Created during the year-long TYE (TiE Young Entrepreneurs) program, Balcony Shelf was an upscale product intended to increase the usable space in highrise condominiums and apartments by turning small balconies into productive spaces.
Throughout the year, we brainstormed ways to solve the space issue as there was a growing trend moving towards urban living. Eventually, with the help of our mentor, we landed on the balcony shelf. We continued to play with the idea, turning it into a modular installation that could become a decoration (with plants), a desk, or a dinner table.
I applied my AutoCAD knowledge to design a model for us, pictured in Fig. 1 and Fig, 2. We continued doing market research throughout the design phase to ensure that the product we were making appealed to the customers we had in mind--we even acquired some customers in the process. A big differentiating factor for us was making our product almost luxury-level (using thick acrylic and metal reinforcement instead of flimsy wood). Once finalized, we reached out to manufacturers in the USA, India, and China through Alibaba to find who would build and produce our product for us. Eventually, we settled on a Chinese manufacturer who promised to help in the prototyping phase and give us a good price.
Despite the work we put in, Balcony Shelf was never brought to production because of Intellectual Property issues we ran into with our mentor. He claimed that because the idea was his, he deserved a non-negotiable 50% share of the profits. We chose not to pursue the product, avoiding any IP conflict.
Fig. 1: Perspective from the front right
Fig. 2: Perspective from the back right
Fig. 3: First iteration (for manufacturer)