Dartmouth students serve up ergonomic tray
Dartmouth College students Shinri Kamei and Krystyna Miles are the founders of ergonomic serving tray company Tray Bien LLC. (COURTESY)
A waiter uses an ergonomic serving tray designed by two Dartmouth College students. SHINRI KAMEI
This summer, Dartmouth College students Shinri Kamei and Krystyna Miles are working full time to launch their business Tray Bien LLC.
"We're accidental entrepreneurs. We stumbled onto an idea," Kamei said.
"We sort of looked for a problem that we thought not that many people had looked at before so this is what we came up with," Kamei said.
"Part of the reason we chose the tray was because we could test them in a lot of restaurants in town. Trial and error," Miles said. "We had a lot of crazy ideas and a lot of prototypes that looked very different from our final design."
"We started talking to a waitress in a restaurant in town, and we asked her, 'Do any of your waitresses experience wrist pain?' and she said, 'Almost all of the wait staff has tendinitis, and we are just waiting for carpal tunnel.' That's when we knew there was a real need here," Miles said.
A professor at the business school helped the students tap into the Dartmouth network of alumni. Through the connections, they were invited to exhibit at a mid-Atlantic food-service industry trade show in December, and received nearly 2,000 orders for the trays.
The trade show took place during winter term finals, but they were able to make up any missed tests, they said.
In April the design took home both first place, $25,000, and the People's Choice Award, $2,500, at the Dartmouth Ventures Entrepreneurship Competition hosted by the Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network.
Friends and family are also investing in the company, and the duo plan to start an online crowd-sourcing campaign over the summer.
They are also launching a website and Facebook page this summer.
- How much more would prices have to rise before you'd consume less?
- I've already cut back
- More than 100%
- Total Votes: 63
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