Patrik Stridsberg and his team at 3TEMP develop coffee equipment, which is probably one of the coolest jobs in the world. But as cool as it is, it isn’t always easy. Creating new technology can be a challenge, even after you’ve drawn up a great design.
He agreed to share with me their insights into turning an idea into a profitable product. Here are five steps they believe are critical.
1. Believe in Your Product
The team behind 3Temp – Patrik, Jarl Nilson, and Anders Eriksson – had been working in the coffee manufacturing industry for decades before they decided to start their own business. They founded 3TEMP in 2013. When I ask Patrik why they wanted to start their own company, he tells me it was love for the coffee industry.
The company makes espresso machines, grinders, and brewing accessories, and are best known for the Hipster Batch Brewer. “Before this, we were working mostly in the mid-end market. We wanted to focus on high-end machines and the challenging specialty market.”
Designing this brewer came with obstacles, however. “I think the biggest challenge for the product itself is taking a different approach. It’s quite hard to rethink everything you have done or known about brewing coffee for the last decade,” Patrik says.
What’s more, he felt it took courage for his young company to step outside the box – yet the 3TEMP team had faith in their vision. And that faith paid off.
2. Consider Quality
Part of the reason Patrik had so much faith in the Hipster was that he was targeting high-quality cafés. Specialty coffee is all about quality. Patrik tells me it’s important to remember this when developing something for the third wave.
“We wanted to make a machine that was really high quality and groundbreaking. We didn’t look at the market and see a hole to fill; we just wanted to do something better… We wanted only the best components, we didn’t care about the cost.”
You need to understand what your target market wants. And specialty consumers want, among other things, high quality.
3. Create A Design (and Name) That Stands Out
Quality matters – but so do looks. Being cool, photogenic, and in tune to third wave coffee culture’s vibes can be a big marketing tool for a product. Patrik tells me that the design and name of the Hipster reflect this.
He set out to give the Hipster a futuristic appearance, with blinking lights and a streamlined body. It turns heads because it looks different from the traditional boxy batch brewer. As for the name, Patrik calls it “an awesome name to match the spectacular design… Our definition of a Hipster is very positive and in line with what we want to achieve with this brewer – to seek a new approach to brewing both single and batch.”
“Everything was deliberate. The shape, the colors, the placement of every component. The design was bold, and we felt it needed a bold name.”
Consider what your product design is conveying. Does it align with your brand? Will people share photos of it on Instagram? And will they remember its name?
4. Find Market Support
Finding market support is imperative, although Patrik says that for 3TEMP this step was actually quite easy. “Filter coffee is very important in the Nordic market, so we didn’t have trouble finding roasters and cafés that wanted to try it.”
The Hipster found particular favor with roasters, which is a relationship Patrik sees as very beneficial. He explains that cafés want to use the same equipment as roasters so as to recreate the ideal flavors – making a roaster seal of approval a great promotion tool.
But what if your product doesn’t find market support? Patrik tells me that the best way to improve a piece of equipment is by listening to the users. “We’ve listened to the feedback from our current customers and we are making continuous improvements based on that information.”
5. Think Ahead
It’s never too early to start thinking of your next move. Patrik tells me he sees professional-grade brewers on kitchen counters in the near future. He believes companies may start adapting some of the bigger, more advanced café equipment for home use.
“You can see the movement towards this already,” he says. “Offices have already started to introduce specialty coffee in the workplace. The office coffee companies have to bring in better coffee and better machines so the people in the office don’t go out to the neighborhood café. And when you get used to drinking specialty coffee at work, then you need to have it at home.”
The question is, how will Patrik and his team take advantage of this trend? And how can you?
Producing a new piece of coffee equipment isn’t just about machine design. You’ll also need to consider your marketing and branding, word-of-mouth recommendations, and more.
But if you have a great idea, then believe in your vision, listen to your customers, and think ahead. Because those are crucial to turning your concept into reality.
*Commissioned article originally published on Perfect Daily Grind