with Chris Eng
Founder of BedShelfie
"From working at Disney, I knew the best design accomplished multiple goals. To replace the nightstand the solution had to be equal parts beautiful, sturdy, easy to use and eco-friendly."
We recently caught up with Chirs Eng, who formerly worked as an Imagineer in Disneyland. His experience there sparked his passion to start his own business and he decided to leave his dream job to pursue the even greater dream of becoming an entrepreneur. He believes in the power of great design to inspire and improve life on a daily basis. Bedshelfie is his first globally distributed product as an entrepreneur.
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Briefly introduce yourself and the idea of Bedshelfie
Hi my name is Chris Eng and my parents are actually from Hong Kong! One interesting fact about me is that I am both a Certified Public Accountant and a former Disney Imagineer (Theme Park Designer). I love blending the analytical world with the creative world to create and refine new ideas.
The BedShelfie is my first global product as an entrepreneur. It's a space-saving, minimalist nightstand made of eco-friendly bamboo. It serves folks who want a minimalist approach to furniture to free up space in a smaller home. Think, a millennial who is design savvy but doesn't want to invest in clunky furniture that would weigh them down from moving because they don't expect to stay in one spot of the world too long.
What inspired you to start the BedShelfie?
Working at Disney Imagineering was a childhood dream (literally, see this video link for more about Imagineering) and the more I better understood Walt Disney’s underlying message behind his parks, the more I realized he wanted us to understand we all (already) have the courage to pursue our deepest dreams and aspirations - mine being entrepreneurship.
The BedShelfie was inspired, specifically, by the magic of living with less. Some combination of constantly moving around for work and reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” inspired me to free myself of his clunky furniture starting with where I started and finished my day - the bedroom.
What is the mission or philosophy of BedShelfie?
The BedShelfie mission is simple, to forward the magic of minimalism (the counterintuitive notion that less is more) while creating a future with a sustainable approach we can be proud of now.
Given population growth is something we can expect to reduce the size of our homes globally, the BedShelfie and the products I want to create help us rise up to that challenge.
What are some of the key features of BedShelfie and how does it stand out among all the bedroom designs?
From working at Disney, I knew the best design accomplished multiple goals. To replace the nightstand the solution had to be equal parts beautiful, sturdy, easy to use and eco-friendly.
My first 'aha' moment came when studying the incredible strength and versatility of the time-tested clamp mechanism. The design question, at hand, became finding a way to translate the strength of something that was traditionally metal, into something both beautiful and eco-friendly.
We iterated through 4 prototypes until we locked into something that achieved both the initial design objectives of aesthetics, load bearing requirements, overall weight and cost feasibility from a manufacturing standpoint to ensure the product was ultimately affordable
What are some of the greatest challenges you have faced and how did you overcome them?
In taking concept to reality, I've had many personal breakthroughs around the importance of integrating marketing / communicating with customers, throughout the ideation and design process. Discovering who you are serving and then engaging that audience to turn your hypotheses about their needs into facts about their needs, strengthened and informed every step of the development process from design specs, to material choices, to packaging, to brainstorming future improvement.
What's the greatest achievement of BedShelfie?
My measurement of achievement is being of service, and while we’re still early in rolling this out to the marketplace, I am very proud of an article by Business Insider which was viewed one million times and shared by 10,000 folks in just 1-2 days which demonstrates to me that I think we’re going down the right path.
What is the vision of BedShelfie for 2017?
2017 is full of connecting with more folks like you guys around the world, solving more small-space problems and refining our ability to communicate and share our values of sustainability and minimalism to the world.
Any advice for future entrepreneurs and startups?
There is no right way to finding the intersection of problem and solution. Sometimes you dream something up first or sometimes you see what people need before a solution presents itself. Finding that intersection is like making a sauce - it’s unique to each chef’s preferences, intuition and then ability to refine with feedback.
Be bold and creative and try something different. Then pull back, be present and mindful and really connect to the world you’re serving and truly ask courageously, how good does this sauce taste?
Read The Lean Startup to minimize how you spend your time and resources. And remember when you are most uncertain, no one (really) knows the answer, so you have to find out for yourself!