Nav's Small Business Grant
The Journey of “ZpillSafe” – Nav’s Small Business Grant
We started as an engineering consulting company in 2009, learning on the fly, interested in helping inventors develop their ideas using CAD, 3D Printing technology and CNC machining. After gaining so much experience throughout the years, we found inspiration from our preemie daughter (see story https://www.phplasticoshoyos.com/pages/our-inspiration) to launch our own product, ZpillSafe®, late in 2018 on Amazon. It was a dream come true, a journey that took a lot of patience and perseverance in not giving up on our vision. The project lasted about 10-12 months. From the prototype phase to the final packaging phase, we found many hurdles that were not easy to overcome. With the budget proposed, no mold maker wanted to take on the project due to the complexity of the part design and the unique material requested. Most parts manufacturers could not build the parts at our price point, and our packaging supplier took longer to deliver our packaging parts, delaying our launch date.
In 2019, we started to exhibit the product through our social media platforms and trade shows, we learned that we had to teach people about our product, and surprisingly found out that ZpillSafe® was useful in many market industries. We were also expecting another baby, which made traveling difficult. We closed the 2019 calendar with strong sales and were looking forward to continuing our 2020 calendar exhibiting our product onto more trade shows. Unfortunately, as the Covid-19 pandemic expanded at the beginning of this year, shows were cancelled and our original plans were at limbo (see story https://www.instagram.com/p/B9X1w80FDP1/?igshid=18l9pusoi1c8a).
The first months throughout the pandemic were rough with no sales. We brainstormed and changed our marketing plan and started to do everything online. We modified our website system, and pushed more information on our social media platforms doing more promotions videos and posts, in hopes of gaining more traffic and exposure of our product. By late May, sales started to pick up again and we have constantly been busy since.
Now, feeling more confident with a savvier knowledge of starting a business, we embark on the second phase of our journey, a bit more challenging one, and we are excited to share it. We are expanding the product line to modify the growth and development of our “pour spout”, teach people to use it for unexpected drinking purposes and add the drinking feature. Wasting no time, we went ahead and finished the prototype phase, with final samples made, with having the product perform flawlessly. In addition, we are participating in an innovation contest (see link https://contest.techbriefs.com/2020/entries/consumer-product-design/10286) to gain audience interest as well.
As we move forward, we need help with funding, we are applying for the Nav Small Business Grant contest. If funding is achieved, we will be using it to modify existing molds to adapt the new inserts in the drinking feature design, and produce another small production run to test the market again.