Seven years after launching popular housewares brand, StoreBound, the company’s forward-thinking CEO, Evan Dash chats with Michelle Hespe.
Evan Dash meets me at the International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago with a big smile and the firm, friendly handshake he is known for. It’s been a decade since he left Macy’s, where he was the Senior VP for Home, and it’s been seven years since we last met when I wrote a story about how he was launching a new brand called StoreBound.
Back then, as it is now, StoreBound was delivering innovative products to market, created by designers focused on simplifying life and making it more enjoyable through great industrial design.
In Evan’s own words, “StoreBound is a product innovation company. Our design team works with inventors, licensing partners and manufacturers to create, produce and distribute innovative products to retailers around the globe. We believe that retail is still the gatekeeper to the community/consumer.”
In the cool-looking space that is StoreBound’s exhibition display, we’re surrounded by an exciting array of new products. The PancakeBot has a crowd around it, and that’s no surprise as it is the world’s first food printer capable of printing pancakes by automatically dispensing batter directly onto a griddle. Pancake designs can be loaded onto the PancakeBot via a SD card and then users can make their own pancake designs. The software comes with it, or users can browse through the online material that is updated with fun, new designs every week.
There’s also the Smart Table, called Sobro. It’s elegant, modern and futuristic white, with a tempered black glass top. It has a built-in fridge, Bluetooth speakers, charging ports, electrical outlets and even LED lighting to set the mood in your living space. The tabletop is a touch screen with a cool interface beneath the glass. Turn your TV on, answer the phone, charge your devices and get your work done, all without having to stand up.
“I think we look at ‘smart’ in a different way,” Evan says. “People, companies, they often come up with very contrived things
that don’t really simplify your life, and can make the individual dumber, actually. Smart products for us could be our waffle maker that cooks the overflow or this connected table, meant to truly make things better and easier for the owner.”
Evan has been on Make Me a Millionaire, which is a U.S. TV show based on top engineers scouring the country looking for amazing ideas they’re convinced can make big money. They track down the inventors and give them a second chance to bring their ideas and dreams to life on TV. “It’s always an exciting process bringing someone’s idea to life, and we don’t charge fees,” says Evan. “If we think the idea is going to work and that the consumer will love it, then we take it on and make it happen.”
It’s clear that the grounding philosophy of StoreBound is based upon its mission to improve people’s lives. “We want the consumer to love us, from the moment they experience the brand we want them to fall in love,” says Evan. “That’s the one thing that I am always preaching to my staff: If there is one thing about the job you’re doing today that is crucial to us, it’s that you need to get the consumer to love what you are doing and what they are receiving.”
Color is also “wildly” important to Evan. “We’ve found that there is a pent-up demand from the consumer to make them smile. Color has the ability to brighten up your day. It’s not an investment to bring color into your life. We have our marketing team selecting our colors and we work closely with Pantone.”
StoreBound is also renowned for teaching people about eating real, unprocessed food. Evan and his team want people to live a healthy, happy life and to be inspired by the products and the plentiful produce most of us have access too. Their current catch-cries are “Un-process your food” and “If it comes from a plant, eat it. If it’s made in a plant, don’t.”
“With our unprocessed movement, we want to keep it authentic. Our commitment is to humans, rather than simply to the environment. We want to do as much good as possible for people, without harming the environment. There is no better steward than Mother Nature, so if we all let her do her job, then we can focus on people and what they can do to lead better lives.”
This personal commitment to improving a consumer’s life is one of the things that has StoreBound gathering more followers by the day. In seven years, Evan and his team have created a rapport with their customers that many retailers can only dream about—they have over a million followers on social media now.
“Social media is something that I didn’t expect to become as crucial to a company’s success, as it is now. So our team is constantly creating more content and determining the best ways to engage with our followers. We then analyze our network and find useful information from the end user. Basically, we’ve created a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week focus group, and through that we can gauge the amount of likes we get and the types of engagement that we see coming from our social community,” says Evan. “There’s a ton of information there that we can use to leverage meaningful decisions, and this in turn, helps us to decide where to make our investments.”
It’s worth asking Evan what advice he would give to retailers starting out now. He finds that question an easy one to answer. “Always control your destiny. It’s easy to go with the flow and let the current take you along with it. It’s a lot harder to blaze a new path or do things that really gain attention. Go down the road that inspires you, as it’s so much more gratifying. Then the consumer will truly appreciate what you and your brand stand for.”
To learn more about StoreBound, visit www.storebound.com.