The Early Success of Scrub Daddy Entrepreneur Aaron Krause invented the most successful product to ever appear on the reality TV show Shark Tank. The Scrub Daddy is a smiley-faced cleaning sponge made of a high-tech polymer that can change its scrubbing texture with your water temperature. In warm water, it’s soft and compressible and in cold water, it’s firmer for scrubbing. Since that episode aired on October 25, 2012, Scrub Daddy has grown to more than $75 million in retail sales. Challenge As the CEO, Krause has plans to make the Scrub Daddy and his company Scrub Daddy, Inc. a household name that can compete with major cleaning brands. The company already has the backing of celebrity inventor and Shark Tank judge Lori Greiner. Scrub Daddy has also already inked partnerships with retail chains like Walmart, ShopRite, Staples, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond; however, it must continue to aggressively expand product lines. In order to efficiently expand, Scrub Daddy needed a solution that could accelerate innovation and allow for easy, fast, cost-effective product design. Solution In 2013, a year after being founded, Scrub Daddy started experimenting with 3D printing by outsourcing new designs and concepts to 3D print shops. It couldn’t afford to invest in new injection molds to prototype every idea. As Krause says, “By 2014 we were outsourcing this service all the time and began looking for internal options. Finally in 2015 after much research we purchased our own MakerBot.” The MakerBot Replicator® Desktop 3D Printer operates today in the Engineering and Research and Development Department at the company’s corporate headquarters in Folcroft, Pennsylvania. Krause explains the decision with “It was obvious that MakerBot had been a leader in 3D printers and was the most prolific machine on the market which meant the best service and widest choices of materials and replacement parts.” Because MakerBot’s 3D printers are designed for ease of use, the in-house engineer was quickly able to understand MakerBot Desktop and start printing within the first hour of receiving the machine. Benefits To date, Scrub Daddy has prototyped hundreds of ideas on the MakerBot Replicator, including mops, accessory holders, personal care items, and handles. The first of those to hit the market will be the Scrub Daisy, a dish wand set to launch in 2016. By 3D printing with a reliable, easy-to-use MakerBot 3D printer, Scrub Daddy dramatically reduced the time and costs required to prototype new product ideas.
According to Krause, “Our prototype timeline has been cut by 80% because we have 3D printing. We literally can spend one day just printing, testing, changing and reprinting ideas instead of discussing them with a molder and then waiting months for a prototype that ends up not working. We have been able to test concepts in hours and each new print gives us a better experience so that we save even more time on the next go around.” For an energetic, active inventor like Krause, the cost-effective benefits of the MakerBot experience can border on the surreal: “If we had to add up just the costs of the wasted injection molds, let alone the time to make them and that lost opportunity cost, we have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars. That, coupled with the rapid prototyping and speed to market is another cash flow dream.” 3D printing ingenuity at Scrub Daddy extends beyond saving time and money for product designs. The company’s made props and stands for demonstrating products on live TV shows, like QVC, and also rapidly prototyped machine parts for use in manufacturing. Scrub Daddy has released more than nine products in five years—through the efficient, cost- effective power of 3D printing. Through this accelerated growth, Scrub Daddy may soon be an everyday brand in your world.