Submitting an idea
It all starts here, folks. If you’ve got an incredible invention idea, submit it to our community and one day it could end up on store shelves. Check out our blog for tips on creating top notch ideas: The strongest ideas are well researched, easy to understand, and we can build them with modern technology.
Whether you already have a patent or just drew your idea on a napkin this morning, we’re happy to receive it, so long as it’s a physical consumer product.
To submit your idea for consideration, you first need to create an account. Once you have joined our community, submit your idea using our submission form.
Pitch Your Idea
We’ll begin by asking you to give us a short introduction to your idea. Provide a brief title, choose the category your idea falls under, and craft the best 110 character elevator pitch you can come up with. Make sure it’s clean, concise, and as descriptive as possible. If you need help with your pitch, check out our writing tips on the Quirky blog.
Give A Description
Describe the problem the world faces without your idea and explain the solution you are proposing to solve that problem. We’ve included character limits to help you stay within a manageable length, so pay attention to your remaining character count as you write. To help your evaluators understand it, provide links to any comparable products that may solve a similar problem.
The last thing you will do is attach any images or videos to your submission. Neither is required, but your submission will receive way more support if you have at least one visual. In fact, we've previously written about the importance of visuals on the Quirky blog! As they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words.
Voting on ideas
Once an idea is submitted, our online community gets involved. During the 30 days an idea is active on Quirky, community members can vote for and comment on it. The inventor can get in on the action as well, engaging critics and fans in a hearty discussion about what is good, bad, and (hopefully not) ugly about the idea.
Think of the evaluation process as a giant funnel. We receive thousands of ideas every week and work with our community to find the most promising ones for development. We follow a thorough vetting process and provide a handful of tools for finding, critiquing, and voting for the most promising ideas.
You can sort by the newest ideas or by those that are ending soon, by category, or even by a specific date range. This saves time and helps you find exactly what you’re looking for. When you find an idea that interests you, choose to either vote for it immediately or view it to learn more.
There are three ways to interact with an idea:
1) You can vote for it. If an idea receives 200 votes or more it is automatically eligible for Expert Review.
2) Select “Community Feedback” to see what the community is saying about the idea and join the discussion.
3) Choose “Similar Products” to see what existing products other community members have already found, and add a new link of your own. Use this part of the idea page to let us know if the idea is similar to something previously submitted on Quirky. Simply add a link to the older idea to alert us to the potential similarity. For more on our similar submission guidelines, head on over to the Quirky forums.
How ideas get picked by Quirky
You don’t just submit your idea to see how many votes it can get – you want Quirky to choose it for development! Luckily, if your idea is good enough and has enough support that just might happen. Before it does, your idea has to go through a staff and community review process. Afterwards you may have a real product to show off to your friends and family. Even if your idea isn’t made into a real product the first time around, you will receive valuable feedback from the Quirky staff and from your peers online. Use this feedback to refine your idea or to build a whole new one!
There are two steps to choosing invention ideas:
Every week a rotating group of staff meet to review all of the ideas that made it into Expert Review, either by receiving 200 votes or by being picked by a Quirky employee. In a typical week, the group will choose the best 10-15 ideas for Product Evaluation. Those ideas that do not make it to Product Evaluation their first week in Expert Review will have a second opportunity the following week. If after the second week an idea still isn’t selected for Product Evaluation, the inventor will be given feedback collected from the experts that reviewed it.
Every Thursday night at 7pm ET, the community gathers to choose the best of the best ideas. The event is broadcast live at Quirky.com/live and all community members are encouraged to participate. We rely on our online viewers to gauge the world’s interests, determine potential price points, and to act as tie-breakers if the staff is split on an idea. Ideas chosen at Eval progress to the next stage of the Quirky process and are one step closer to becoming real products. Here’s our CEO Ben Kaufman explaining Eval in greater detail:
How am I protected?
There are several factors that mitigate the copying of product ideas submitted to the Quirky platform. First, our Terms and Conditions prohibit use of content found on quirky.com outside of the Quirky process. Second, initial idea submissions are often too conceptual to be readily converted into a product without significant design and development. Third, in many instances we move our products from idea to distribution quickly enough to retain a first-mover advantage in the marketplace over any would-be copycats.
Do I have to have a patent to submit?
An issued patent or pending patent application is not a necessary prerequisite, nor do such items guarantee submission acceptance. However, we do consider this information when reviewing product ideas.
What if I already have a patent?
