Standing tall at 6'3", I felt cramped in my shower. It turns out I wasn't alone -- not in a Psycho kind of way -- but that millions of bathers of all shapes and sizes would also welcome more shower space. As a renter, I wanted to avoid the remodeling hassle, expense, bathroom damage and ecological wastefulness of a curved shower rod. So I wondered ... why not just curve the curtain instead?
My Eureka moment came while standing in the shower. Pleating! I quickly dried off and started cutting and folding sheets of plastic. But like an Origami puzzle, it was really difficult! From my small apartment in Manhattan's Lower East Side, I agonized over an endless number of folding methods, materials and designs. All failures! But I didn't give up. Eventually -- 2 years, actually -- I found the perfectly balanced shape. I taped the 6 folded "fins" to a regular shower liner. They worked! The pleats and simple force of gravity created a soft natural curve. This was my first working prototype in early 2016.
Now I needed to make more prototypes for testing. In May 2016, I hand-made 10 curtains, 3D-printed 60 rings -- thank you, John at Voxel Magic! -- and snapped them onto 60 hand-cut fins. It took me 3 months. Then I asked 10 friends and neighbors to test these more advanced prototypes. They loved them! I made some minor adjustments with their valuable feedback. By July, after an unexpected review in Gizmodo, I suddenly got 250 pre-orders on my website. But I wasn't ready. Until then, I had been 100% self-funded, paying for patenting, prototyping, testing and more... but now, I urgently needed more funds for manufacturing setup, liability insurance and shipping costs. So I opened a crowdlending campaign; 115 small lenders (most of them complete strangers) helped me reach my $9,000 goal in 48 hours! Thank you, Kiva community.
I shipped the 250 units in October 2016. They earned great reviews, averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars from verified customers. Customers made some final suggestions which led me to use simple snaps (instead of pocket flaps) for the final version you see today.