Crates is a modular storage and furniture system based on the age old milk crate. Submitted by Jenny Drinkard, a Industrial Design graduate from Georgia Tech, Crates became both Quirky’s first product to be manufactured in the US, as well as the quickest product to market, going from idea to shipping in under 100 days. The development of Crates was one of the biggest challenges in Quirky history. Not only was the deadline to begin shipping set at 100 days, it was determined that Crates was going to be manufactured entirely in the United States with the mold coming from a toolmaker in New Jersey being used for final production in Vermont.
Development began with our design and engineering teams working together to determine the most structurally sound design for the crate. Once the design was finalized, the Quirky Community was invited to help determine which accessories would be manufactured and sold. The product was launched exclusively on Fab.com and soon after had dedicated endcaps at Target and The Container Store.
Retailing Crates proved problematic. Stores had to had to show the complete system or consumers wouldn't understand how the parts worked together. We would go to certain stores and see the accessories for sale without any Crates on the shop floor. It was a lot easier to sell kits online where we could show instructional and lifestyle videos. The shipping containers were so well designed that retail merchandisers would put them on the shop floor without opening them. Eventually we had to add stickers to explain that the real packaging and products were inside.
The project was awarded to L&Z Tooling & Manufacturing in Watchung, NJ, where the tools for Crates and a number of accessories were made. The 5-ton tool was trucked up the east coast to Arlington, VT, where Crates were manufactured by the injection molding experts at Mack Molding. All the Quirky staff went on a field trip to Vermont to see how the Crates were made and to see with their own eyes how products are actually manufactured.
Photography + Video
Quirky inhouse team
Press and Awards
2012 Quirky Reinvents A Staple Of Dorm Decor: The Milk Crate