Last September, Jenny Drinkard was just a recent college grad from Georgia Institute of Technology merely entering the supposed “real world” — also known to her as the industrial design market. She had heard of a company called Quirky when CEO Ben Kaufman came to speak to her class and decided it would be a cool place to start submitting her inventions. Her design: modular storage units based on the shape of milk crates. After not hearing from the company for several months, Drinkard got a reply the following March with Quirky interested in pursuing her design. By June, Crates was officially sold in Target and Drinkard had moved to New York to join the team as a design intern.
How it begins
“Living the Quirky dream,” as one would describe, Drinkard is one of many who have flocked to Quirky to take part in social innovation. Started in 2009, Quirky takes the submission of inventors and polls its online community to see how receptive the products are to the masses. Despite a $10 fee per submission and the company’s rights to take over the designer’s existing patent, Quirky has been receiving enormous traffic since its humble start three years ago. “We get about 1,500 submissions a week,” says Jaime Yandolino, Quirky’s public relations representative. “We usually pick 10 a week to discuss, but this week we have 12.”