About this project
Thank you to everyone who has helped make the dream of Bosse Tools a reality. We could not be more excited by the success here on Kickstarter. As we said in the video, the next step is manufacturing, and now the journey continues. To all backers, family, and friends, your support means everything - we look forward to keeping you updated as the first owners of Bosse Tools shovels! If you missed the campaign, you can still place an order at www.bossetools.com.
Sincerely, Stephen Walden
What is Bosse Tools?
Bosse Tools is a company that started as a simple thought, a simple idea based on a simple tool - the shovel. For years, we have grown accustomed to using shovels that make us sore, they make our muscles hurt and leave our backs strained. The simple thought was, "there's gotta be a better way to do this." And thus, an idea was born - an ergonomically redesigned shovel.
Featured on CBS KCAL 9!
Featured in Entrepreneur Magazine!
Also featured in the Wall Street Journal
"Stephen Walden was digging in his parents' garden when the pain in his back ignited a spark of inspiration -- a design for a new ergonomic shovel."
For a full list of press, media coverage, and even a celebrity endorsement, please scroll to the bottom of the campaign. A big thanks to all writers, authors, bloggers, and everyone else who covered Bosse Tools!
Our Story: The 21st Century Shovel
Bosse Tools is an ergonomic tool company that is hoping to reinvent the traditional shovels that we have used for thousands of years. Our goal is to help you get more done in less time - while preventing you from getting injured. Whether it is for the job-site or your tool shed...this is your shovel...reinvented.
A Testimonial from Farmer, Will Terry
About the Founder
Stephen Walden, the founder of Bosse Tools, is a 24 year old entrepreneur who is changing the way we think about a shovel and traditional tools. While working in his parents backyard, he labored through hours of strain on his back and arms and thought there had to be a better way. He combined the traditional tool with the ease of use found in a hedge trimmer and took the idea to Loyola Marymount University's entrepreneurship program where it was quickly validated. After winning the school wide "new venture creation" competition, he went on to win a competition at San Diego State University and also place in competitions at Chapman University, University of North Dakota, and even Harvard University. After graduating, Stephen formed Bosse Tools, and is here seeking your help to reach success!
About the Team
Bosse Tools is made up of a team of entrepreneurs with a wide array of backgrounds. The founder, Stephen Walden, recently graduated from the LMU Business School with his MBA. He grew up working with his mom in the garden and remodeling homes with his dad, Stephen says "I am no stranger to the shovel!"
Bryson Ishii, head of manufacturing, graduated from LMU in 2009 and now works as the VP of Operations at a Manufacturing firm in LA. Bryson is in charge of the manufacturing specifications, including sourcing raw materials, packaging, assembly, and shipping.
Alex McCloskey is 29 with a degree in materials engineering and currently works as a Advanced Materials and Processes Development analyst for Northrup Grumman. Alex is in charge of deciding specific materials used to create the handles.
Dave Green runs a design/engineering firm in southern California, DG Engineering, and has been in the field of manufacturng for 22 years. Dave is in charge of creating the 3D models and manufacturing designs.
The entire team consulted with WAGIC, based in northern California, which specializes in product innovation and design. Together, Stephen, Bryson, Alex, Dave, and Wagic have put their heads together to bring you Bosse Tools, the ergonomic tool company!
So, explain this shovel
"In a Category of It's Own"
The problem that exists today is that many individuals finish a day of shoveling with sore backs, wrists, and arms from twisting and tweaking in unnatural positions – ultimately resulting in lost labor, time, and capital. Our shovels utilize the body's strongest muscles to alleviate these issues by returning you to a more natural position. Bosse Tools provides an ergonomic benefit for its users.
"The Bosse Benefits"
To be more specific, these shovels improve posture to reduce back strain, they relieve wrist pain by taking the wrist out of a pronated position, and they minimize shoulder injury by making sure lifting tasks are two-handed and in front of the body, which evenly distributes the loads across the shoulders and chest.
"Revolutionary Rotating Center Handle"
The center handle rotates, allowing you to customize your hand position for any job or task. Imagine shoveling snow out of a driveway or filling a wheel barrow with dirt. By angling the handle towards the place where you will pitch the snow or dirt, you can do your job in one single motion - dig, scoop, and pitch - all in one.
"U-Shaped Foothold for Ultimate Utility" (If we reach our Stretch Goal of $120,000)
Specific to spade shovels, we have designed a foot stomp that allows for added force to be applied by the foot through the center of the tool. Current shovels force your foot to one side of the tool, but this innovation lets you dig through the center of the shovel head. This feature will only be included if we reach our stretch goal.
Proudly Made in America
At Bosse Tools, we are committed to being Made in America. As American entrepreneurs, we are building tools for the American working man. By manufacturing and assembling our tools right here on our own soil, we feel a deep sense of patriotism. This ultimately adds a level of unmatched quality to our products, and of course, a deep sense of pride as well.
Where Are We Today?
