A light bulb went off in Greg Bond’s mind while he was at Pier 39 in San Francisco. He saw a vendor selling dozens of fresh, hot, mini donuts, which were being made on the spot in a donut making machine. As the vice president in charge of new products at Nostalgia Electric Company, Greg realized that if he could make a home version of this machine, it might do very well. He did some research and found out that the commercial version of the donut making machine costs $5,000 dollars. He wanted to make one that could sell to consumers for $149. Was it possible?
Greg called Ken Tarlow at Tarlow Design for his opinion. Ken evaluated the basic concept, did some sketching and materials sourcing, and concluded that it could be done. Greg gave Tarlow Design the green light to design and build a proof of concept prototype to show that a consumer model could really be designed and then retail for the target price.
After several attempts, Tarlow Design developed a working prototype that made great little donuts and hit the desired retail target. Next, we produced engineering drawings of all components of the product and then flew with Greg to China to meet with the manufacturer. After we described the product to the Chinese manufacturing team, one of the members raised his hand and asked politely, “What is a donut?” After explaining the popularity of donuts in the United States and making a few sample donuts with the prototype that we had brought to the meeting, the manufacturer enthusiastically took on the project.
“The Donut Factory” is selling well and is now available at Kohl’s and other fine retailers.