Housewares Design Awards

2010 Best in Category: Personal Care/Health Care and Garment Care Electrics

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Jokari U.S., Inc.

Magnifying Medi-Grip Bottle Cap Remover

Jokari’s Housewares Design Award-winning MediGrip prescription bottle cap remover is no stranger to design competitions.

Before Jokari launched the product to retail last year, the prototype for the bottle cap remover was honored a few years earlier in the annual International Housewares Association student design competition.

Mike Elwell, then a student at Notre Dame University, designed the bottle cap remover, featuring a flexible material with grooves and notches that grabs caps of all sizes for easy opening. The cap remover also has an integrated 4-times magnifying lens to facilitate reading the prescription labels.

The rights to the design eventually went to Cleveland design firm Process 4, which in 2008 brought the idea to Jokari, which has developed a diverse lineup of specialized household helpers.

Jokari CEO Doug Taeckens said he immediately saw the cap remover’s potential to an aging baby boomer segment with afflictions that can make reading and opening prescription medicine bottles a chore.

Taeckens said early sales of the bottle cap remover have been solid as Jokari continues to build its retail distribution. The pharmacy-oriented application of cap remover has opened Jokari to merchandising opportunities beyond its traditional housewares focus.

Taeckens added the item seems well-suited to special promotions that help illuminate the unique features and benefits of a concept new to the retail market.

For example, Jokari developed a special counter display for Kroger’s pharmacy department, and the cap remover was featured in a stocking-stuffer promotion by The Container Store during the past holiday period.

Taeckens sees the opportunity for the Medi-Grip cap remover to become the flasghip of a collection of products from Jokari designed to assist aging baby boomers. That idea underscores Jokari’s goal to evolve what has been more of an item-based approach development to more of a program approach.

“We’re looking to continue Jokari’s tradition of launching innovative, unique household-helping items, and we’re also trying to find more ways to develop full lines of products,” Taeckens said, pointing to the company’s new collection of Healthy Steps food preparation products as another example.

Meanwhile, Taekens said, the company continues to be on the lookout for unique concepts. After the award-winning performance of Jokari’s Medi-Grip bottle cap remover, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to find him examining this year’s IHA student design winners during the Home + Housewares Show.

?—By Lori Schneider

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