By submitting your idea, you grant a license to all IP in the submission to Quirky and the Quirky community to consider and comment on your submission within the platform. If we accept your submission for further development and possibly eventual commercialization, you assign ownership of all IP in the submission to Quirky.
Why does Quirky need to own all IP in accepted idea submissions? Is this negotiable?
In order to successfully develop and commercialize a product, we must devote significant resources and accept exposure to a multitude of legal risks. We can’t sustain this level of investment and risk taking without having the ability to control the exploitation of IP embodied in Quirky products. In return for ownership of IP in a commercialized product, we’ll pay the contributing user a perpetual royalty commensurate with the degree of contribution. At this time, we do not negotiate this rate with members of our community.
Can Quirky help me get a patent?
We don't offer standalone-patenting services. However, if your idea is selected and green lighted throughout the process, our legal team will take on the task of both protecting the idea and/or ensuring that it doesn't infringe on any existing IP.
What if someone submits the same idea as mine?
With so many ideas coming to Quirky every day, it’s inevitable that two inventors will submit something similar. When they do, both can add their ideas to the “Similar Products” section of the other submission. We gauge similarity on the key details of the invention and choose the oldest of the two if they are considered similar. If two ideas are virtually the same and one is selected for Eval, so long as the other was submitted first, shares key details with the second, and was added to the Similar Products section of the more recent submission, we will bring the older idea to Eval.
What is influence?
Influence is a measure of your contributions to the development of a product. Think of it as points, only infinitely more lucrative. Each percentage of influence you earn also earns you a share of the profits when the product starts selling.
We share 10% of all gross revenues from the direct sale of our products through the Quirky web store, and 10% of all gross revenues from the indirect sale of our product through our retail partners. Any community member who played a part in bringing a product to market gets a piece of that royalty pie, with the size of their piece varying depending on how much influence they earned. If we want to think of it mathematically, an influencer’s share is the percentage of influence earned -- x% -- multiplied by 10% of the profit received from selling the product.
Each product starts out with 100% influence up for grabs across multiple development projects. It’s like a pie, only instead of cherry this pie is full of influence. There are different size pieces of pie available depending on what you do to help develop a product. The granular breakdown looks like this:
Idea Submissions (40%)
Got an awesome idea that you can't wait to reveal to the Quirky community? If your idea takes off and is picked for development, you'll receive the largest percentage of the community pot when the finished product starts flying off shelves. For more on inventing, check out this handy dandy overview.
Don't forget, you can always up your share of the influence in your product idea by participating in other development projects. Read about Research Projects, Design Projects, etc. to learn more about them.
Winning Votes (5%)
Have you stumbled upon an idea submission that you want in your hands, RIGHT NOW? Vote for it! If the idea you voted for is selected, you’ll have earned yourself a piece of the revenue pie. The 5% influence is divided amongst all voters for a winning idea.
Want to know more about voting? Boy do we have the perfect help page for you. You'll find everything you need to know by clicking this link.
Similar Products (5%)
Community members are invited to search the web for products that are similar to those they evaluate on Quirky. Simply choose Similar Products on any idea page and add a new link of your own.
You can also use this part of the idea page to let us know if an idea is similar to something previously submitted on Quirky. Simply add a link to the older idea to alert us to the potential similarity. For more on our similar submission guidelines, head on over to the Quirky forums.
Research Projects (5%)
As with any good project, research is the starting point for realizing a great idea. During this stage of development, we are interested in discovering consumer preferences, potential use cases, and design directions for a new product. We will ask you questions straight from our design staff or the inventors themselves.
Of course, we don’t expect you to share your knowledge for free: By sharing your insights with us you’ll earn yourself some influence! All participants split 5% amongst themselves. The more questions you complete, the more influence you will earn!
Design Projects (5%)
Once we have all the research data we need, we will open a design project. We can’t launch three new products a week without your help! This is your opportunity to show off your sketching or rendering skills.
Don’t hold back: Think big and bold about your designs, just as long as they remain relevant to the product. The most successful design submissions include an image: Take the time to draw something great. You have three opportunities to submit a winning design.
Out of the 5% influence reserved for this project, 3% will be yours for the taking if you submit an idea for a new feature or improvement that is used in the final product. There can be more than one chosen design idea, so it’s possible you may share that 3% with other designers.
Even if you are not artistically inclined, or you really love someone else’s submission, you can always vote for other ideas. You have three votes for submissions you think enhance the product the most. If you vote for a design submission that is incorporated into the final product, you will split 2% influence with your peers who also voted for it.
