Warehouse Innovations created The Kitchen Safe, a safe that lets you set a timer and lock temptation away. The product has been featured on Shark Tank, USA Today, and Time, and now the startup has redesigned its product and is ready for mass production. We sat down with co-founder Ryan Tseng to talk about the latest version of the product, the overall state of the company, and, of course, his appearance on Shark Tank.
Q: How would you describe both The Kitchen Safe and Warehouse Innovations?
We started Warehouse Innovations to make healthy choices easy. We make connected home products that apply proven behavioral economics. The products significantly enhance decision-making which empowers people to improve wellness via diet, exercise, and cessation of unhealthy habits.
We got interested in this because, like most American’s, we’ve personally, or have close friends and family, that have struggled to achieve health goals. Everybody wants to be healthy, everybody knows to what to do, but few of us can do it. Why? When we were students at MIT, a professor there helped us find answers by introducing us to research in the field of behavioral economics. It was great stuff, and we supposed that packing this research into a product, could make pretty big impact.
Q: You mentioned behavioral economics and psychology and those ideas being put into the product. Is there a particular concept that goes into it?
Yes, so the first one is called pre-commitment, which is the notion that people generally know what they want to achieve, whether it’s losing weight or quitting smoking, but when comes down to making the decision of whether or not they should go to the gym or make a healthy vs. unhealthy food choice people fail to make the right decisions despite knowing in advance what they wanted to do.
Economists realized that there’s a disconnect. People normally know what they want to do and what the right decision is, but when it comes times to make the decision they often make the wrong one. So the idea behind our product is that when you’re able to commit to a smart choice early when you know that later you’ll be tempted by bad choices that it’s much easier for you to achieve your goals.
This is the same psychology behind 401k savings plans and why automatic enrollment plans are so much more successful than plans that don’t have automatic enrollment.
Q: I noticed there’s an app that goes with the product. How exactly does that work?
Kitchen Safe connects with your smartphone via Bluetooth. An app on your smartphone controls Kitchen Safe by reading information from fitness trackers and other information available on the smartphone.
Q: Is there any other product on the market like this? What is your differentiator?
No, not currently. But as far as our differentiator goes, I think the big thing is taking a more integrated approach. In many cases temptations exist in the real world and there’s no way to connect an app that stands by itself to the real world. We have our hardware so you can lock up your cookies, or your game controller, or your TV remotes, but then you also have the app so you get the same functionality as productivity or time management apps.
For us the big thing was, how do you take this research and these concepts to make a product fun to use and engaging. If it’s not fun and engaging then it doesn’t matter how effective it is, nobody is going to use it.
Q: Who do you see as your target market?
It’s a combination of people that just want to eat a little bit better and people that take fitness very seriously. We have a UFC fighter that uses the original Kitchen Safe for his diet in training camp and is thrilled with it.
Q: What is your biggest ongoing challenge?
[Long pause] Good question… everything is pretty good, nothing really stands out.
Q: Well what about market or industry threats?
The biggest problem is probably getting people to understand the value of the product. We have tons of people that love it because they’ve tried it and used it, but there’s a group of people that are not very open minded about trying new things.
Q: What has been your most significant achievement to this point? You were on Shark Tank, which is a very high profile achievement, but is it your most significant?
For me the big thing is that the product is actually making a difference for people. Shark Tank was great, but at the end of the day we’re not doing this to be on TV. We’re trying to build something that’s meaningful and I think we’ve done that for a lot of people.
Going on the show was very positive and the day we aired I think we sold around $50,000 worth of product just that evening, so obviously that was nice and doing the show was a lot of fun.
Q: What are your goals moving forward?
In the short-term, we’d like to continue growth. So far we’re up 400% from January to January, which is awesome. As far as long as long term goes, the goal is just building products that are meaningful to people.
Q: When will customers be able to buy The Kitchen Safe?
The product is available now at thekitchensafe.com. It’s also available on Amazon.com. We’re just focused on the online channel right now.
Q: Finally, how has the EvoNexus incubator helped your business grow?
I think the biggest thing is the community – being able to ask people around you for help on things that you’re not familiar with. It’s 150 people that are pretty smart that can help answer your questions or point you in the right direction. That’s not an easy thing to get anywhere else.
There’s so much experience in the incubator and the experience is very current, as well. Everyone at EvoNexus is working on problems today and so whatever feedback you get is very contemporary. Joining a community like this is pretty unique.
For more information on The Kitchen Safe and Warehouse Innovations, visit http://www.thekitchensafe.com/.