How This $13 Million Startup Turned Boring Ice Trays Into a Cult Product
W&P Design realized that ice trays sucked. So the Brooklyn firm decided to take on the design challenge lurking in its freezer.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
It's not often that new product ideas come from a stab wound, but that's what happened in 2014, when Eric Prum skewered himself with an ice pick.
The co-founder of W&P Design--a Brooklyn-based company best known for its Kickstartered Mason jar cocktail shaker--was setting up for a beverage photo shoot, in need of ice cubes. Prum and his co-founder, Josh Williams, had purchased two dozen ice trays, but every one turned out to be problematic. They either froze together or the cubes were freezer burned. When the ice pick accident happened--while Prum was trying to pry apart two trays--the co-founders decided they had their next challenge: to design a smarter ice tray.
The result is Peak Ice Works, a collection of silicone tray molds that elevates a lowly freezer commodity into an upscale kitchen accessory. Peak's steel frame prevents water from spilling en route to the fridge; a lid protects against freezer burn; and separate molds allow the user to eject one cube at a time, rather than having to crack the entire tray against a countertop. For $12 to $16 per tray--more than twice the price of a typical one from Rubbermaid--Peak is sold in retailers including Sur la Table and J.Crew, in a variety of shapes and colors, including black, white, and faux marble.
Neither Williams nor Prum, former University of Virginia roommates, has a background in design. Before they hatched W&P Design in 2012, the former worked at Barclays, while the latter had opened two sports shops. The $13 million food and beverage upstart has since developed more than 300 products, has its own lifestyle publishing imprint, and does private label for retailers including Target. "Peak accelerated us in the direction that we were hoping to be heading," says Prum. "It helped get us where we are much faster."