Go to MIT. Take a class on how to make things. Build a product that everybody wants. Run a campaign on Kickstarter so you can get this product to friends and family. Raise 650% more than you set out to raise and realize you suddenly have a company to run after graduation…
That (simplified) pretty much explains the scenario for David Yamnitsky co-creator of Press Fit Furniture and the standing desk that has taken on a life of its own.
I chatted with Yamnitsky about his experience throughout this journey from classroom to business owner, thoughts about Kickstarter and where Press Fit Furniture will go from here.
The standing desk, as mentioned, stemmed from an engineering class. Frustrated with the costs of similar products in the market, Yamnitsky and Isabella Tromba (who wasn't in the class, but helped with design) set out to create their own at a much lower price.
They focused in on development and found a one-step digitally manufactured process, which is all done right here in Massachusetts. Because of the simplicity of this process they are able to pass on the savings to the consumer and offer a standing desk at better than half the price of the competition.
The Press Fit Standing Desk is made from precision-cut parts that assemble like a jigsaw puzzle without any screws or tools and the lightweight pieces make it easy to pack up, move and reassemble in another location.
Yamnitsky told me the Kickstarter campaign, which had a goal of $10,000, was originally launched to meet the demand of friends and family. Unexpectedly, the campaign caught significant traction and raised nearly $65,000.
Yamnitsky’s experience with Kickstarter was nothing but positive. As he put it, “Kickstarter does exactly what it’s meant to do. It is a perfect test bed for physical products.”
Without Kickstarter, Yamnitsky would have had to raise money based on an idea, produce the product then hope to sell it. With Kickstarter, they, as creators, were “protected from risk,” Yamnitsky said.
Where do you go from here?
What does one do with an unexpected extra $55,000? Yamnitsky has been hard at work solving this question. They’ve teamed up with a marketing company, launched their website and online store (now officially taking orders) and are creating a run of 1,000 - 2,000 desks (amount not finalized at the time of our discussion).
Seeing this traction all took place online I was expecting to hear the standing desk would only be available online, but Yamnitsky tells me they are currently in the process of finalizing agreements with major retailers. So keep your eyes open in those big box stores…
Manufacturing of the desks is set to start this week with shipments of Kickstarter orders arriving by mid September. By late September, Yamnitsky hopes to have desks available in select retailers.
While they did need to raise some additional outside money to get the initial run of product they do not have any imminent plans to raise more funding or even open an office. They are content and capable of working from home as it stands today.
I guess only time will tell if Press Fit Furniture will be pressed with demand to make other high-quality affordable products, but if the time comes we hope they’ll continue to do so right here in Massachusetts.