Ash Newland was planning a climbing trip in Mt Kilimanjaro with a pal four years ago when he started thinking about how they were going to wash their clothes regularly. Newland liked the idea of a washboard but baulked at the bulkiness. Eventually, he hit upon the idea of fitting a flexible washboard into a waterproof, sealable bag, which was how the first few prototypes of Scrubba came about.
In late 2011, the Scrubba was crowdfunded on Indiegogo. Now, the final product weighs just 180g and folds to pocket-size — a godsend to travelers who pack light and love having a clean change of clothes.
UPDATE: Check out this excerpt from our upcoming exclusive interview with Ash Newland himself!
How long did the Scrubba’s design process take? What was the most difficult thing in developing an innovative product like this one?
Being a patent attorney myself, the original plan for the Scrubba wash bag was to develop some prototypes, protect the intellectual property and license the invention to a larger company. However, having approached a couple of large multinational companies in the camping and outdoor space, we found that even though they liked the idea and thought it would work, there weren’t willing to take it on and develop the product without the market being proven.
At the time this was the most difficult part. We knew we had a great concept but we needed to be the ones to prove it in the marketplace before it would be taken seriously. At this stage, I realized that we also needed cash flow if we were to be able to enforce the patent applications that we had filed in more than 50 countries and this meant taking the leap into manufacturing ourselves. Six to ten months was spent sorting out the manufacturing process and supply chain and we hit the ground running with a successful crowdfunding campaign.