About Inspired Designs
Inspired Designs LLC got its start by launching a successful campaign on Kickstarter for ferrofluid displays. Our founder, Kyle Haines, has a background in semiconductor manufacturing and nanotechnology. He has been developing our products for 6 years. Inspired Designs operates out of historic Bethlehem, PA.
All fluids are made in the USA and all products are assembled in the US by hand. A successful kickstarter campaign in 2015 raised over $88K to jumpstart the business into what it is today.
The US patent for the world’s first and only ferrofluid lava lamp was issued to Kyle Haines in 2017. However, these two accomplishments were the culmination of years of hard work.
I assemble every product with my own hands and even wrote my own patent. I’m proud to say I invented the ferrofluid lava lamp and brought it to market on my own. I even handle shipping and customer service. These are all rare things in today’s world.
I used to think that a company required partners and employees to be successful. I thought that I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a one man show. After being in business for over 4 years I now realize that my one man operation is something to be proud of and in many ways an asset. I’ve accomplished a lot on my own through hard work and perseverance.
My entry into the world of ferrofluid started back in 2012. I saw ferrofluid in a bottle on the internet and figured I could easily take that to the next level. Little did I realize the difficulties in working with ferrofluid.
I would spend the next couple of years experimenting every day in my lab attempting to overcome several technical challenges to manufacturing a quality ferrofluid display. The ferrofluid naturally sticks and stains any surface it touches. This can be remedied by using an immiscible liquid to better wet the surface and create a protective barrier. However, the ferrofluid is not stable alongside most other liquids and breaks down quickly.
Step 1 was finding a formulation with the magical sweet spot. This turned out to be a hugely difficult task and I made tens of thousands of experimental displays in order to figure it out. They say it took Edison 100 attempts to invent the light bulb. It took several orders of magnitude more attempts to invent the ferrofluid lava lamp. The first step was figuring out how to put it in a bottle.
That was just the first step. After investing thousands of hours and dollars completing step 1, I could finally set out to do what I initially intended. Innovate the product to make it better. My first innovation was the invention of colored ferrofluid. I was the first person to figure out how to do this. Unfortunately, I was soon copied by others who reverse engineered my work. Even worse, they did a better job marketing it than me and claimed that they were the first!
I learned from my mistakes and filed a patent for my next innovation with ferrofluid, the ferrofluid lava lamp. The ferrofluid lava lamp was an invention just waiting to be realized. As I showed off my initial work with ferrofluid I noticed how often it was compared to lava lamps. Eventually, I thought to myself, “Could the two ideas be merged together?” As I contemplated the science behind this idea it dawned on me that ferrofluid, in theory, should make for an even better lava lamp. I set out at once to design experiments to test this theory. I was able to prove that it in fact worked and it worked better. I knew I was on to something. I started buying cheap lava lamps online and poured out the conventional liquids. I replaced them with my own and marveled at the sight. I made the first ferrofluid lava lamp in my basement in Allentown, PA. I kept it a secret. I knew that I had to figure out a way to patent the idea as well as market it or somebody would inevitably take my hard work and claim it as their own.
I spent the next year reading patents and studying patent law. I did not have the financial resources to hire a lawyer to write a patent from scratch. I wrote my own provisional patent and submitted it myself. Meanwhile, I also studied how to raise funds for a product through crowdfunding. I crafted my first Kickstarter project entirely on my own and spent an entire year drafting and editing it. I launched it first thing in 2015 just after submitting my provisional patent application. CNET covered the project within the first hour of launching it. The headline was “Ferrofluid Makes the Lava Lamp Cool Again.” A flood of other sites published similar stories. Kickstarter featured my project in their newsletter as “A Project We Love.” Everything came together exactly as I had planned. I crushed my $7,000 goal and raised over $88,000 in just 29 days.
While working a fulltime job I worked out of my basement to fulfill my Kickstarter rewards. I had to ship over 1,000 units of various product to my backers. I completed the fulfillment on time and the backers were happy. I had passed the marketing test. With the remaining funds, I set about continuing the business and following through on the patent. Many ‘successful’ projects on Kickstarter end in failure a year or two later when the funds eventually run out. Many outright never finish order fulfillment. Completing Kickstarter was simply step 2. Now I had to keep the sales going while maintaining inventory and overseeing shipping and customer service. Step 3 is the hardest part. Keeping it going.
I left my full-time job in Sept. of 2015 in order to focus 100% on doing this. I knew the holiday season would bring great opportunity and I couldn’t do it properly while working full time. I had a very good job but knew that I would always wonder what could’ve been if I didn’t go for it. The dream of running my own business was staring me in the face. So I took that leap of faith and worked tirelessly to pursue it.
I continue to pursue innovation as the quality that separates me from my competition. I innovated higher quality ferrofluid displays, larger displays, less expensive displays, plastic displays, the addition of color to the ferrofluid and the infamous ferrofluid lava lamp. My pride and namesake are what drive me to take quality and customer service seriously. My path may be irregular, but that’s no coincidence. Normal has never been of interest to me. This is what it takes to bring the lava lamp to the 21st century.
Visit our Kickstarter project pages:
200+ backers, over 18k raised, successfully funded in just 5 hours!
900+ backers, over 88k raised, tons of press coverage!
Comments or questions? Contact the creator and Founder of Inspired Designs, Kyle Haines!