Name Projects (5%)
Every product needs a name, and who better to pick it than the folks who helped design it? Submit up to 6 of your own names for consideration and you will earn 3% influence if one is picked. Make sure to read the Creative Director’s notes near the bottom of the page to get a clear sense for what we are looking for and how you should be thinking about your names.
You can help us pick a name as well. You will compare two names side by side and choose the one you think best fits the product.
Complete 20 sets of names and you split 2% influence with other participants in the project. Feel free to keep comparing names after completing your first twenty.
After the project closes, we go through the top ranked names and pick the one that best fits the design aesthetic of the final product. The winning name will appear on the products packaging and on any promotional or press material associated with it.
How We Judge Similar Names
The following differences with Name submissions are considered similar, and automatically eliminated by our system:
Punctuation (periods, exclamation marks, commas, etc)
Spacing (leading, after, in-between)
Case (Upper, lower)
Names of Existing Products
The following differences with Name submissions are NOT considered similar, and therefore not automatically eliminated by our system:
Articles (the, a, your, my, etc)
Spelling/Misspelling (read, reed, reeed)
Plurals (read, reads)
Explanation (Name “this name means”)*
Names must be absolutely identical in order for any type of winner dispute to be reviewed.
In the unlikely event that two absolutely identical names are entered, the first in time (according to the # of submission) will be the winner. NOT the highest community voted choice.
*If two identical names appear in the system and one has additional character explanation, we will mark the name without additional characters as the winner, whether or not it is first in Community Votes or time.
Tagline Projects (5%)
A product's name may give it an identity, but the tagline gives it character. Submit up to 6 of your own for consideration, and if one gets picked, you’ll earn 3% influence for your creative contribution. Make sure to read the Creative Director’s notes near the bottom of the page to get a clear sense for what we are looking for and how you should be thinking about your taglines.
You can help us pick the best possible tagline as well. You’ll compare two side by side and choose the one you think best fits the product.
Complete 20 sets of taglines and you’ll split 2% influence with the other participants in the project. You are more than welcome to keep ranking taglines after completing your first twenty.
After the project closes, we’ll go through the top ranked taglines and pick the one that best fits the design aesthetic of the final product.
How We Judge Similar Taglines
The following differences with Tagline submissions are considered similar, and automatically eliminated by our system:
Punctuation (periods, exclamation marks, commas, etc)
Spacing (leading, after, in-between)
Case (Upper, lower)
Taglines of Existing Products
The following differences with Tagline submissions are NOT considered similar, and therefore not automatically eliminated by our system:
Articles (the, a, your, my, etc)
Spelling/Misspelling (read, reed, reeed)
Plurals (read, reads)
Explanation (Tagline “this tagline means”)*
Taglines must be absolutely identical in order for any type of winner dispute to be reviewed.
In the unlikely event that two absolutely identical taglines are entered, the first in time (according to the # of submission) will be the winner. NOT the highest community voted choice.
*If two identical taglines appear in the system and one has additional character explanation, we will mark the tagline without additional characters as the winner, whether or not it is first in Community Votes or time.
Style Projects (5%)
Time to make that product pretty! With this project we decide on the finishing touches for our newest products.
Specifically, your job will be to help us select the right colors and materials to use. Our design team provides the choices, and you vote for your favorites.
We give you three votes to put towards whichever choice you think is best suited for the final product. If you vote for the option that is picked by Quirky staff, you’ll split 5% influence with other voters who did the same.
Portfolio Products (5%)
Before it hits store shelves, a product first has to appear on the Portfolio page. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday we unveil three finalized product concepts to the world. Products featured here aren’t quite ready for purchase, but have been fully designed and are complete with name and tagline.
In addition to being a gallery, the Portfolio page is also a project in the development process. There you help us set product prices and to stay abreast of what products will soon be on store shelves.
We need your help determining the perfect price point: Tell us what you think would be too much, what would be too little, and what would make a great bargain. You will have 7 days after the product launches to participate, so be sure to jump in! You’ll share 5% influence with other pricers.
When we are confident of a product’s retail potential, we’ll slap an “In Manufacturing” stamp on it. When a product receives this coveted stamp, it means we are ready to get our hands dirty and really ramp up the work we’re doing behind the scenes to make it ready for purchase. This entails aspects of product development such as engineering, tooling, and manufacturing that do not involve the community but are absolutely essential to bringing the product to life.
