LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW
Monday, January 28, 2019
LIFESTYLE - INTERVIEW
by Mehmet Kaplan
We always complain about the things that make us lose time in our daily lives. When we wake up, wouldn't it be great to have breakfast ready, not to waste time to brew our tea or coffee, and even spend less time in traffic? Joshua Renouf designed a product that made our life easier and more delicious and named it Barisieur. This Tea or Coffee Brewing Alarm Clock wakes us up on mornings and serves us a cup of coffee or tea to make a delicious start to the day. I talked to Joshua Renouf, Designer and Founder of Barisieur, about Barisieur Tea or Coffee Brewing Alarm Clock that entered our lives with a successful Kickstarter project.
Who was Joshua Renouf before the success of Barisieur? How did the success of Barisieur change your life?
I was a product designer who was studying at Nottingham Trent University. The Barisieur changed my life by allowing the flexibility and freedom to work for myself, which is a very liberating feeling.
How did you come up with the idea of "Tea or Coffee Brewing Alarm Clock"? What inspired you?
I actually designed this product in 2014 for my final year project at university. I was doing a lot of research on the sleep (as I probably wasn’t getting enough of it at the time). In my research, I found that people were not getting a good night sleep due to screen-time before bed - where the blue light emitting from the screen stimulates the mind when it should be unwinding and relaxing. Research has shown that getting into a routine before going to bed helps the body relax. I also wanted to design something that not only encouraged a ritual before bed - but helped one wake up in the morning. I found in my research that the best way to wake up - is not with an immediate jerk from the horrible sound of an alarm from your clock or the buzzer from the smartphone; but by gently stimulating all 5 senses. Sounds, Smell, Taste, Touch, and sight. Hence why the Barisieur isn’t like the pod/capsule machine it encourages more interaction and creates more theatre than them. IF the Pod Machine is a CD player - the Barisieur is a vinyl record player. As a designer I am fascinated by tactility and use of material - therefore I wanted to design something that you were proud to display on the bedside as well.
How did you manage to attract the attention of global news outlets before launching the Kickstarter campaign?
I put all my projects up on my website www.joshrenoufdesign.com and enjoyed what was most likely going to be my last summer holiday, before having to start working in the real world. I don’t know how - but the Barisieur was picked up by Yanko design - and proceeded to go viral. My website received over a quarter of a million views in a week, I have around 30,000 emails subscribers, along with the likes of Fox News talking about me and the product on their breakfast show. I was pretty overwhelmed, but thought, hmmm maybe I could do something with this. So I decided to approach a product development company to design this for manufacture and help take this to market. After 2 years of working with the wrong company (who didn’t get a working prototype), along with a Russian guy, a Guy in Hong Kong; I finally met the right man for the job. I launch on Kickstarter and raised £100,000 in 6 hours and then it plateaued for a week or 2 and I didn’t think I would hit my ambitious target of £380,000 in time. But on the last day, Kickstarter put me on “Project of the Day” and Brexit was announced, and the dollar strengthened against the sterling making the Barisieur more affordable for the Americans. I crawled over the line by £3,000.
Before talking about the features of Barisieur, this is the last question. How does it feel to reach to the unique success by the crowd-funding campaign and meet with Sir Richard Branson?
I feel very proud to have experienced the crowd-funding process - especially in 2016 when it seemed less commercial and saturated. Meeting Richard Branson was a surreal and very proud moment in my life. It could not come at a better time. My campaign needed an extra £80,000 in 2 days in order to receive the funds and I was feeling very low at the time. Virgin Start Up rang me and explained that Richard Branson was in town doing talks about Brexit and wanted to meet a few Start-ups. I made myself available and prepared my pitch to Rich. It was in a board room and I told him the amount of interest it had received but also how someone who supplied coffee to Virgin Hotels wanted to receive a sample to see if it was worth putting into the hotels. Richard was very complimentary about the design and said “If it makes coffee like my wife does, I’m sure it will be a hit.” He actually ended up writing an article about me and my campaign after I scraped over the line about the importance of demonstrating the demand for your product.
Could you tell us about Barisieur?
With the Barisieur I thought that this boiling process and movement of water from one vessel to the other should be exposed as it’s such a magical process to watch. I remember in science seeing my teacher boil a beaker of fluid with the tube and the steam pressure pushing the water out of the vessel: I never got over that. The Barisieur works off induction technology and automates your morning by stimulating one's sense of sounds to start with, due to the gentle bubbling of the water. It then leads over to the sense of smell when the water transports over and showers the coffee grounds or tea. Then you can obviously see the process of what is happening (Sight). And last but not least you can finally Pick up the cup (Touch) and enjoy the (taste) the coffee or tea. This is great for early mornings going to the gym or daily commute. Caffeine normally takes around 20 minutes to get into the bloodstream. So by the time you out the door and in the gym or cycling to work - you are already feeling revitalized!
What are the principles of good design?
Well like most designers who have studied industrial design - the famous Dieter Rams says "Less is more". I was most certainly influenced by Dieter and the values he stands for. He believes that design should not be intrusive and as little design as possible. I most certainly tried to keep it simple - but I also wanted the product to encourage interaction and appreciation to the process; as I feel that us millennials are becoming more and more impatient due to this instantaneous nature of our throw-way society. I also wanted a product that people could be proud to display the product in your room. I am hoping that I have designed something that is timeless and long-lasting for years to come due to its design. Only time will tell!
What have you paid attention to the most in the design and development process?
I think this process has taught me a lot.
1. Fail fast and often, and fall forward. You’re doing something new (that why people are interested). Don’t be scared to iterate and refine until you are happy - you have time.
2. A positive mental attitude is the most important thing not only in life but when starting out. You don’t know what you are doing half the time which is actually half the fun. That being said, surround yourself with people that may have an idea about departments that you don’t.
3. It will always cost double the amount you expect (no matter how much of the maths you have tried to figure out) - sometimes you just have to figure it out as you go and take the leap. But try and take those calculated risks - I would not have been able to get this company off the ground with the initial £380,000 that I raised on Kickstarter - I am so happy I continued to raise money on Indiegogo demand - I also managed to get R&D tax credits back on the development of the product. So it has been an expensive journey - but we are now ready to sell!
What are the technical features of Barisieur?
The Barisieur uses induction technology to the surface itself does not get hot - it induces an electromagnetic current to the boiling vessel which is a lot more efficient and safer. The Barisieur also has a chilled location for the milk. It has infrared sensors which detect if milk is present. If it is - the cooler turns on and regulates the milk at 3 degrees - keeping it fresh.
What do you enjoy most about using Barisieur in your daily life?
I have never been a morning person - I love working late at night as this is when I feel most creative and inspired. Waking up earlier and getting to the gym (sometimes) is most certainly my biggest enjoyment about the product. I also just love looking at it and know that this is something that I have created.
Social media platform are a new showcase for innovative brands. What do you think about the power of social media on buyers' decisions?
I think Social media is both a curse and a blessing. It's amazing that we can now target certain people who would fit our 'target audience' for the products that we think they would appreciate and use. Having access to this analytics and information will only help develop honest products.
How can our readers follow Barisieur?
Please follow the Barisieur on Facebook, Twitter and most definitely Instagram. @barisieur
Where can our readers buy Barisieur?
Check our website out here: www.barisieur.com
What is next for you?
I am doing a rebrand this year and bring out some sustainable furniture along with some more products - Stay tuned!
Thank you Joshua for your time.