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Inventors Month


YouGoods: Put a new twist on old greeting cards

August 30, 2010

“Pass me the White-Out!”

Christy Eichers had just realized she had no card for the birthday girl, so she quickly fixed up an old card of her father’s.

The result was fairly tacky, but she was certain there was a business idea there somewhere.

And regreet was born:

With regreet, you can upcycle your old cards in style, and take away the stigma of passing along a card that’s been doctored with whiteout or eraser marks. Christy’s even thought of a way for you to track your card’s journey, and see just how many times it gets regreeted.

According to Christy and the Encyclopedia of American Industries, the greeting card industry is a $7.5 billion business with 90% of households purchasing cards each year. The typical household purchases 30 cards annually.

So regreet kits, made from earth-friendly materials with a minimum of 30% post-consumer waste and printed with soy inks, can have a huge impact on reducing the amount of paper we waste each year.

Christy is winning a $1,500 cash prize, along with the chance to show off her designs at World Maker Faire NYC and sell the regreet kit at

Leave a comment below to congratulate her on her idea– eco-friendly, clever, and well designed.  A perfect YouGoods design for National Inventors Month!


And the Finalists Are…

August 26, 2010

Last night, a group of us met with the YouGoods guest judges at the Tribeca Grand in downtown Manhattan to pick our finalists among all the great entries we received.

And the finalists are:

The Grocery’minder by Francene Pisano Dudziec. With a wet-erase front, this bag is perfect for making your grocery list, checking it twice, and heading off to the market. . Judges thought the concept solved a basic problem; sure, everyone tries to be a good person and bring their reusable bag to the grocery store. But it’s hard to remember every time. With your grocery list stuck right on the front of your bag, the grocery’minder tote makes it hard to forget.

But the judges did have some questions.
1. Would you be more likely to use the grocery list if the bag were easily attachable to your refrigerator?
2. Are there enough blank spaces for you to fill in your personal shopping list?

If you’re a fan, you can vote for the grocery’minder tote through Sunday, August 29 at 11:59 PM ET.

The Double Wall Tea Cup by Endrit Hajno. The judges admired the basic concept of this tea cup made of glazed porcelain or ceramic. Each cup has an insulated double wall for keeping your drink warm, but not burning your hands. The bottom strip of color is notched, allowing you to tuck the string of your tea bag out of sight. While the judges expressed some reservations about how difficult it could be to make this cup and the choice of materials, they all agreed that with a little tweaking this tea cup had a lot of potential!

If you enjoy the idea of a Double Wall Tea Cup, vote for it through Sunday, August 29 at 11:59 PM.

And last but not least, regreet by Christy Eichers. regreet offers you a way to reuse old greeting cards without the stigma of seeming cheap. Judges thought of this entry as a great social concept. These greeting cards make “regifting” cool and give senders a way to reuse last year’s greeting cards. The designer even included a way for you to track your regreet-ed card’s journey using Google maps.

Judges were curious to know what the environmental impact is of using additional paper to regreet an old card.  And judges also wondered if after seeing the idea of regreet, you wouldn’t just use your own scrap paper to reuse your stack of birthday and holiday cards. But everyone acknowledged it was a great way to inspire us all to be more sustainable during the holiday season.

If you love the regreet gift card set, vote for it now through August 29 at 11:59 PM.

If you like them all, don’t worry. You can vote for each entry once, through August 29.  And feel free to leave a comment if you have a question or idea about the designs. We’ll announce the winner on Monday!

