SmartJars® are the best way to get your stuff organized
This easy to use storage system will bring order to areas overwhelmed with chaotic piles of small stuff.
Your kitchen, garage, crafts room, lab... you name it!
How do you get and/or support SmartJars®?
That's easy! Look up an option you like, below, then click on that pledge level.
How exactly do SmartJars® work?
In three simple steps, stuff goes from cluttered to organized:
1. Put your stuff in a SmartJar®.
2. Snap the SmartJar® Dock to your pegboard.
3. Put the SmartJar® in the Dock.
Then sit back and enjoy the sense of calm and order.
Organized. Easy to find. Laid out just the way you want. When stowed, the lids are transparent, so you can either look inside, or you can label them for quicker access. The Docks are easily inserted and removed in standard pegboard like that you’d find at Home Depot or Lowes. You can arrange them for the look and layout that's best for how you work. SmartJars® are durable, air-tight, and food-safe (BPA free).
Perfect for organizing your:
- craft room and scrap-booking supplies
- beading and jewelry-making materials
- nuts and bolts in your garage or basement
- dried herbs and spices in the kitchen
- sewing room
- AND all types of widgets, gizmos, buttons, doo-dads… you name it.
SmartJars® are clear cylindrical containers, 2½ inches in diameter and 4½ inches tall, with a clear, snap-tight lid. The container will hold up to 1¼ cups (10 fluid oz.) On the pegboard, the dock takes up 3 inches by 3 inches and can be arranged directly adjacent to each other, either vertically or horizontally. SmartJars® are 100% recyclable and made in the USA.
SmartJars® are patented and trademarked.
Two less things to take care of before SmartJars® go out the door!
Why do we need your support?
We're raising funds to offset the upfront cost of our first production run. We also have some minor modifications to make to our injection molds. Finally, we need to work out details on packaging, shipping, and order fulfillment in general.
Where did SmartJars® come from?
From Giacomo, the inventor of SmartJars®:
"SmartJars® evolved from a nagging desire to organize my spice cabinet. As an avid BBQ and dry rub enthusiast, I found myself spending way too much coin on tiny containers of spices from the chain grocery stores. I soon graduated to purchasing spices in bulk from a little place then known as Henry’s Farmers Market.
"The problem: What do I do with all these left over baggies of spices that accumulated in my cupboard? Most of the available spice jars on the market were too small for the quantities I cook in, they were also expensive, and I didn’t really like the way most of them looked.
"After much searching I found containers that kinda worked, but for one reason or another, they just weren’t fitting the bill. They were the size I wanted, but they were made of cheap plastic, they smelled like chemicals, the hinges broke, you couldn’t see through them… then I thought, 'Hey! I’m a product developer… I design plastic parts… there’s only a jar, and a lid, and something to hold it. I can’t be the only one with this problem. This will be EASY!' Yup, that’s exactly what I thought, EASY."
Over the past three years, we’ve gone through multiple iterations of designs on both the dock and the jar. Thinking the jar would be straightforward (it wasn’t) we focused on the dock first. Pegboard was a natural fit for what we wanted to do with this product, but most things that hook on to pegboard don’t stay put. We knew what we wanted: It had to FIRMLY attach to pegboard and stay put, you had to be able to remove it and reposition it if you wanted to, and finally, it had to be able to support a full jar of something metal, like screws (by this point we realized it was useful for more than spices.)
We came up with a good design and went through tons of prototypes. The early SLA rapid prototypes helped us work through the shape and design, but SLA isn't great material and would break when we tried to attach them to pegboard. The others would creep (deform) over time so the snappy action would quit working. And the solid-snap feel is a key part of the product quality, so we needed to really optimize it. Machined plastic prototypes were the ticket. One order and decision made, we were off and flying on the dock mold.
The jar design was more problematic. We were extremely conscious of the material selection here. It had to be safe for food storage. It had to be odor free. It had to be clear (or as clear as we could get it.) It needed good sealing capability. Polypropylene was a natural fit here, but we also wanted durable product, not a disposable one, so we put in a real hinge, not just one of those cheap flexible ones. We were able to test that out with machined plastics, but finishing off the lid was a challenge. Snap fits on cylindrical containers can be tough: You have to do a little work to get them to feel right, and the molds can be complex.
Ultimately we made the molds with a design that we thought was close and then we sectioned the product, taking microscopic photos of areas we were concerned with. This we compared against the CAD geometry to zero in on what needed to be changed. After much investigation and effort, we got the snap and seal we were looking for. This was a ton of tweaking, but it was worth it. The jars have a great snapping seal.
Fast forward to today, and we have the product we want. We also have what’s known as single-cavity molds to produce it. That means every time the mold opens and closes, we get one part. It’s not as inexpensive or fast as it should be to make parts. We’d rather make 16 at a time. The good news is that these parts aren’t prototypes, these molds make the final product—they’re good enough to sell.
Risks and challenges
We’ve spent the better part of 2013 getting ready for production and building our fan base. At this stage, however, most of our product work is done. There have been minor improvements though:
- We have gotten a lot of phenomenal feedback on the product and on preferred colors of the dock. That’s reflected in the colors offered here.
- We’ve also consolidated our molding in San Diego County, CA (at first we molded our marketing samples in both the Los Angeles Co. and San Diego Co.) This has lowered the reward level (in dollars) of the product.
- We’ve also iterated several times on the injection mold processing parameters. This means the parts we deliver will be consistent and of higher quality than if we were to make that mold right before sending out rewards.
As far as production goes, there is a lot of work done already and some left to do:
- We’ve negotiated for the lowest cost shipping option in the continental U.S.
- We’ve identified 2 backup molding vendors, both in northern San Diego Co.
- We’re testing different packaging options to determine the best way to ship parts without damage.
- We need to make minor tooling changes to reflect the status of our patent (awarded, so we need to show the U.S. patent number) and trademark (awarded, so we need to show the “®” symbol.)
- We’d like to find our injection molding process limits so we can exercise QA (quality assurance) instead of testing every jar we make (quality control.)
In short, we currently have a stable product that we deem to be a very low risk campaign. At this point, we want “put a little a polish on it” and start the molding machines. Your contribution helps us meet our minimum manufacturing volumes and makes this product viable with the tooling we have.
In the event that our campaign is so popular that it exceeds the life of our dock mold (roughly 100,000 parts), then we're funded enough to make a steel injection mold for the dock. In the event it exceeds the life of our jar and lid molds (roughly 1,000,000 parts), well, we'd be funded to address that as well.
We truly appreciate your support and hope you love SmartJars® as much as we do!
Giacomo, Joanna, Erin, Lauren, and Jeff.
- (45 days)