The idea for Vascito started on what seemed to be a regular Sunday afternoon, as Brian was mixing up a spice rub for a meal that was particularly large. About halfway through, he needed to mix up more spices - but one of his hands was dirty. He was annoyed that he had to wash his hands, re-open all the spice containers, and start the whole process over again. Never mind the fact the spice containers themselves were inherently annoying with openings too small to get your fingers into or even a measuring spoon.
Well, hold on - to really tell the story of Vascito, you have to back-up just a few years to 1980, when Brian just 10 years old and took over his older brother's paper route. His hard work ethic and spirit of entrepreneurship were born at that moment and he has never looked back. Turn the clock forward just a few years, and he is learning building and carpentry skills working with a local home remodeler, and just a few years later he's graduating from Western Michigan University with a BA in operations and entrepreneurship and accepting a position as the Construction Manager for Habitat for Humanity of Kent County. WMU is where Brian was fell in love with Continuous Improvement and Total Quality Management, these were concepts that he had always implemented, but never really had a name for, until now. While at Habitat, Brian worked with many inspiring people, but one of the greatest joys he had was working with a group of retired guys that were affectionately called "The Weekday Crew". Most of these men were in their 70's and 80's and always made sure things were done right and that no corners were cut. Many times, when digging a basement they would find remnants of a previous home. One of the most frequent finds were old bottles, which were made of high-quality glass and were refilled and reused for years. Brian enjoyed working at Habitat for many years before starting his own home building and remodeling business.
Back to the current time.....Brian was incredibly frustrated with the whole process of mixing up this spice rub. From the annoying spice jars to the fact that he had to get everything out of the cupboard all over again. The whole time he kept thinking - There must be a better way to store the things that we use every day. Brian began to envision a lidless storage system that was still air-tight, with wide-open tops that any man, woman, or child could fit their fingers into to pinch out some spices or salts.
Brian sat down and put his drawing skills to work, sketching out what he saw in his head. He knew he had a great idea, but we needed to actually make some to test out, so we decided to invest in a 3-D printer and run some prototypes since we had no idea if this concept would even work, let alone if we could patent it or ever get it to market. After the first few prototypes, we knew that we had something that was amazing and revolutionary. We gave a few samples to friends and family to test them out and they all loved them so much, to this day they refuse to give them back!
So we decided to take a deep dive into the world of Housewares and see what storage options were available today. We even went to the International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago to see all of the new and innovative products that were not on the market yet.
Everywhere we looked, all we saw were complicated storage systems with multiple parts (that we all know are going to get lost or eaten by the dishwasher). We could not find storage systems that were easy to use, easy to clean, and made life simpler - without creating more clutter! They still did not solve the problem of lids getting in the way or small jars that a spoon won't fit into.
This was when we knew it was time to take the leap and do everything we could to bring this product to market. Brian closed his building business to focus 100% of his time and effort to developing and launching Vascito. Our legal team prepared and filed all the patent paperwork and we lined up suppliers and manufacturers that were ready to go, as well as local stores ready to place PO's to put the items on their shelves.
Then came COVID-19, the shut-down of manufacturing and all retail operations. We took a deep breath and decided that this is just another minor bump in the road. We took this time to refine our web site and focus our efforts on direct to market on-line sales and pre-sales of some items. One thing we have learned is that you have to learn how to adapt! Life is always changing and we have to roll with it or get rolled over!!It has been an incredible journey to get to the point we are at now and we are so excited to share Vascito with you. We can not thank enough those that have supported us and cheered us on from the beginning! We have worked with so many incredible people and organizations - SCORE, Muskegon Inventors Network, Muskegon Community College FabLab, and GROW just to name a few. We could not have gotten this far without all of your dedication and support.