Case Study: Pocket Monkey
It all started when…
Erin went looking for American-made products to fill the shelves at Quinstance. It should come as no surprise that finding ideas for men was quite a bit more difficult than finding them for women. (This is as true on the wholesale side as it is when you're a consumer!)
She came across Zootility Tools at a trade show in the summer of 2015. At the time, they were represented by The Grommet, a launching site for innovative products. Zootility's main product was the Pocket Monkey — a credit card sized piece of metail that can be used as a screwdriver, a letter opener, a fruit peeler, a phone stand, etc. Erin immediately placed an order for the store and wasted no time in purchasing one for herself. The night before first opening Quinstance, in fact, the refrain throughout the store was "who's got the Pocket Monkey?"
Zootility started out as a small metal shop in Portland, Maine, which made it a good fit for Quinstance, where the focus was on American-made products. But Zootility quickly outgrew The Grommet and other niche retailers. By 2018, the Pocket Monkey could be purchased at Wal-Mart! And a customer of Erin's even said that the TSA had stopped him and examined his Pocket Monkey recently. It seems that the Pocket Monkey has gotten so popular that there are copycat products now that are not TSA-approved. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!