KUMA the Spork
Kuma's design focuses on its portability—its size and shape makes it fit wherever you need it to go. It’s easy to stow away and the perfect companion for your camping trips, your packed lunches, or that new food truck just around the corner.
I hope you will be proud to carry Kuma around with you wherever you may go. Not only because it is functional, but also because it is reusable.
Kuma is the culmination of my degree project at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where I researched and designed around the idea of eating utensils. I am fascinated with eating utensils and how their designs reflect the cultures that created them. From forks, to chopsticks, to even our own hands, what we eat with says something about who we are and where we came from. And growing up in Hawaii with multi-ethnic parents, I constantly experienced this dynamic between food, utensils, and culture. I fondly remember the times at the dinner table when my father (a first generation immigrant from the Philippines) would put down his utensils to eat a meal he particularly enjoyed with his hands.
My goal with Kuma was to design a utensil that spoke to the ideals of our modern society. We are a more globalized community with almost instant access to unprecedented amounts of information. We are constantly striving to do more, learn more, and experience more of this life around us. At the same time, we have become keenly aware of the effects our existence has had on planet Earth. We are committed to sustainable practices and living not only for our planet but also for those who will come after us. I designed Kuma to be a reusable and convenient alternative to the disposal utensils we often use and throw away when eating out.
(If you are interested in the topic of eating utensils click here for a list of resources I referred to constantly while developing KUMA. I would be more than happy to chat about this list if you shoot me an email!)
What Does Kuma Mean?
Kuma means 'bear' in Japanese. The name is inspired by the utensil's resemblance to a bear's claw and is an ode to the spork's outdoor roots.
Why Use the Kuma Spork?
Use Kuma because it is convenient - It'll be there for you during that unexpected lunch with a friend or when you are trying out that new Korean B.B.Q. restaurant.
Use Kuma because it is functional and durable - You can throw it in your pack for that week-long camping trip or your packed lunch for school or for work.
Use Kuma because it is a sustainable and reusable - a utensil fit for the modern lifestyle.
Made in the U.S.A.
Kuma and all of its components will be proudly manufactured here in the USA. I am so excited to get to work with my manufacturing partners, all of whom are based in New England. Since I live and work in Rhode Island, I can quickly check in with my manufacturers and resolve any problems that arise. By choosing to work with local manufacturers, Kuma is reducing its supply chain's emissions.
Travel Pouch Add On
I am also so excited to offer a travel pouch add on for those who want to protect their Kumas from the elements! Travel pouches will be made out of recycled 600D polyester fabric. One pouch will be able to carry up to three Kumas. If you would like to receive a travel pouch please add an additional $5 to your pledge amount. (Example: If you want two Kuma sporks and one travel pouch you would select the $20 reward option but pledge $25 dollars).
Travel pouch prototypes shown were made out of recycled 600D polyester fabric. Please note that I am still researching the pros and cons of this material and that I will absolutely notify all of you if there is a material change in the final pouch design.
$30,000 Stretch Goal Unlocked!
- I will be offering three additional finish options for the aluminum Kumas--Kickstarter green, bedrock black, and nugget gold. Please note that these finish options will only be possible for the aluminum Kumas, the “nugget gold” finish option is not actual gold, and I will never offer “Kickstarter green” again after this campaign!
- I will also be offering an optional belt loop add-on (at no extra cost) for those who are ordering the travel pouch.
Tests, Iterations, and Revisions
After countless revisions and user tests, I am so confident in what Kuma has to offer.
Kuma will be available in either hardcoat anodized 5052 aluminum or 304 stainless steel. In addition to providing a durable and corrosion resistant finish, hardcoat anodizing allows for vibrant color options. For those interested in stainless steel, stainless steel Kumas will be offered only in a natural metallic finish. Please note that all final Kuma prototypes shown were made out of anodized aluminum.
Funding and Timeline
I need your help to bring Kuma to the masses. My $18,000 funding goal truly represents the minimum amount of funding needed to bring you a quality product made here in the USA. Without a doubt Kuma's largest upfront cost is making the tooling necessary for the metal stamping process. Part of that cost is reflected in Kuma's pricing for this initial production run. Please find my Kickstarter production and fulfillment timeline below:
- Kickstarter Campaign: December 5th, 2014 ---> January 14th, 2015
- Payments Received: January 14, 2015 ---> January 28th, 2015
- Fulfillment Surveys Sent Out & Collected: January 14, 2015 ---> April 14th, 2015
- Tooling Production & Quality Control: January 28, 2015 ---> April 14th, 2015
- Kuma Production: April 14, 2015 ---> May 14th, 2015
- Fulfillment and Shipping May 14th, 2015 ---> June, 30th, 2015
Spread the Word
Kickstarter, if you believe in Kuma please share this project with your friends and family. Let's make the Kuma spork a reality!
Micah was born and raised in Kailua, Hawaii. He is currently a freelance designer based out of Providence, Rhode Island and a graduate of the Industrial Design program at RISD (BFA, ID 2014). He can't surf but he can play the ukulele.
Shoutouts to Jake S. for advising me on and prototyping early versions of the travel pouch, Taylor B. for the bueno video help, Ricky Crum for the tasty guitar track, and Mark Schou for his beautiful photography.
A very special thanks to Will Reeves and Verne Cordova. This project quite literally would not have been possible without both of your contributions. Thank you for believing in me and Kuma.
Risks and challenges
Kickstarter, you know the deal here. I am confident in my product and my amazing manufacturing partners but that does not take away from the fact that there may be unforeseeable challenges and hiccups along the way.
I will do my best to produce the highest quality product for my backers. I have quite literally put my name behind this product and I don't take that fact lightly. I will do my best to be as transparent as possible throughout this whole process and answer each and every question asked of me and Kuma.
- (40 days)