Re-imagining Sunbeam kitchen appliances for young millennial professionals
Our masters thesis team was tasked with finding out what would get young millennial professionals interested in purchasing kitchen appliances. Jarden had noticed a fall off in small appliance purchasing in people under the age of 32 and wondered what needed to change to get these folks with recent access to middle class income interested in kitchen gadgets. What would make millennials buy? Would it be an app?
They really wanted it to be an app. We, as young professional millennials really didn’t want some stodgy corp to cater to us with another useless app on our phones, so to settle the score we left the house and found some young professional millennials who weren’t us and started asking questions, designing observations, and testing our hypothesis with rough prototypes. You’d never guess what we found…
In the end, we discovered that millennials were mostly locked out of the housing market and reticent to purchase expensive appliances that might not fit in their inevitable next apartment.
We found that millennials were review hounds and would often shop in store, but still fastidiously checked Amazon reviews even while browsing the isles of Target. They would spend up to 100% more on something that was well reviewed, but often found that the cheaper options were just as good and would opt to save the money.
We found that they had complicated use cases that were often ignored by the idea of the traditional home. They were frustrated by cooking in one container, transporting into another, and then reheating in a third to store possible leftovers in a fourth. They had busy lives with small kids, demanding jobs, and extensive social demands. They often cooked alone, but valued eating with friends and wanted to create spaces for food and friendship, but didn’t always feel confident balancing cooking and hosting.
Our users wanted to try more complicated recipes with confidence while also empowering them to multitask. They often lived in starter apartments with limited counter space and outdated/cramped major kitchen appliances. Space was a premium and the looming relocation to an apartment with a smaller kitchen was a frequent worry.
Our suggested solution for Jarden was an induction cooker that utilized induction technology to wirelessly power various attachments. The result was a single plug, a full featured expandable system that packed small and could move between meal prep, cooking, serving, and leftover storage with only a few small attachments. It created an ecosystem where folks would benefit from buying more bowls, pots, and lids without being fully lock and key. It also integrated seamlessly with another Jarden brand utilizing ball mason jars as single use smoothie/blender containers that could be used immediately or sealed for later use.
The app ended up being a useful way to augment tempature automatically in real time without constant supervision as well as to keep an eye on your progress if friends, a child, or work pulled you away from the cook surface for a minute. We suggested integrating recipes from cooking websites to make meal planning easy and integrated a social aspect of sharing recipes between friends where personal and regional tweaks could be made to pre-existing recipes or new recipes could be added from scratch.
boy did Jarden love what we did. They almost patented it, and then just didn’t which is fine. we were off saving the world elsewhere after graduation. The branding around BEAM was to recognize the wireless transfer of power and utilized a stodgy house brand that had been scraping the bottom of the barrel lately. Why not update sunbeam to highlight this new and useful technology? No body likes cords, let’s maximize that! Bam (Emeril Lagasse)