Necessi-tea is the Mother of Invention
You don’t have to read tea leaves to find out what’s brewing in the world of tea related inventions. We’ve got the latest on ideas that inventors hope to get into your hands.
Green Tea Chocolate
Ramon Racilis has just days to go to meet his crowd-funding goal of $2500 on Kickstarter.com. His idea for Green Tea Flavored Chocolate Candy deserves a shot. Support him here. Tea and chocolate? I’m in.
Status: trickling in
Tracy Ann Whittaker hopes to save the planet and your smile with her reusable straws. After she got her teeth whitened, Tracy’s dentist recommended that she always use a straw for drinking soft drinks, coffee, and tea. Concerned about the safety of using BPA-containing disposable plastic straws for hot beverages, Tracy designed her uber chic Straw Envy line. Business has been so great that inventory from her first production run has nearly evaporated. Tracy explains: “Initially I produced a trial batch of the straws and took them out to see what the response would be. It was overwhelming! I am now almost out of that first run and have several retailers asking me to produce more. There is a manufacturer lined up already and I have everything ready except funding, of course. I am hoping to raise enough to purchase my first large order of straws and make this dream a reality!” Tracy is almost halfway to her $30,000 fundraising goal on Kickstarter.com. Support her dream and you’ll help do something about the 500 MILLION disposable straws are used and thrown away every single day in the United States.
Los Angeles actor and director Al Santos designed the Spillinator – a teensy insert that fits into drink lids and prevents splashing. Santos raised over $30,000 from just 50 backers on Kickstarter.com. “We have incredibly strong national/international patents, both utility and design to help protect us. We even made a small sample run to test the markets. Giving them out to people at local coffee shops…they instantly understood what it was and how to use it…but most of all, they were amazed by how simple it was, and wanted to know where and when they will be available everywhere. We came to Kickstarter to help get the word out. “ Santos says the Spillinator should be on sale later this year.
On crowd sourcing invention site Quirky.com, inventions can take on a life of their own. Once 847 Quirksters (as Quirky.com followers are affectionately known) added their two cents, Brian Wethington’s original concept for a “fast boiling kettle” became virtually unrecognizable. Fortunately, Brian still gets credit for being the inventor. This means a bigger share of the profit if Brian’s kettle-cum-travel mug/warmer/French press/tea infuser, now known as “Perk”, makes it to market.
Status: building steam
Self heating travel mug
Lorenzo Dickerson’s Quirky submission for a self heating travel mug that keeps warm without an external power source or chemicals caught the attention of caffeine-powered Quirky staffers right away. While their nod to his “great drawings” was probably tongue in cheek, his engineering smarts are no joke. Lorenzo came up with two ideas for heating the mug: either by shaking it (think of those flashlights that are powered by shaking) or by cranking it (like the radios that crank). A built in thermometer lets you know when your beverage is ready. Development is in the earliest stages; so if you know what a “solenoid” is you can join the process. Ok, even if you don’t know what a solenoid is.
Status: simmering along
Sometimes great ideas hit a snag on the way to market. Marc Circle’s “Mug with Sliced Handle to Keep Teabags in Place” idea took off on Quirky.com in 2010. A total of 781 contributors shared ideas on everything from product design to pricing. Suggestions for naming Marc’s invention included the “Handle It” (pretty darn brilliant IMO), The Bag Handler, Gotcha, Hot Tea Bagger, Cleavage Cup, and Teather. “Steeper Keeper,” suggested by Quirkster Joshua Wright, won out in the end. Quirky.com announced that they were making the product, but put the idea on hold after failing to secure a cost-effective manufacturing deal.
Status: back burner –Jeanne McIntosh