August is National Inventors Month, so to kick things off we interviewed twin brothers Richard and Anthony Joseph – the brains behind a collection of amazingly simple and well-designed kitchen gear. We love how they approach everyday kitchen problems with style, a pop of color and thoughtful design. Almost all of their products make us say, “Why didn’t we think of that?!”
Not only are Richard and Anthony great designers, they are also very generous! They have agreed to donate two of our favorite Joseph & Joseph products, the Nesting Prep Bowls & the Elevate Utensils, to our Uncommon Giveaway! Be sure to come back to the blog on Friday for a chance to win.
And now, on to the exciting interview!
When did you both become interested in design?
Our mother is an architect, and our father had a glass manufacturing business in the UK, so there was a strong creative influence when growing up. We were both quite artistic at school and this led to use choosing design degrees at university.
What was your first product hit?
Chop2Pot was the first big hit. We actually found an early version of the product in MOMA New York, it was called the ‘No Spill Chopping Board’. We got in touch with the designer and made some design improvements. We have been selling our Chop2Pot for 5 years now and have just launched another version which makes further improvements to the design. It continues to be great seller.
Yes, all these products try to solve common functional problems, be it storage, hygiene or making a product multi-functional like the Uni-tool. We try to identify problems that most of us experience in the kitchen, not just serious cooks.
Once you have an idea, what is the design/product development process like?
Every project is different, but we try to keep structure to the development so that we remain focused on the original design brief and get a product to market at the end of the process. We do a lot of prototyping and testing. It is important to show as many customers as possible, my mother included, during the development and get feedback on the design.
Based on your products, it seems you spend a lot of time in the kitchen – do you like to cook?
Richard and I both enjoy cooking but our focus is actually on industrial design and manufacturing. We research the product categories thoroughly and feel we could apply the same formula to lots of areas in the home such as bathroom products or garden tools.
What do each of you bring to your business/design process?
We always decide on the products we would like to launch together; this is very important. But after that we both have very much separate roles in the business. Richard is the Managing Director, so he looks after the sales and finance, while I am the Creative Director so I develop the chosen designs and look after the manufacturing.
What advice would you give up-and-coming designers and inventors?
Keep focused, understand what your competitive advantage is in your market and develop that, nothing else. Our business started to grow fast when we stopped trying to design everything and said, “Let’s just design chopping boards.”
Thanks Richard and Anthony!