People love sitting around an outdoor fire. In 2018, fire pits were rated as the most popular outdoor design feature by the American Society of Landscape Architects. But there are plenty of things people don’t like – the difficulty of starting a fire, smelling like smoke, and the mess.
In recent years, portable fire pits have become increasingly popular. About 85 percent of the market is factory direct, but there’s little brand recognition and a lot of drawbacks to existing products.
Lamplight saw an opportunity for its TIKI Brand to be a disruptor and expand into a new market with a high-quality, innovative product. We worked with them to better understand the opportunities and design a fire pit experience that is superior from packaging through storage.
To begin, we conducted a workshop to explore what a TIKI-branded portable fire pit might mean to the target consumer and what a direct-to-consumer experience might entail. We set up a campground in our Madison office and brainstormed the timeline from purchase through setup for tailgating and camping. We generated potential strategies and design concepts.
From that initial brainstorm, our designers and strategists got to work refining the concepts and framing how TIKI could enter this market space. We shared sketches and foam-core models with a focus group to validate the concept’s desirability.
Encouraged by the results, the TIKI team went to work with rocket engineers to develop an “engine” for the portable pit. Once they were happy with the quality of the flame, TIKI engaged with us again to evaluate how to commercialize the concept.
Our designers enveloped the engine with an appealing reverse-cone form that is modern and inviting while working out the proportions and manufacturing specs to meet the cost and shipping limitations of factory-direct merchandising. TIKI made their own prototype and returned to us for further design and research support on the packaging, wood pellet packs, and physical accessories. With mocked-up packaging, quick start instructions, and a prototype, our design researchers tested the out-of-box experience with consumers to identify users’ expectations and pain points. These insights informed further design refinements to the fire pit and accessories.
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