Our invention ambassadors do their best to keep our community members up-todate on each product’s progress during this post-development stage. They will post regular updates about prototypes and tests run by our product team to the product’s timeline, so be sure to check back periodically to see what’s new.
Enhance Projects (20%)
No one product is the same and some may require more development projects than others to reach completion. From engineering challenges to concept consolidation, we’ll open Enhance Projects when a product requires special attention.
Earn influence by submitting or voting on your favorite submissions, depending on the needs of the project. 20% will be divided amongst projects, with increments ranging from 10 to 5% split by the project's participants.
How do I sign up?
Create an account using the signup form on the Quirky Homepage, or click Sign Up in the top right corner of any Quirky page. Read our Terms and Conditions, enter in the required information (or sign up with Facebook), activate your account through your email, and you’re good to go!
How do I change my email settings?
We want to be your best friend, but we also understand that you might not want to hear from us all the time. You can choose how involved you want to be by controlling your email settings here.
How do I check my account balance?
Log into quirky.com and your name should appear in the top right corner of each page. Click it, and select View Your Profile. You can also select Settings from the drop down and hop over to the Balance tab.
What’s this I hear about a profile?
Linked with each action you take on Quirky, your profile displays your interests and expertise, current submissions to the site, influence and earnings, and a glimpse of your Quirky inventor network. Use this to keep tabs on your activity and connect with the community.
What are followers?
Followers are community members who want to keep up with your activity on Quirky. Follow them back to build your inventor network and exchange private messages with potential collaborators or supporters of your ideas. Generally, you can only send messages to community members who are also following you, but you can opt to let anyone send you a message, regardless of follower status, at the bottom of the page here.
How do I deactivate my account?
If that’s really what you want to do, send an email to email@example.com and we’ll deactivate your account for you. We'll be sad to see you go.
How many products has Quirky brought to market, and where are they sold?
We’ve launched over one hundred unique products to our shop to date. They are sold directly through our website as well as through major and speciality retailers around the world. Our retail partners include: Target, Bed Bath and Beyond, Best Buy, Fab.com, ThinkGeek, Amazon.com, Williams-Sonoma, The Container Store, Auchan, and the list goes on.
I want to buy a product! How will it be shipped?
We offer a few different shipping options with UPS. Shipping costs vary by weight, but you will always be able to see your order’s shipping cost on the checkout page. Here are the shipping options we provide within the continental United States:
UPS Ground starting at $7.50
UPS 2 Day starting at $10.50
UPS Next Day starting at 16.50
For shipping to Canada:
UPS Canada Ground starting at $18.50
Do you ship outside of North America?
We sure do. Just indicate your country of origin at checkout. We currently offer international shipping via the following option:
FedEx International Economy (2-9 days), starting at $29.99
Please note that international shipments may be subject to import taxes upon arrival. Unfortunately, Quirky has no control over that cost.
After I place an order, when will my product arrive?
If a product is in the Shop, the order will usually ship within 24 hours if placed Monday through Thursday before 2pm ET. One thing we want to emphasize: If a product you order is not in stock, your credit card will be authorized, but it won’t be charged until your order is ready to ship. However, payments made through PayPal will be processed at the time the order is placed.
Once your order is in transit, delivery time will vary based on shipping method. Please note that shipping for international orders can be delayed by customs regulations:
UPS Ground – 2-7 business days
UPS 2 Day – 2 business days
UPS Next Day – 1 business day
FedEx International – 2-9 business days
Make sure you take note of the product’s availability. We’ll ship stocked items first, followed by separate shipments for any backordered products.
How can I check the status of my order?
You can view your order status by logging into Quirky, clicking on your name in the top right, and selecting Check Order Status. Email order-specific questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you out as best we can.
What if I have a question that isn’t covered here?
Your fellow community members are ready and willing to help! The best place to find answers is our community forums. Still confused? Shoot an email to email@example.com or call 1-866-5QUIRKY (1-866-578-4759) to speak with one of our friendly Community Support Representatives.
I have an invention. What can you guys do for me?
We're looking for unique and functional physical consumer products that make our lives better, faster, and funner. Our process and product portfolios are always evolving with the help of our online community, staff, and retail partners. Sign up for an account to submit your invention idea, develop future Quirky products, and to connect with the community. When we start selling the products you helped develop, we’ll pay you!
How much does it cost?
