Dan Provost (left) & Tom Gerhardt (right), co-founders of Studio Neat
I first came across Studio Neat and their products in 2010 when they launched their first Kickstarter campaign for the Glif, a tripod mount for the iPhone 4.
At the time, Kickstarter was in its infancy and hadn't really had anyone looking to raise significant money for physical products on their platform, let alone what Dan Provost & Tom Gerhardt, the co-founders of Studio Neat, were initially thinking of asking for. In fact, Kickstarter actually advised them to lower their goal to give them a real chance of raising the funds!
The original Glif
So… Dan and Tom launched with a much lower goal than originally intended instead, $10,000, and days later had raised $137,417 from 5,273 backers from around the world!
And thus, Studio Neat was born.
Since that wildly successful campaign back in 2010, Dan and Tom have run 5 more successful Kickstarter campaigns and Studio Neat now has a total of 7 different physical products, and 2 smarphone apps, to its name.
Some of Studio Neat's other products
Profitable since day one, Studio Neat is still run solely by Dan and Tom from Austin Texas, having being founded in Long Island NY. They have a strong interest in manufacturing locally, with many of their products being wholly, or at the very least partly, manufactured in the US. They both work remotely from home offices and do a lot of product prototyping and development in house before going to manufacturers for the final stages.
Tom with their MarkerBot 3D Printer
Their current focus is on Apple product accessories, apps and cocktail accessories. However their ethos, in their words, is that “it's all about solving interesting problems and delighting our customers”. So, who know what they'll design next…?
Tom & Dan at Dan's home office
Now that I've given you a bit of background on Studio Neat and the guys behind it, I think it's time for our Q&A with Dan Provost, don't you?
Here it is, enjoy.
V22: “What would you say if you had to explain what Studio Neat does in one Tweet?”
Dan: “We make simple products that solve problems.”
V22: “How did you make your first prototype of the Glif”
Dan: “Tom modelled it in Rhino, a 3D modelling software that had a free version at the time. We had it 3D printed at shapeways.com. All told, getting the first 3D printed prototypes cost less than $50.”
V22: “What is you're preferred method for recording ideas and brainstorming?”
Dan: “We are both fond of analog methods, primarily an open notebook on the desk. However, Tom has been using an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil a lot recently.”
V22: “What's the one thing you’ve bought for the business for under £100 that has had the greatest positive impact on Studio Neat and why?”
Dan: “Hmm, this is a tough one! There have been plenty of free things, like setting up a company Instagram account, that I think have been impactful. Things like that allow folks to get a better sense of who we are and how we work.”
V22: “What single achievement of Studio Neat's are you most proud of?”
Dan: “Any time folks say something we’ve done has inspired them to make something or pursue something creatively, it feels really good.”
V22: “What product do you wish you'd invented and why?”
Dan: “This is such a huge question, I will narrow it to a recent product that Studio Neat could have made, given our capabilities. I’ll say the SlimFold Micro wallet. Smart design, highly functional, made to last.”
V22: “If you won £10,000,000 (or dollars) tomorrow what would you do?”
Dan: “Hire a private chef.”
V22: “Where can people go to find out more about Studio Neat and what you guys do?”
So there you have it, our interview with Studio Neat. Short, but insightful! Do checkout the products they've created, there's something satisfying simple about all of them, my favourite is the Neat Ice Kit, a kit that lets you create all the types of ice you need for any cocktail.
If you're a visual person their Instagram account is great, or if audio's more your thing check out their podcast Thoroughly Considered which gives an insight into what it's like running a small design business.
We plan on sharing more inventor interviews with you over the coming months, so be sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter, the 22 Review, to find out when the next one goes live. To do so click here or use the form below.
Until next time, folks.