that involves users in designing household products, is launching its first U.S.-manufactured product, an invention based on the traditional milk crate, on Wednesday.
For the next seven days, the storage crates will be sold on the design website Fab.com. They will also hit the shelves from July 1 at 400 Target stores around the country.
Quirky allows consumers to collaborate on inventions that vary from kitchen tools to bathroom accessories. Quirky's designers cooperate with its online members to make their favorite products at a rate of two a week. Quirky reserves the rights to the products and the inventors and Quirky members who contribute to the design get a share when the product is sold.
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"We fully manufacture, distribute and take all the financial risk on behalf of the inventor," said Ben Kaufman the CEO.
The company wanted to have the crate made in the United States in part to save time in the manufacturing process, so that the storage cube could be ready in time for the back-to-school shopping season. They are being built in Vermont.
The sleeker version of the plastic milk crates which appear to be round and can be found in many college dorms, are worth $20, with accessories priced from $5 to $30. Jenny Drinkard, a graduate from Georgia Tech was the designer of these crates.
"It makes sense to include consumers in the design process, not just put it on the shelf and hope they like it," speaking of Quirky's process, Jenny said.