Quirky Recap – S01 E03 “Sacrifice for Sex Appeal”

We’re back this week to see how the Quirky team turns some lucky inventor’s idea into an object of consumer lust.  It’s the third episode, so no more need for background setup scenes and we jump right into Eval.

First up is Copenhagen’s Heini  (really, that’s his name) with his super loud bike horn which I presume is for those type of bikers who think they are cars and ride in the car lanes when they turn at lights, probably to make sure all the drivers get a gander at their fabulous spandex outfits.  Why else risk your life foolishly like that?  At least one Quirkyite thinks there’s a market for it.

Next is Tanya from the Bronx with her “Clubbing Clip”, which condenses all of a lady’s essential purse items into a bracelet , so your hands can be free to dance, hold adult beverages and still look cute for the guys.  I’m sure in a dramatic moment later in the show, Tanya will find out that Wayne Industries already owns the patent on that item, if she becomes the chosen one, that is.  Ben says that Tanya quit her job as a school principal to become an entrepreneur and that makes her worthy of extra consideration.  That’s the Quirky spirit!  Always willing to aid others in chasing the dream.  But what about the kids?  Won’t somebody please think of the children?  Regarding the product, the team has some pretty big concerns, such as what do you do with your cell phone and your keys?  What indeed.

Now we see the video for Nick from London and his flexible dust pan.  Ben says Nick’s accent is deserving of extra consideration (no, not really).  But his idea is simple yet brilliant, and less is more, so a lot of the team likes it, maybe more than the other two, or so it seems that way (editing?).

The winner is….Tanya and her superhero bracelet!  The dust pan was just a red herring.

Ben tries to assuage his staff’s fears and tells Tanya on the video call that they will need to work on this…a lot.  Tanya looks happy but concerned.  What will become of her dream?  The one she stopped guiding other kids on the way to their own dreams for.  Will the final product be true to her original concept?  My Magic Eight Ball says “Outlook Bad.”  Watch out Tanya.

As usual, we jump in to look at a previously approved project, this time it’s the Shower Station by Josh from Florida.  The Shower Station is a multi-configurable, thus customizable, caddy to store all your bathing products and hopefully a rubber ducky or two. Ben tells Josh the great news that his product will be featured on Home Shopping Network.  Can I get a “Ka-Ching!”?  Thank you.  One caveat though, Ben’s pessimistic that the product will be ready in time.  Ooooh.  Pressure.

After weeks and weeks of waiting, the Shower Station sample comes in and it’s just not right.  One piece is even loose and the bottom hooks are missing.  Bad factory, bad, bad!  Time is running out, and they send their notes back to the plant for a rush redo.

Now here’s Tanya, telling us about her inventurous path.  She couldn’t stay in her job as a principal because she was always preoccupied thinking about inventions.  Her husband drops her off at Quirky for her first meeting and she says she is looking forward to the collaboration part of development.  I get a very “cans that open like a jar” kind of feeling about this.

Eeyore introduces Tanya to the designers she’ll be brainstorming with and then takes his leave.  Tanya describes her vision for the product and then the designers throw her the curveball – what do you do with your cell phone?  Even Tanya concedes, “That is a problem.”  I can’t wait until Eeyore has to tell her that the Clubbing Clip will have to become a belt that also folds into a camping chair and detects date rape drugs in your beverage.  Tanya and the team go do some market research and take a look at the jewelry fashion styles being sold on the street and stuff like fanny packs and other bags that would compete, at least conceptually.

A bit later, Quirky is showing Tanya several concept sketches.  Two of them are more like small fanny packs, but much more fashionable and blingy and one is a “cuff” that is more like Tanya’s original concept.  Tanya takes to the small bag concept well, it looks quite plausible as a fashion product that could be practical.  The cuff concept isn’t as successful and Tanya says about the model unit, “I wouldn’t wear that.”  Ben comes in for a quick bonding moment and everything’s honky dory for the moment, but I think we’re being set up for some drama.

Ben meets with the design team sans Tanya where they air their concerns.  Ben is uncomfortable with the fashion market and not sure they can play there successfully, plus the designers are uncomfortable with their inexperience there.  Most of the designs are leaning towards the product being more of a purse, and Ben seems wary of the prospect.   Purse’s just aren’t Quirky’s thing, and Ben worries entering that market will put the juju on their mojo.