Prototypes "Design Validation Models (DVM)"
We have been working on these shovels since the founder, Stephen Walden, came up with the idea in the summer of 2011. We have developed 6 DVM's - 1 plastic model prototype and 5 working prototypes. In 2012, we took these prototypes to construction workers, farmers, grounds crews, gardeners, and homeowners, asking for feedback - ultimately helping us finalize the red prototype you saw in the video.
Prototypes Give Life to Design
Taking the prototypes above, we built one fully functional spade shovel prototype, complete with 2 handles, rotating center piece, and u-shaped foot hold. Based on the basic designs of the tools above, and the functional red model below, we will be producing flat head shovels, spade shovels, and snow shovels - all which include the double handle, rotational components.
We are "A Family of Tools"
We started with just one shovel, then we realized that ergonomics can apply to all shovels, not just regular pointed ones. Therefore, we decided to create an entire line of tools!
Now, we are ready to move forward with the production of an entire line of shovels.
Spade Shovel - (the one you see above)
Flat Head Shovel
What is it?
Ergonomics is the science of fitting workplace conditions and job demands to the capabilities of the working population. Effective and successful "fits" assure high productivity, avoidance of illness and injury risks, and increased satisfaction among the workforce. This is according to OSHA, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
OSHA says that undesirable working conditions presenting multiple risk factors will have a higher probability of causing a musculoskeletal problem. Running the risk of not operating with ergonomics can cause regulation that could result in economic loss.
According to the United States Department of Labor
Over 50% of construction injuries come from back and muscle strain.
Over 600,000 back injuries occur in the US yearly.
$50 billion is the amount of lost labor and workers compensation paid yearly.
According the American Journal of Emergency Medicine
11,500 people were hospitalized last year from shoveling snow.
"Reinventing the Shovel - not just your 'tool shed' shovel anymore"
Bosse tools has reinvented the shovel. Ergonomic practices can prevent injury and increase productivity. By implementing ergonomics into these tools, you can immediately feel the difference between Bosse Tools shovels and your traditional, old-school shovel.
Alas, An Ergonomic Shovel
Therefore the solution is to ensure the following.
Lifting task that are two-handed, smooth, in front of the body, hands are at the same height or level, moderate-width loads.
The load is evenly distributed between both hands.
Material handling equipment should be easy to move, with handles that can be easily grasped in an upright posture.
As you now see, Bosse Tools has implemented a solution that enables these principles - making shovels safer for you and everyone around you.
What we need to make these shovels?
Machinery, Molds, and Manufacturing
We have secured a manufacturer and they have been hard at work on new prototypes. We need your help in funding this project so we can move forward with manufacturing. There are 3 different processes involved in creating these tools, and each one is vitally important - additive manufacturing, hardware manufacturing, and die-cast molding. We are capable of fulfilling your contributions because we are working with companies right here in the US for the best quality and support!
1. The handles are manufactured by a company in Southern California, specializing in additive manufacturing services.
2. The shafts and the shovel heads are manufactured and assembled by a hardware tool company here as well that already has the machinery to create tool heads and reinforced fiberglass shafts.
3. If we reach our stretch goal, we will manufacture the custom shovel head using a company specializing in die-cast metals here in California.
What We've Done:
Prototype design, development, and refinement - using SLS models and hand constructed models that we made in-house
Building the molds for the center and top handle
Setting up the tooling to produce the units
Building pre-production units for final inspection
Load testing the assembled units for quality control
Distribution to you!
Goals and Stretch Goals
End Campaign and raise $60,000
Reach Stretch Goal and raise $120,000 - manufacture U-Shaped Foothold
Make tooling and machinery investments
Begin full-scale production and sales
My grandpa "Bops" can be described as an inventor, a creator, and an imaginative person. He is my inspiration for thinking outside the box, for coming up with creative solutions, and doing things that nobody else has ever thought to do. When I was little, I always had fun seeing all of the crazy things my grandpa would come up with around the house.
Eleven years ago, Bops died of cancer, but left behind an inspiration. He inspired me to think freely, create and design without walls or boundaries on my imagination. I know he would be proud of me and I am proud to say he is the inspiration for my wild ideas. With this, I am determined to turn my imagination into a reality, in honor of Bops, making him proud!
Thank you for your support of Stephen and the entire Bosse Tools team. We appreciate your desire to see us succeed. It is with your help that we can innovate, recreate, and evolve - and people like you are helping me reach my dream. Thank you again.
Press & Media Coverage
"A 24-year-old Manhattan Beach man has come up with a new twist on a very old tool."
"with a literal twist on the design of the common shovel that he hopes will revolutionize the science of shoveling."
"Stephen Walden was digging in his parents' garden when the pain in his back ignited a spark of inspiration -- a design for a new ergonomic shovel."
"When it comes to defining what technology is, you may have heard people say "Heck, even the shovel is an example of technology." That may be true, but it's also an example of technology that has hasn't changed much in a long time."
Huffington Post (Op-ed piece by Stephen)
"Whether it's ergonomic trainings, midday yoga classes, or simply the proper tools, our nation's manufacturing, agriculture, and construction industries can benefit substantially by instituting [ergonomic] policies. A healthy workspace shouldn't be constrained to the office any longer."
