It took “many sleepless nights” and nearly 50 prototypes for two childhood friends to develop what they say is the “most compact cleaning kit in the world”.
TIOBOX co-founders Laurent Mas and Julien Coste are now planning to establish a Melbourne headquarters for the quirky invention after first developing it in France.
Laurent, who moved to Melbourne nine years ago, tells Startupsmart he knew the idea was going to be a success when Coste first told him about it.
“TIOBOX is all your cleaning tools in one compact case that can fit into a cereal box,” says Laurent.
He says the case, which fits in a broom, mop, squeegee, wipe and duster, is so small it can fit inside a kitchen cupboard or under the sink.
“We wanted to simplify the way people live,” Laurent says.
The process of invention
When Coste first conceived the idea, he spent many sleepless nights drawing it before the duo launched into a three-year research project with an engineer and graphic designer that resulted in about 50 prototypes.
“We wanted to find the best technical solution that was economic, user-friendly and quick to use,” Laurent says.
He says the lengthy research also involved a global search to find materials suitable for the product’s light magnetic technology.
Having secured a supplier and nearing the final stages of product development, the duo are preparing for a crowdfunding campaign that they will kick off in a couple of months.
But not before flying to Chicago to showcase TIOBOX at the International Home and Housewares Show, one of the biggest expos on household product innovations in the world.
The pair also hopes to expand the current range of TIOBOX products with more designs and colour options.
Laurent says they have not approached any major retailers and will start by making it available online to the global market.
TIOBOX is currently taking pre-orders with shipping planned for May.
Laurent says a discount is offered to early bird customers and for those who complete the feedback survey online.
“The customer is our support and we need them in the development of a great product,” he says.
To fellow inventors, entrepreneurs and startups, Laurent encourages them to go out and pursue their ideas with a relentless perseverance.
“Sometimes when you get an idea, you put it on the side and leave it there but you must keep your invention in mind and make it grow bit by bit every day,” he says.
“Maybe you will fail the next day or maybe you will find the right solution.”