MT KILIMANJARO, THE MOUNTAIN THAT INSPIRED A PRODUCT WHICH HAS HELPED OVER 330,000 PEOPLE TRAVEL CLEAN, LIGHT AND FREE.
The idea for the Scrubba™ Wash Bag was conceived in 2010 when founder Ash Newland, an Australian patent attorney, decided to travel to Africa to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with a mate.
" With all our cold weather and camping gear, we would only be able to pack a few changes of casual clothes. How were we going to wash our clothes every couple of days? After mulling over this issue for a few weeks, I was led to the idea of washboards - they were used effectively for centuries but are bulky and require a sink or bucket. What if we could incorporate washboard into a waterproof sealable bag? That could change the way people wash clothes while traveling."
A couple of crude prototypes later and a week of late nights drafting a provisional patent application and Ash set off to Africa.
"We didn't have a chance to try the Scrubba Wash Bag prototypes before the trip, so the first use was in the town of Moshi in Tanzania. We were astounded by how effective it was".
The concept had been validated, but the product was still a long way from hitting the market.
The route to market for the world's smallest washing machine.
Following the success of the Scrubba Wash Bag prototype, the design and intellectual property were further developed with the view to licensing the technology.
"While we received positive feedback from potential licensees in Europe, we realised that we needed to prove the market for the Scrubba Wash Bag". The company Calibre8 Pty Ltd was incorporated to put this into action. Late in 2011, Ash decided to change his approach, quit his job with a large patent attorney firm and focus on bringing the Scrubba Wash Bag to market.
The first major step to making the Scrubba Wash Bag a commercial reality was in January 2012 when the concept for the Scrubba Wash Bag was launched on the crowdfunding platform IndieGoGo. While funds of $2,500 USD were sought to assist with tooling, during the campaign almost $22,525 USD was received in pre-orders.
"We were blown away by this level of support for our product, but this was quickly followed by the realisation of the enormity of manufacturing and fulfilling this amount of orders. Many sleepless nights were endured as manufacturing and fulfillment issues arose and were overcome".
Following the success of the crowdfunding campaign which ended in mid-April, pre-orders were fulfilled in June 2012 and the Scrubba Wash Bag was officially launched onto the market.
"As well as the early adopters, we have received great support from the media including Forbes magazine, Lonely Planet, Buzzfeed, Gizmag and many of the major newspapers across the US, UK and Australia".
Fast-forward and Calibre8 has warehousing in several countries to provide fast shipping across the globe. The Scrubba Wash Bag models have also developed with usability and durability the key areas of focus.
"Our distribution and retailer network is also continually increasing and the Scrubba Wash Bag is appearing on retailers' shelves around the world".
Originally designed with backpackers in mind, the Scrubba Wash Bag has also become the best way to clean clothes for people on vacation, business travelers, and students living in dorm rooms or small apartments, campers, hunters, cyclists, kayakers or people going on cruises. Whether you want to pack light, avoid hotel laundry costs, avoid searching for Laundromats, avoid potential hygiene issues washing in a sink, use less water or to have the freedom to wash clothes wherever you want, there is benefit of the Scrubba Wash Bag that will appeal to all travelers.
Shark Tank Australia success
The Scrubba Wash Bag is a success story from the 2015 season of Australian network 10’s Shark Tank. During the show Red Balloon founder Naomi Simson, Boost Juice founder Janine Allis and TPG internet founder Steve Baxter all offered to invest in the company.
Boost Juice founder Janine Allis is effusive about the potential of the Scrubba Wash Bag.
“Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. The Scrubba Wash Bag is ingenious in its simplicity and it actually works. This is serious, exciting business.”
The Scrubba Wash Bag was the first invention to have three of the ‘Sharks’ vying to invest in this product, with Ash choosing a co-investment model from Janine Allis and Steve Baxter.
Internet pioneer Steve Baxter is very vocal about the Scrubba Wash Bag, saying:
“It’s a cracker. It’s actually one of my best investments ever.”