Chomp Stix | The Rest of the Story

By now you probably know the unexpected and fantastic inspiration for our latest product; our son thinking the word "chopsticks" was pronounced "chompstix".  And what kid doesn't mispronounce things everyday? But as Paul Harvey would no doubt demand, here is "The Rest of the Story" in between that fateful night of take out and us launching Chomp Stix at the 2013 International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago.

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Rush3 knew that Chomp Stix would need to do two things: be an entry level way to use chopsticks and have a mouth to "chomp" things.  Sketches and computer renderings led to makeshift prototypes (I remember a band saw and a recycled plastic cutting board incident..) which led to real prototypes of animals ready to chomp.  The design process was, as always, a march toward simplicity - a single material, no hinges or extra components, the right plastic, the best colors.  In the end, "Al" the green alligator, "Chum" the blue shark and "Teri" the pink pterodactyl were born.

Rush4 at the factory in South Dakota. (The mom in me really wants to photoshop his jacket zipped up.)

Rush4 at the factory in South Dakota. (The mom in me really wants to photoshop his jacket zipped up.)

Selecting a manufacturer for one's product is a little like dating and then getting engaged, complete with butterflies in your stomach when you realize "this is the one."  A true highlight of the development process was finding Falcon Plastics | Premier Source, a plastics company located in Brookings, South Dakota.  (Sweet Jesus, Chomp Stix would be Made in the USA!)  Randy and his team at Premier Source were partners from day one, helping troubleshoot and giving feedback on how to improve the outcome all while honoring the design intent.  The icing on the design process cake came a couple days after Christmas 2012 when Rush3 and Rush4 took a field trip to South Dakota to see the first Chomp Stix come off the line.  (And yes, it was cold. Like really cold.)  I'm not sure which of the Rushes were more excited; Rush3 who took his "Aha" moment and ran with it or Rush4 who proudly holds the fruits of his mis-pronunciation. Let's call it a tie.

Some of the first "Al the Alligators"

Some of the first "Al the Alligators"

Rush2 and Rush3 at the 2013 IHH Show in Chicago where Chomp Stix® launched and  were a finalist for the Innovation Award.

Rush2 and Rush3 at the 2013 IHH Show in Chicago where Chomp Stix® launched and  were a finalist for the Innovation Award.

Very humbling to get this in the mail.

Very humbling to get this in the mail.