How Did This Project Start: The long and winding road to Waalflower…
It was my first day on a new job, I joined Zzish an exciting educational technology company as a marketer and designer and the story of Waalflower starts with my first day on that job.
During my first team lunch, Francesco (Head of Growth at Zzish) asked me;
“so what do you like to do in your spare time?”
And i answered, “I like hacking together things, right now I’m working on building a wireless charging unit for my iPad and using magnets so it will stick to things…”
And the general consensus of the table was awe, intrigue and mostly a high level of confusion at what the new guy was going on about…
That’s what Waalflower started out as: a personal project to solve a personal pain. I always enjoyed using my iPad, it was a great mobile home computer, but I felt it was always constrained by the limitations of wired charging.
So I embarked on the search for a consumer solution I hit the internet and realised my options were as follows,
- buy a longer cable for charging.
- buy a hefty external power bank to plug into my iPad on the move.
- buy a very expensive wireless charging solution that catered more for home automation than it did everyday use.
Depressed with the limited options I did what I most enjoy doing ‘hacking together a solution with on-the-project-learning’, within a week with parts from China, an old gummy case for my iPad, a lot of masking tape and a combination of fridge and furniture fixing magnets, I built the first prototype of the ‘Waalflower Pro Wireless Charging Case with Magnets’, or ‘WPWCCwM’ for short (still a working title).
Like a proud father, I mounted my creation onto the fridge (with the magnets), snapped it and sent it to my friends and family and replies came flooding in; everybody wanted one…well like 5 or 6 people. But it was enough social validation to explore this a little deeper, after directing a few of these friends with iPads to buy the existing solutions online and hearing back that it’s “too expensive” or “I would not know how to install that”, I realised the market for wall mounted and wireless charging accessories had missed a trick, the market had isolated only the one extreme of use case; home automation. All the readily available solution cost more that the iPad itself and needed a skill level of 100 to wire up to the mains and mount (by cutting holes in the wall).
What the market needed was an entry level, easy to install and affordable wireless charging solution for iPads…at this point my senses were tingling and I dived down a rabbit hole of market research and testing.
The wireless charging space has always excited me, my inner child loving the space age feeling the technology evokes, and the wide market oppurtunity in an emerging technology. Efficiency in charging is now better than ever and with strong rumours of apple including wireless charging into the upcoming iPhone (which i think will catapult it into the mainstream), I came to the conclusion that this was a good industry to enter and one that is only going to see more growth in the future.
It was at this point I realised that my masking tape fixed product would not really appeal to potential consumers, so i asked two long standing friends and product designers to join me on my quest…to rid the world of wires.
Visit Waalflower.com to find out more…
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