What is stuck to your fridge? If you’re like most people, you probably have a few magnets, some photos, a couple notes, and, if you have kids, the pictures they colored for you.
Cluttered refrigerators are not uncommon. Some of the most organized homes have fridges that look cluttered with some useless papers and magnets. Paul Davis, the inventor of the FrigeMate refrigerator organizer, hopes to help people change that.
Tell us a little about your Frigemate.
Frigemates are modular units that are placed on the outside of your refrigerator to reduce clutter and organize information. These units come in 4 different colors, white, black, bisque and gray.
What inspired it?
The inspiration for the development of this idea came when I was watching home shows on TV and realized that no matter what type of home was featured; one thing in common was that all of the refrigerators shown were cluttered with pictures, papers and other items. This is typical of most household refrigerators. I began to think of how I could design a product that would clean up this mess.
Frigemates comes in 2 styles, Frigemates Organizer unit and Frigemates Calendar unit. The Frigemates Organizer has a magnetic dry erase board, with a personalized message imprinted on it, a place for pen and pencil storage, a note pad and calendar holder and a cell phone pocket and 3 pegs to hold keys or other items. The Frigemates Calendar has 12 removable monthly pages, a custom pull up card showing a yearly calendar and a holder for appointment cards.
What are some of the different uses it has?
Frigemates can be used in offices as workspace organizers, they can be found in dorm rooms and companies can use them as promotional products.
How long did it take for you to design the Frigemate as it looks today? What was the design process like?
The design process was started in 2007, there were multiple prototypes and changes were made based on consumer feedback. The final product design was done in 2009. Patent application has been submitted, and is awaiting approval. The name Frigemates has received its trademark registration in 2008. This process took over a year to finalize.
What has been the hardest part in creating your product and bringing it to market?
Due to its unique design, the hardest part of commercializing this product has been that buyers and consumers have to be able to physically examine the product to appreciate the functionality and quality of its design. I have found that once the consumer purchases a unit, they will then order one to give as a gift to some one else.
What are some of the lessons you have learned from your business?
The lesson that I have learned from my business is that you must have patience to develop a customer base; once the momentum starts you have to be ready to handle the volume of orders. The development of this business has been self- funded, so be prepared to perform many tasks and spend some long hours.
What are some of the goals you hope to reach over the next year?
The goal that I have for next year is to have an organization in place that has the right personnel to grow the business with the proper controls and procedures.
If you could look into the future, where do you think you will see yourself and your business?
I see myself developing Frigemates as the premier product for refrigerator organizers and other uses. There will be other Frigemates designed and added to the business. With the customization of this product there will be many distribution outlets that can be developed.
Do you have any advice that you’d like to share with fellow inventors also hoping to create a business out of their own product ideas?
My advice to fellow inventors is to define a consumer need, define the market, and then design the product.