Special thanks to our guest judges: Becky Stern, editor at CRAFT and Make: Online, Debera Johnson, Academic Director of Sustainability at the Pratt Institute, Allan Chochinov, Editor-in-Chief at Core77, and, and Graham Hill, founder of


How to Make a Seatbelt Chair

August 20, 2010

Every product has a story. Rarely, however, do we get to hear about the people, materials, and processes involved in the product’s manufacturing. As part of Inventor’s Month, we thought we’d give you the unheard product story behind the Seatbelt Chair. Here’s how it went from an entry in theYouGoods design contest to the focal point of your living room:

On April 30th, 2010, Adam Barron’s Seatbelt Chair had just won the YouGoods Vintage Vehicle Challenge. Everyone here in the offices at UncommonGoods was in love with the chair, but one question was on our minds: Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Inventors Month: The Alyce Santoro Story

August 18, 2010

When I first saw the sonic fabric tie, I knew which uncommon artisan I wanted to talk to for National Inventors Month.  Alyce Santoro makes each sonic tie from prerecorded audio-cassette tapes– and if you’ve got a tape deck handy, you can actually listen to your tie sing. The sonic fabric tie is available for $120 in platinum or onyx black.

Read my interview with Alyce Santoro below

Continue Reading…

Maker Stories

Joseph & Joseph Giveaway

August 6, 2010

Congrats to Lindsay, who said, “My favorite thing to make is hearty fall and winter soups. Potato, vegetable, french onion and cauliflower soup. Warm, filling soup … yummy!” She’s winning a set of Elevate kitchen utensils.

And congrats to Amanda, who won the nesting prep bowls. Her favorite meal is, “kabobs! Yum! So simple! So tasty! So easy!”

Thanks to everyone who left a comment! Remember you can subscribe to the Goods via RSS and get a heads up for all our future contests and giveaways.

Happy Friday everyone! In lieu of our usual Friday Scavenger Hunt and in honor of National Inventors month, we’re giving away a set of elevate kitchen utensils and a set of nesting prep bowls from innovative designers Joseph & Joseph!

To enter is easy. All you have to do is leave a comment telling us what your favorite dish to make is. Make sure to leave your email address and name when you submit a comment (Don’t worry, your email address won’t be public – It’s just so that we can contact you.) Also, leave your twitter name if you have one!

Wait there’s more! If you want to triple your chances, tweet your comment to @uncommongoods and leave a comment under the post on our Facebook wall for up to two additional entries. Everything must be posted before 12 noon ET on Sunday. We’ll announce the lucky winners on Monday.

Happy Friday!


Cool Green Inventions (Part 1)

August 5, 2010


For the green-eyed and bushy tailed, nothing beats the next clean thing. Read on for five fresh stunners hitting the green market today.



Bright Idea

A contender in the US Department of Energy’s L Prize competition (and a top-five invention-of-the-year pick by TimeMagazine), Philips’ brilliant LED bulb runs on less than ten watts, but beams the same luminosity as a 60 watt bulb. With 25 times the lifespan of generic bulbs, it could save enough energy to illuminate 17.4 million homes a year. Census crunch: That’s 7.4 percent of all U.S. homes! Now that’s mega-watt energy conservation.


Greener Cleaning

Recently, the market seems to be exploding with biodegradable products meant to protect our streams with chlorine- and petroleum-free suds. Eco-friendly product pioneer Seventh Generation has been ahead of the curve, developing Continue Reading…


YouGoods Inventors Month Design Challenge

August 3, 2010

Inventors month

Do you have what it takes to become the next Thomas Edison or Benjamin Franklin? Are you sitting on a genius design or invention that is sure to be the next big thing? Then we want to hear from you!

In honor of National Inventors Month (the month of August), UncommonGoods is issuing a wide-open design challenge to find our next Uncommon Inventor or Designer. The fourth of our YouGoods product design challenges, this contest is looking for a product with a spark of inventive genius, a flash of innovation and something that makes us say, “Why didn’t we think of that?” Oh, and did we mention there’s a $,1500 prize and a chance to showcase your design at Makerfaire NYC?

Click here for more details and how to enter.

Check out some of our past YouGoods winners for inspiration.

Maker Stories

Inventors Month: the Joseph & Joseph Story

August 2, 2010

joseph & joseph

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  Continue Reading…

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