A line of visual measuring cups designed by an Evanston-based Northwestern University professor was a finalist for the 2019 Global Innovations Awards sponsored by the International Housewares Association and showcased at its annual International Home and Housewares Show this week at McCormick Place.
Pam Daniels, a clinical assistant professor at NU’s Segal Design Institute, showed off her innovative measuring cups at a booth at the show, which attracted interest from housewares retailers from around the world.
Her company, Welcome Industries, which is run out of her Evanston apartment, was one of five finalists in the Kitchen Hand Tools & Cutlery category of the competition, which drew more than 400 entries and were on display in the Hall of Global Innovation at the show.
Four cups nest into one for easy storage.
Her product is a group of four measuring cups—from ¼ cup to 1 cup—that nest neatly and fit in a standard drawer. Each cup is a unique shape that tell their size by their shape and are made from high quality clear resin that is unlikely to crack or craze, Daniels said. The set would typically retail for $19.99, she said, although that could change before a retailer ultimately takes on the product for sale.
Daniels said her goal is to find a leading retailer, such as Target or Crate & Barrel, that would become her company’s first customer.
In the meantime, Daniels and her husband, who live in an apartment on Michigan Avenue in Evanston, are maintaining their day jobs. By exhibiting at the Housewares Show, she hopes to come into contact with retailers the world over, although she recognizes that many countries use a different set of measurements than consumers in the United States.
“But I’m getting good feedback on packaging,” she said of her participation as the only Evanston company exhibiting at the show.
The product has been four years in the development stage, Daniels said, as she partnered with Chicago-based Janler Corp., a woman-owned business, to do the tooling and manufacturing.
“Working locally,” she said, “simplifies collaboration and means faster delivery times and less uncertainty for retailers.”
She tried unsuccessfully, she said, to raise $80,000 in an online Kickstarter campaign that failed to achieve its required amount, so she and her husband found the necessary funds by other means to get the product off the ground.
Now, with the exposure she has received at the Housewares Show, she is hopeful that a major retailer will offer the product for sale throughout the nation…or even the world!
The International Home & Housewares Show, operated by the Rosemont-based International Housewares Association, annually draws upwards of 60,000 visitors from 35 countries, including some 2,200 exhibitors, to Chicago each year. The 2020 show is scheduled for March 14-17.