Materialicious: Why don’t you tell us a bit about yourself?
Jamie Kasza: My background is marketing, but I’ve been a big lover of wine and design. Initially, I gravitated toward retail and worked for corporate Best Buy in Canada, which got me in touch with connections I use now with STACT. I enjoy wine just as much as the next person and have always had a thirst for entrepreneurialism.
M: When did your first conceive the STACT concept?
JK: It came out of a personal need. My wife and I bought a condo in Vancouver and like many other urban markets space comes at a premium. We had about two years to plan our interior design and during that time we grew a wine collection, but didn’t want to keep it hidden in a dark closet. Like us, more and more people seem to be discovering and enjoying wine, so I took it upon myself to create an aesthetic wine rack that didn’t focus on the rack itself, but on the bottle and display.
M: Through the developmental stages of STACT, what lead you to your current design?
JK: My own living space. We had wine, we had a place and we had limited space. As I took inspiration from other projects and designs, I thought, “How could we create a wall-mounted solution that blends into a person’s space and atmosphere.” Modular track wine storage systems had never been attempted or accessible.
In my opinion, the wine bottle is what really needed to stand out. So many wine racks or wine storage units are about the unit, not the bottle. I wanted to make the bottle float.
We set out to make such a solution that wouldn’t cost modern urban-dwellers the equivalent of buying a small car. I wanted to create a product that could be ordered online and easily shipped, packed, and assembled.
M: Personally, what’s your favorite attribute of the STACT system?
JK: The simplicity of it. It’s what people find so unique. There are products out there that place wine bottles on similar objects but don’t give the entire rack an overall aesthetic and simplicity. There was a painstaking process involved in getting STACT to where it is—the simplicity it achieves. I see STACT as less of wine storage product and more of a design product. It could almost be a feature wall or a substitute for wall art in and of itself. STACT is something you can add to a space and make your own.
When new people come across STACT, some see the product, but don’t really see the power and complexity of what it allows the average person to execute. The product stores, displays and beautifies wine, more so than the generic “wine rack” concept.
I found it interesting that people started saying, “I want to drink my wine just to see the wine rack”. When people transfer the positive emotional connection they have with wine to your product, you’ve created something you really want to celebrate. When you can get on an emotional level, you take away the utilitarian nature of an object and replace it with something better.
M: Your 50 day Kickstarter campaign from 2012 had a goal of $20,000. In 30 days, STACT not only generated over $108,000 worth of support, but did so from only 347 backers. That’s an average donation of $311. Why do you think STACT was able to receive such tremendous support?
JK: I think STACT resonated well with the Kickstarter audience due to a growing interest in design itself. I’ve seen a movement toward good design, even within the Kickstarter products at the $15 range.
I had high aspirations for STACT, but Kickstarter was basically the only legitimate way for me to test the market interest and attain positive proof of concept. Kickstarter is a great platform for connecting ideas with people –between the traffic it generates to the way people share the stories socially. I think STACT received support from a high range of Kickstarter supporters.
M: STACT has received rave reviews from media sources like the Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post, as well as design sources like HGTV and DesignMilk. In your opinion, what’s been STACT’s biggest break so far?
JK: I wouldn’t peg it to just one thing. I would have to say the level of international press that STACT has garnered has been big.
I was a bit worried, because during a product launch you have everything happening all at once. But with STACT, our coverage hasn’t been isolated—it’s been ongoing. New people are discovering us all the time. That enables us to put time into improving our sales and delivery methods.
This is something that gets me excited: the largest wine company in the world, Treasury Wine Estates, is using STACT to showcase and display their flagship wine, Wynn’s, across Australia. STACT will be aligned with their best brand and they are even running a sweepstakes giving away a STACT system. Over 800 liquor and beverage stores will be promoting the Wynn’s product on a STACT system. It’s a great push to create positive brand equity.
M: 5 years down the line, where do you see STACT in the wine rack market?
JK: One thing people ask, “Is this a wine thing or do you want to get involved with other projects.” Trust me, it’s a wine thing.
People have been drinking the same wines for thousands of years and wine storage has basically been the same since Biblical times. I think there is a lot of opportunity to improve and really beautify wine storage. In STACT, we have a wall-mounted wine storage solution that will work anywhere for anyone.
Some people have different needs and we have products on our implementation map that will meet more specific, niche needs. On the map is something that takes what’s good about STACT and allows you to cellar your wine anywhere.
M: If you could tell the Materialicious audience one thing about STACT, what would it be?
JK: STACT is not a wine rack; it’s an interior décor piece that stores wine in a beautiful way.
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In The Designer’s Words