Meanwhile, a new model of the Shower Station is back and I realize that this thing looks nothing like the concept sketches they show leading up to this unboxing.  This thing is downright ugly, it looks like something you’d see inside a birdcage.  But Ben is more satisfied with it … until he sees a scratch on it.  Bummer.  The packaging is to blame and needs to be changed and there is yet another production delay issue.

The Quirky community gets to take their shots at the Clubbing Clip (that needs a new name, I keep picturing baby seals).  The first person likes the cuff idea, but not sure where her keys and big phone will go.  The second critic says the other idea is just a “purse with a thin strap.”  The Quirky team video chats with Tanya who says she likes all the concepts for different reasons.  Ben goes in with a body blow and says they don’t want to go into the purse market which nixes those options.

A good cell phone solution is critical to this moving forward and meeting Quirky’s major goal of mass market appeal, so Tanya’s Clip becomes an iPhone case with a strap now being called the “Clutch-a- Clutch,” which makes me think of fast food fried chicken sandwiches (I am hungry).  Gosh, what will Tanya think?  Well, of course, she LOVES it.  Ben then tells her they’re going to get feedback from the creative director of Elle magazine.  He also has his own show on Sundance.  What a coinkidink!  Oh, the power of television.  I think the MBAs call this “synergy.”

Fashion Man is fascinated by the bracelet concept, but when he sees the actual model, he runs to put away his approval seal, in its red velvet pouch and gold leaf case.  It was a valiant last gap for the cuff, but Fashion Man is glad to have it out of his site, so let us never speak of it again!  Now they show him the handbag with the spaghetti strap that we now learn is called the “Versapouch.”  He sees something there, although it’s far less innovative, so score one for change we can’t believe in.  Now it’s Clutch-a-Clutch’s turn.  Fashion Man is excited and he clucks away at the many possibilities of this design.   On the way out, Ben shares his key takeaway from the meeting, “it’s not going on your wrist,” he tells Tanya.  Is that rubbing it in?  He’s kinda backhanded sometimes, this Ben.

After Ben visits the package testing for the Shower Station and makes sure the scratching problem is solved, we go to the HSN offices and see the setup for the big debut.  Josh is very nervous, his first time on TV, wait, no, this show is his first time on TV.  He’s on a TV show while on a TV show.  I’m pretty sure that is breaking some law of physics, but I’m no Eeyore (seriously, what kind of name is that?).  Josh does just fine and tells his story to the 90 million HSN viewers, “Like most people, I take showers,” he says.   When it’s all over, Ben and Josh toast with Champagne. Let the money roll in!

Later, Ben video chats with Josh on the HSN results and demand is strong, but we don’t get to hear any sales numbers.  Ben says he even bought one and is using it, so I guess Ben also showers like most people.  Again we see the concept sketches as part of the scene transition. Why?  They look so much cooler than the actual product.  Are they toying with us?

Back at Quirky, the team is trying to mock up the Clutch idea that Fashion Man drooled over.  Eeyore is quite mock surprised that the Cuff idea was rejected.  He is such a smarmy man. The Clutch-a-Clutch is now being called the “Club Case,” basically an iPhone case with multiple functions, including a mirror.  So “Club” is back in the name.  Back and forth, forth and back, this is truly what real product development is.   They 3D print a model unit that looks part stealth fighter plane and part ice cream sandwich (hopefully they will make Android versions).

Tanya shows up at Quirky and gets one of those bulky boxes with the “Q” on it, you know what that means by now, right?  She also admits her only fear is that the product isn’t “cute.”  She opens the magic box and “tada!”  Ben still calls it the “Club Clip” but the graphic they show us labels this thing, “The Vamp.”  Well which is it?  I’m so confused.    Tanya notices the interchangeable pieces is something that Fashion Man wanted.  Would he like this new model?  Why don’t we ask him?  Surprise, he’s here in the office.  He calls it “sizzling” and loves the design with the Lady Gaga face bumps and the elegant swiss army of club-girl friendly features.  Its fashion meeting function, peanut butter with chocolate, pencils with erasers (it’s just that good).  He sees a future of more and more accessories from Tanya.

The show then ends as it always does, a little bit abruptly.  In text graphics that end the show, we learn that pre-orders for the Vamp are available on the Quirky website.  We also learn that the Shower Station sales skyrocketed on HSN.  Of course they did, don’t you want one?  Even Ben uses one.  Don’t you just love happy endings?



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