Inventor's Story: How I Curved the Shower Curtain, not the Rod.
Standing tall at 6'3", I felt cramped in my shower. It turns out I wasn't alone -- not in a Psycho kind of way -- but that millions of bathers of all shapes and sizes would love more shower space.
I wanted to avoid the remodeling hassle, expense, tile damage and ecological wastefulness of a curved shower rod. So I wondered ... why not just curve the curtain? But how? Gravity pulls normal shower curtains straight down. I had to invent a curved shower curtain.
My Eureka moment came while standing in the shower. Pleating! I quickly dried off and started cutting and folding sheets of plastic. But like an Origami puzzle, it was really hard! From my small studio in Manhattan's Lower East Side, I agonized over endless shapes, materials and designs. All failures! But I didn't give up. Eventually -- many years, actually -- I found the perfectly balanced shape. I folded and taped a prototype and ... it worked! The pleats and simple force of gravity created a soft natural curve. This was my first working prototype in early 2016.
Then I needed to make more for testing. In May 2016, I hand-made 10 curtains, 3D-printed 60 rings -- thank you, John at Voxel Magic! -- and snapped them onto 60 hand-cut pleats. It took me 3 months. Then I asked 10 friends and neighbors to test these more advanced prototypes. They loved them! I made some minor adjustments with their valuable feedback. By July, after an unexpected review in Gizmodo, pre-orders came in on my website. But I wasn't ready. Until then, I had been 100% self-funded, paying for patenting, prototyping, testing and more... but now, I urgently needed more funds for manufacturing setup, liability insurance and shipping costs. So I opened a crowdlending campaign; 115 small lenders (most of them complete strangers) helped me reach my $9,000 goal in 48 hours!
I shipped in October 2016. It earned great reviews, averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars. Customers made some final suggestions, which required more design work than I anticipated. In fact, I had to improve durability and manufacturability (to keep costs low).
All the extra development time was worth it, because it led to the "pleated panel" version you see now. So in January 2018, I launched a Kickstarter campaign which funded 100% in 3 days. With my new team, we spent the summer tooling up and we shipped in Fall 2018. After valuable customer feedback, we planned to tool-up for mass manufacturing.
I started a blog with monthly updates. To summarize, we had lots of engineering problems. I spent all 2019 trying to find reliable sources. Most large outfits wouldn't take my call. One wrote back: "Stop wasting everybody's time!"
So I then went overseas. In October 2019, I gave up on overseas suppliers. We could not find the right plastic (it needs to be made custom) nor could we find the right custom equipment to fold it at the right cost, speed and technique. It didn't exist. Well, duh ... it's an invention.
Back to the USA. I changed the way I approached suppliers, and got much better responses. We could do this domestically using ingenuity and more modern equipment. By March 2020, we had a basic machine and good plastic. Unfortunately, I got sick with COVID-19, so I stayed in my room in New York City all of April. But I recovered by May, and now am back to work. So now I can launch.
And we have the tooling to make making more SPACE Shower Liners. Lots more!