GloDea Creates New Ways to Make Money From Scratch
If complacency is the enemy of success then innovation could well be its friend, at least based upon the continued growth of GloDea.
From designers to bookkeepers to warehouse workers, the Jacksonville company’s team relentlessly pursues improvement.
-Dan Miller, president of North America business.
GloDea’s uniquely designed products include furniture lines, consumer electronics, LED lighting and promotional items. Innovation sets the design company apart.
“We solve problems,” Miller said.
Whether it’s building a better toothbrush or cell phone charger, GloDea and its global network of more than 300 designers can help individuals and businesses develop products that suit their needs and satisfy their customers.
“We only work on products that make business sense,” said Ignacio Santos, the architectural and industrial designer who founded the company.
Santos began building his distinctive XQuare line of furniture, from which GloDea’s eventual success emanated, from a friend’s garage, after moving to Florida in 2008 from Brazil. With furniture sales surging online, he leased manufacturing space in Jacksonville in 2010 to accommodate the company’s growth.
GloDea kept growing as it developed additional products and it moved again in 2013. Its 8,000-square-foot headquarters now includes manufacturing, distribution and administrative space, as well as a state-of-the-art design center and product display area.
GloDea now sells furniture through more than 100 websites and has become one of Amazon.com’s top suppliers. “They really love us because we have these unique designs,” Miller said. Customers also rate the company highly for quality.
The coalescence of satisfied customers and innovative products has propelled GloDea to an 85 percent increase in sales over the past two years—with sales doubling from 2013 to 2014.
Sales could continue to surge as GloDea expands its product line. Its recent additions include the SelfieWink (a smartphone camera remote control), the Leaf Toothbrush Holder and RidePowerUSA cell phone chargers.
The RidePowerUSA chargers sprung from One Spark, the annual crowdfunding festival held in Jacksonville. Sensing the product’s potential, Miller and Santos helped its inventor bring it to market after they met him during a visit to last year’s festival.
GloDea specializes in helping inventors and would-be creators. If a healthcare provider, for example, has a problem that they want to solve but don’t know how, then GloDea can assist.
“We fix problems at a price that people can afford,” Miller said. GloDea develops products so that they can be sold at a competitive price.
“If 50 percent of the solution is ready, we research, design and make prototypes to make it better,” Santos said.
One customer knew that they wanted a better way to clean eye glasses but didn’t know what that was until GloDea’s designers innovated a cloth that lets users wipe lenses by putting their finger and thumbs in little pockets. Not only can the customer brand its services with the innovative cleaning cloth, but it is also being patented.
The basic approach to such innovation is to think in terms of problems and solutions, Santos said. Constantly exercising your mind to work this way—and helping others to do so—
fosters the kind of creativity that supports continuous improvement.
Creativity is rampant at GloDea, as all team members are constantly asked to devise better ways of completing their work and solving their problems. Every Monday, for example, Santos meets with the company’s warehouse manager to solicit suggested improvements to the production process for furniture.
Though GloDea makes products of its own and collaborates with manufacturers—preferably in in the United States if not Northeast Florida in particular—it remains a design company at its core.
“We’re here to create new products,” Santos said.
Forty percent of GloDea’s products come from its global network of more than 300 industrial designers, whose specialties span the gamut of industries. These solutions are almost ready to materialize and GloDea will help bring them to fruition in return for a share of royalties.
“They have great ideas. That’s when they come to us,” Miller said. “Inventors get stuck and we can help them get unstuck.”
GloDea will also help an inventor secure funding from investors and pursue a patent. Savoring innovation, unlike some companies, GloDea prefers to develop a long-term relationship with an inventor, rather than demanding cash from them upfront or paying them a nominal sum for an idea that later becomes a product that generates millions of dollars in sales. .
“If they came up with one good idea they probably have other ideas to bring to us and the ideas keep getting generated,” Miller said. As do royalties, which continue to generate income for GloDea and the inventor.
Santos and his internal design team produce their own ideas as well. This accounts for about 50 percent of the ideas that flow through the company, with the problems like those presented by the customer behind the eye glasses cleaner making up the remainder.
“We work with innovators and inventors,” Miller said. “We’re not into competing. We’re into uniqueness.”
GloDea aims to finish 50 products a year. “We can’t materialize all the ideas that come through the doors,” Santos said.
With employees across the globe, in addition to its network of designers, GloDea’s team is innovating 24 hours a day. It projects continued growth as businesses strive to provide better products and services in response to their customers’ quest for better solutions.
“Before, design was just a piece of the business but now it involves directors and presidents,” Santos said. “They understand the importance of design and innovation.”
Lest they forget, they need only to look to GloDea’s own success for a reminder.
By Jim Molis