Rome wasn't built in a day, neither was the Hulasol. We started this adventure five years ago and never imagined it would take so much effort to create a beautiful and functional product.
Friends and family find it hard to understand what we are doing, why it takes so long and why it is never finished.
We started reinventing the parasol, an existing product, in both its function and its form. We saw an opportunity to make a multifunctional product: parasol by day, lamp by night. The initial round design was original but made it extremely difficult to open and close it. The first opening mechanism was based on the principle of a pop-up tent which must be thrown and folded. Our test users were struggling with these actions which forced us to improve the opening mechanism. We built several prototypes, some better working as others but none of them were satisfying. At one point in time we considered the outside ring of the Hulasol as the mechanism to open and close it. We developed this idea further into a patented mechanism.
Whilst developing our product, we experienced the limitations of our equipment. Most of our parts were produced by other companies leading to serious waiting times. Three years ago we decided to invest in a CNC mill leading to decreased lead times, faster prototyping and better insights in production possibilities.
The "outdoor" effect is one last but very important facet. Once a prototype is working in-house, we literally went outside to test the Hulasol in rain, UV light and wind along with revealing our product to users and resellers.
When you ask us today, if we would have chosen a different approach or launch a couple of years earlier, the answer is no. Developing a new product requires a certain learning curve and is a process of trial and error. You always need to carry on and you only get one opportunity to surprise people and to create a "wow effect".
I want to give a special thanks to Peter, our companion from day one. Without him there would be no Hulasol.