Four years. Numerous redesigns. A ton of functional challenges. And more than $1.5 million in development costs.
All for a sponge?
Well, as the buying public proved Sunday, the daddy of the smiley-face scouring pad sensation, Scrub Daddy, appears to have hit on another winner.
"So basically just sold out of 16,000 sets in 7 mins on QVC!!!," company president and CEO Aaron Krause wrote in an email after introducing his latest brain burst – Scrub Daisy – during an appearance on the shopping channel's In the Kitchen With David segment. "Daisy is officially CRAZY!!!"
Krause called the product's launch "the end of a really long road of four years of a labor of love." He is predicting the Scrub Daisy line – a seven-piece bouquet, if you will, of cleaning wands, a vase, and accessories that sold Sunday on QVC for $31.68 each – will become the company's "flagship" product, and has already trademarked two slogans in anticipation: "Crazy for Daisy" and "The Power is in the Flower."
That's a pretty ambitious projection, given what Scrub Daddy has become since the 47-year-old Voorhees inventor brought that creation – made of a secret formula of engineered polymer that turns hard in cold water and soft in hot, and never scratches surfaces or becomes smelly – to market in 2012 for $3.99 each. It accounts for more than $23 million in global sales a year for Scrub Daddy Inc., now a company of 50 full-time and 20 part-time employees, and with a headquarters/plant/warehouse in Folcroft, Delaware County, that was doubled last November to 70,000 square feet.
In 2014, Scrub Daddy was the most successful product in what was then the five-year history of ABC-TV's Shark Tank, attracting an investment by infomercial aficionado Lori Greiner. Since then, many more entrepreneurs have been invited to the Sony Pictures Studios lot in California's Culver City to pitch to the sharks. Yet Scrub Daddy, with 35 million sold, remains "one of the top five most successful companies in the history of the show," said Krause.
But like a typical entrepreneur, he had more ideas in him, prompted by customer requests, Krause said. Scrub Daisy is "the best of every one of our exclusive materials," he said, "married into a floral design to clean every aspect of the kitchen."
As Krause powered through a live on-air demo Sunday at QVC, show host David Venable gushed, giggled, and praised, "This is exciting. This is great." He occasionally broke in with sales updates: "2,200 … 3,200 … 5,000 are now gone. It's never been seen on television before today. … Guys, don't miss this."
In an interview Friday, Krause called the Daisy line: "Something revolutionary, and that's why it's taken four years."
Among the contributing factors, he cited:
The three sponge heads – a daisy, a sunflower, and a hyacinth – have connection mechanisms that make changing them easy but are firm enough so the sponges don't pop off the soap dispensing wand during use.
The heads are made of Scrub Daddy and Scrub Mommy (more absorbent, like a typical sponge) materials ultrasonically welded into layers to resemble flower petals.
The soap-dispensing system in the wand has a valve designed to release a certain amount of soap yet prevent leaking.
The different flowers aren't for aesthetic variety. Each is designed for a different use. The daisy for coffee pots, bowls, and pots; the angled sunflower for such items as plates and cookie sheets; the long, narrow hyacinth for bottles and the popular thermal S'well.
A smiling scrubbing pad is attached to each, naturally.
Aspects of production are in Germany and Shanghai, with assembly and packaging done in Folcroft.
Krause left the QVC studios near West Chester late Sunday afternoon and headed straight to Newark Liberty International Airport, where he boarded a flight Sunday night to Paris. His company signed a deal with a French distributor who got the entire Scrub Daddy Inc. line in the Carrefour store chain.