The Smart Kitchen Summit is the first event to tackle the future of food, cooking and the kitchen with leaders across food, tech, commerce, design, delivery and appliances. This series will highlight panelists and partners for the 2017 event, being held on October 10-11 at Benaroya Hall in Seattle.
Evan Dash is no stranger to retail. From executive experience at top brands like Macy’s to leading consumer electronics and kitchenware brands, Dash has spent his career thinking about what modern consumers look for in a new product. Seven years ago, on a trip to the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan with his kids, Dash realized how many great ideas never become reality and had an idea of his own. “Everyday people have incredible ideas all the time. They range from outlandish inventions to the simplicity of a “Why didn’t I think of that?” product. Each product has a story,” Dash commented. He decided then to create a company that would help people – and eventually other companies – bring their ideas to life and get them in front of consumers all over the world.
Today that company – Storebound – has launched dozens of products in over 20,000 stories around the world and has recorded over $100 million in sales to date. But Storebound isn’t just another go to market firm; they focus on pairing innovation with simplicity to create products that the next generation of consumers are going to want to grab off the shelves. And their secret sauce for knowing what millennial buyers want? Social media, of course.
Storebound has built significant social media followings on Instagram, particularly around its brands and the market area they are selling in. For example, their homegrown houseware and small appliance brand Dash has over 300,000 followers on Instagram – a platform where they share a myriad of recipes in popular short-form videos. So why is a retail brand focusing so much on content development?
Dash says of the self-named brand, “Our singular focus is to develop products that make it easier for you to prepare and eat real food at home so that you can feel your best. We give you the tools and the support to make delicious healthy meals and we’re committed to helping you live life unprocessed.” While social might act as the support element for Storebound, it also acts as a helpful focus group and research tool, letting their team know how Millennials are thinking about cooking and shopping.
Each product Storebound takes to market has a different story, audience and purpose. Where some brands look at adding “smart” to the front of a product name to add features, Storebound looks to take an unconventional approach to create fun, quality products that simplify tasks.
“Our focus isn’t on selling products – that’s secondary. We focus on building communities of enthusiastic users. Our Instagram following is more than most of the heritage retailers we sell to and exponentially greater than all the market share leaders in our industry put together.” – Evan Dash
Storebound also focuses on bringing new concepts to market in the kitchen and home space, including 3D food printing. Two years ago, Dash and his team launched PancakeBot, the first 3D food printer designed specifically to create pancakes. A unique although slightly impractical idea for everyday use, Dash insists the device wasn’t meant to change the way you make pancakes regularly.
“Rather than pushing an agenda of PancakeBot being an essential kitchen product, we took a more practical approach. We understood that while not quite designed for commercial kitchens and extremely expensive for the average home kitchen, PancakeBot is the perfect teaching aid for children interested in technology,” adds Dash. The Storebound team works with STEM programs around the country to use PancakeBot as a way to showcase food printing technologies in schools.
As for where Storebound fits in the smart kitchen?
“We’ve taken a less conventional approach to “smart” than others in our industry. We believe in products that simplify the task at hand. We blend simplicity with design, quality and the necessary content to get the intended benefit from our products.”