Don’t huff and puff with groceries anymore, just pack it all up in Puffie!

Sunday, 11 February 2018

What scares you about doing your grocery? The long list of things that you need to hunt around in a supermarket or the thought of carrying those heavy grocery bags right from your car to your kitchen? While various order-in/home delivery facilities can take care of those challenges, the latter can be quite strenuous and might make you dread the ordeal of grocery shopping! And if you live in an apartment which is a few floors above the ground, then you know the horrible pain after the one-way trip from your car to your doorsteps while carrying all the bags at once.

Meeting this challenge completely comes in Puffie, proving to the world how necessity is certainly the mother of invention! Puffie is an extremely beautiful umbrella-sized aluminum cart with 7 wheels, a retractable handle, and a carrying case. It is a brainchild of Hamed Fakhro who came up with this brilliant idea of a personal, user-friendly, retractable shopping cart that makes carrying grocery or other heavy items easy and doable.

It is interesting to note how this portable cart was born in Houston by Hamed Fakhro, a Bahraini inventor and businessman, who had been quite hassled by the task of pulling in heavy bags of grocery from his car to his house.

Speaking to StartUp Bahrain,  Hamed, a well-known name in Bahrain’s startup community as a founder of various startups, a mentor, a real-estate developer, and a writer, he recalls “We all know how painful it is to carry many grocery bags, especially over distances. Unluckily (or luckily) for me back in Houston, it would take me a good minute to walk from the elevator to apartment door, and by the time I’d sprint the last few steps my fingers were blue and my muscles would burn. Otherwise, I’d have to make two trips and I must confess I’m too lazy to do that. After unsuccessfully scouring the market for a small folding light cart that could easily disappear in my car trunk or apartment, I got a feeling in my gut; the feeling of opportunity. That physical tingle is the feeling that leads me into all my ventures (good or bad). This time though, I would do it differently, I would make sure I listen to the market as well as my gut instinct”.

What followed next is an absolutely inspiring success story! First, Hamed started by creating a prototype. It was a small metal cart that would fold open from the size of a book to the size of a suitcase. The idea was to create a space out of nothing; kind of like an umbrella but with wheels.  This was followed by launching a video campaign on Kickstarter, planning to continue only if the market supported the idea. In two weeks, Hamed made 30% more than what he asked for -which was initially $15,000. That was a great indication!

Now there was no stop for this genius creator! As he fondly recounts ‘I used a freelance website (99 Designs) to come up with a name and logo, formed and established an American company “Puffie Solutions LLC”, created an Amazon FBA account, along with an e-commerce platform using GoDaddy, created an eBay account, and learnt American tax codes, rules, and regulations’. Subsequent to this, Hamed had to screen through and negotiate with several companies as he finally got Puffie manufactured.

The next phase included checking the market viability, and looking for prospective distributors for Puffie. After a series of additional steps like creating test-advertisement, testing waters, getting a patent for his product, and finally signing a contract with a company, Hamed is now waiting until Christmas to check how Puffie blooms in the real market! As Hamed awaits what lies ahead, we wish Puffie and him a sweeping success!

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