The 2014 Product Pitch is only two weeks away! I can’t wait until the day I’m standing at Fenway Park, watching the eight finalists pitch for the ultimate product launch prize against the backdrop of this iconic baseball park.
In this week’s Product Pitch Spotlight as part of the pre-game coverage on Boston.com, I am catching up with Max Ash, last year’s Product Pitch winner for community favorite.
So far in this blog series, we’ve heard from innovators who are helping maker businesses; from innovators who are giving us better maker tools; and also from makers themselves. Max is a maker, who happens to be nine years old. He’s learning the ropes to getting a product off the ground with his amazingly supportive family -- brother Sam, mom Jennifer, and dad Ronald.
Max’s product is a hot chocolate mug with a basketball hoop into which you shoot mini marshmallows. But that’s not where the fun (or creativity) ends. You can use it for shooting raisins into oatmeal, crackers into soup, and even M&Ms into ice cream.
He got his start in art class, where he knew he had something special when his friends started copying his creation. And who can disagree with his vision that the world would be a better place if we played with our food?
Since his first clay prototype, he’s been working with new technology to help bring his product to life. He worked with a CAD (computer-aided design) design expert to make a 3D model of his mug with a hoop. Production for his first edition mugs began in Portland, Oregon.
The road of turning a product into a business, however, is filled with lessons and learning. Max and his family has had to look at different manufacturers overseas to keep costs down while still producing a quality product.
Since taking home the win for community favorite, Max is still running full steam ahead. He’s been working with a design team at Sprout Studios on applying his mug concept to other sports. These new designs are still in development, but he already has concept mug sketches for football, soccer, hockey, and baseball.
I found the football one especially fun. Max explained the flicking action needed to play with that design. Basically, you could flick peas into your soup or gummy bears into your frozen yoghurt. But of course, if you prefer the original mug, you can dunk those items through a basketball hoop instead into your mug.
While he’s decided on a manufacturer to produce his original mugs, Max is also hard at work for his new designs. He is currently working on getting them all prototyped through 3D printing and excited about getting them eventually produced so that kids and adults everywhere can play with their food.
To get a sneak peak for all the new mug designs of MAX’IS CREATIONS, be sure to tune into Boston.com on 3/20 for the Product Pitch live stream. Max will be 3D printing his latest prototype in a live demo and it’s only fitting that it make its debut at Fenway Park!
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Caroline hails from a tiny tropical island originally, but calls Boston home. A curious bird, she spent a spring trekking all over Ireland, has been an Air Force Junior ROTC cadet, and worked at Disney World as a merchandising intern. With a love for all things interesting, she found herself at The Grommet, where she gets to eat, sleep, and breathe innovative undiscovered products. Say hello to her on Twitter.