"You can’t reinvent the wheel, but you can redesign the shovel as seen with the ergonomic shovel. This revolutionary shovel design was built with proper body mechanics in mind, so you can shovel easier and suffer less back pain afterwards."
"Even the fittest of us can suffer from back pain after shoveling snow that has caked our driveways and stairs. Well, one inventor is pretty close to giving your aching muscles a bit of relief this winter."
"You’d think that centuries-old tools would be perfected by now. However, there are inventors and designers who are able to improve or make radical changes to familiar implements."
"The shovel as we know it remains largely unchanged for upwards of a century, resulting in inefficient follow through and propensity for injury. Bosse Tools aims to shake up convention with their Ergonomic Shovel."
"Thanks to a Kickstarter campaign, one man, Stephen Walden, plans to change all of this with his Ergonomic Shovel."
"the need for this is SO OBVIOUS yet nobody ever thought of it!"
"They'll make a Hulk out of you out in the garden."
"The shovel is one of those tools that was not really touched by all the technical advancements from the past century. Well, that was until now!"
"Using groundbreaking design, Bosse Tools has effectively reinvented one of the world’s oldest tools: the shovel."
"Bosse Tools wants to provide you with ergonomic tools and their 21st Century Shovel has been reinvented to make it easier to use."
"Bosse Tools recreates the shovel by injecting it with a more ergonomic design."
"Just in time for the autumn yard cleanup, and the planting of perennials, a new start-up company is working to bring American-made yard tools to the market."
"Bosse Tools creator Stephen Walden has designed a set of shovels he hopes will make tasks requiring intense physical labor feel less like intense physical wear, grinding, and pain."
"Product designer Stephen Walden is looking to change the way people get their digging projects done with his ergonomic line of Bosse Tools shovels."
"There hasn’t been a lot of innovation in shovels for, say, a few centuries—until now."
"Who ever thought to design a better shovel? Nobody, it appears, and that centuries-long oversight is one reason more than half of construction injuries come from back and muscle strain — and also why Stephen Walden's radically redesigned approach to shovels and other tools is worth watching."
"It’s rare to such forward thinking innovation in the outdoor hand tool category, but Bosse Tools brings it."
"I also happen to love the spirit and enthusiasm that goes into creating a new product and company such as Bosse Tools. The entrepreneurial spirit continues!"
"A graduate student at Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business Administration, Walden has turned that idea into Bosse Tools, a start-up company with a future."
"Stephen Walden ’12, M.B.A. ’13 put a new twist on a tool that humans have used for thousands of years"
Risks and challenges
The main challenge is creating a quality that can hold up to a hard day's work and withstand a thorough beating. I, along with the rest of the Bosse team, am committed to meet and exceed this challenge. We have been careful not to overlook any intricacies of the designs, and are taking a very careful approach to building the strongest tools.
The most specific challenge, with regards to manufacturing, is choosing a composite that balances properties of impact strength and flexibility. We have been researching prototypes made out of various materials, metals and reinforced composites, and are confident in the materials we have available.
Lastly, strength testing will take time, determining the maximum amount of leverage that traditional tools can withstand, and making sure we can match or exceed these results.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
1. Prepare ahead of time - plan, prepare, then launch! I started working on this project in March and launched the campaign in September!
2. Have faith in your idea - you must believe in it! Over a year ago, I pitched this idea to my professor "Grampa" Fred Kiesner. I believed in the idea and so did he - we haven't stopped believing since.
3. Don't do it alone - build a team of people who believe in the product! I had the assistance of 5 incredible people, along with many other supporters - Marc Merchant, Ryan Gregory, Tom Sheppard, John Mezger, and Melissa Brown.
I would also like to recommend the help of a company called FilmBreak and their service called CrowdFundX - shoot them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
I see that you offer a "one of each" option - is there any way I can get all 3 of my shovels as the pointed spades?
Absolutely, if the campaign is successfully funded, I can make special note of any requests for which tools you prefer.
The current design has the ability to be left free-spooling or locked in place. It is designed to be locked into place when you find the desired hand-position, however.
Have you looked at 3-D printing as a way to cut costs, or would it not be appealable for this application?
3-D printing is a great technology - but it is unlikely that we can achieve the desired strength for the product using this method. There are, however, new technologies emerging with regards to 3-D printed metal parts. This is definitely something worth looking into - thanks for the question.
The $79 pledge is the original pledge for 1 shovel and that order will be shipped first. The $65 is also for 1 shovel and will be shipped after the $79 orders are fulfilled. Does that make sense? Thank you for asking.
Yes, the red & black prototype is a functional prototype and it is the model that we are using for the full production. The final production tools are designed and colored to match this version as closely as possible - slight variations would only be for added strength of the production units. The final tool head itself is steel, the shafts are fiberglass, and the handles are composite and metal.
I have seen a shovel at Home Depot with a curved shaft - that's completely different than yours, yes?
Yes, correct. I can't comment too much on it though, because as you pointed out, I don't often find myself shoveling snow in Southern California!
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