You can submit your ideas for free! But don’t take this lightly. If you really want a shot at inventing the next great consumer product, you have to do your homework. So research, research, research, and take some extra time to really refine your ideas before you submit them.
How long does it take?
Once your idea is submitted, the community will have 30 days to vote for it and collaborate with you. If within that time your idea receives 200 votes or is picked by staff, it will automatically be eligible for Expert Review. Quirky staff will then decide whether or not to take your invention idea to our Live Product Evaluation (Eval). If chosen at Eval, our expert Product team will work with you and the community to develop your idea into a real product. For more on the Quirky selection process, check out our overview.
What do I get out of this?
Even if an idea you submit isn't picked for development, you'll receive valuable feedback from the community simply for submitting it, and from the staff if it makes it into Expert Review. This helps you refine your idea and gives an indication of its marketability.
If you do invent a product that is chosen at Eval, or simply help us bring one to market, you’ll earn Influence. Think of Influence as a share in the final product, for which you receive a portion of the profits when it starts selling. We share 10% of the revenue of gross sales for every product sold with our influencers. Your share is the influence you earned multiplied by 10% of the product’s price.
I’m sold. How do I submit my idea?
Great question. We have a section dedicated to exactly that.
What types of ideas can I submit?
We focus on physical consumer products, so please don’t submit business ideas, new foods, or standalone software. Always be sure to ask yourself: Will my product make people’s lives better? How will it work? Will it stand the test of time? Will people buy it? (These are some of the questions we’ll be asking.)
What's the difference between products in the Portfolio and items in the Shop?
Products in the Portfolio section have completed our collaborative development process, but are not being manufactured and sold just yet. When a product launches to this page, we start collecting pricing data from the community to match against manufacturer quotes, while our Strategy & Retail teams gauge market interest. Once we’re sure that we can market and sell the product successfully, it will be given an “In Manufacturing” stamp, which means that it is moving one step closer to production.
How do I get paid?
Once the products you've influenced start selling, earnings head straight into your Quirky account. Make sure you've filled out your payment & tax forms under the Balance tab of Your Account, and as soon as you accumulate $75, you can request a payout! You can opt to receive your earnings through check or ACH direct transfer to your bank account.
As a company, Quirky’s mission is to make invention accessible by helping inventors overcome obstacles they can’t tackle alone. We also strive to help them understand their full potential as makers, and the amazing things they can accomplish if they put their minds to it.
In addition to our submission, evaluation, and influence platform, the Quirky Blog is a great place to find helpful resources on a wide variety of topics ranging from tips on design, to tutorials for tools that can help you build world class renders of your invention ideas. All of this is conveniently organized under the tag “Quirky University”.
You’ll find this veritable trove of inventing knowledge by clicking Blog at the bottom of this page. Once on the Quirky Blog homepage, type “Quirky University” into search bar below your name in the top right of the page and hit enter to start learning.
To help you down the path to inventing wisdom, we’ve put together a collection of the most useful pieces for new inventors. If you want to learn best practices for inventing with Quirky, click on Crafting your submission in the menu to the left. If you have the submission part down but want to start thinking like a designer, our Design tips are a great resource.
Crafting your submission
We receive a ton of ideas each week and it’s not uncommon for us to see the same ones over and over again. This piece was the first in a two part series discussing ideas that are submitted to Quirky all the time. Some we have already chosen, while others exist in one form or another.
This second installment in the series expands on the list of ideas we regularly see but rarely choose. Review this list and the first to get a sense for what’s been done and what tends to be rejected.
We host a Research project as part of the product development process, but extensive research is also essential to coming up with a new invention idea in the first place. The best ideas are well thought out and loaded with supporting information gained through investigation.
Your 140 character pitch is one of the first things your idea’s evaluators will see, so it’s important to get it right the first time. In this piece we discuss what goes into a great pitch and give tips for crafting your own.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is especially true when inventing new product ideas. Your 140 character pitch may be the first written words someone sees, but the image you use will be the first thing to catch an evaluator’s eye.
Inventing isn’t easy. You want to come up with something new and novel, but unless you are an engineer you may not be fluent in the technical feasibility of your ideas. In this piece we discuss why it’s important to research whether or not an idea is possible with existing technology before submitting it for consideration to the Quirky community.
Every Wednesday at 6pm ET the Quirky Design Staff and online community gather to brainstorm design directions, challenges, and use cases for three new products. You can follow a similar process to develop and refine your own invention ideas. Brainstorm sessions can be incredibly useful for idea generation and vetting, so hold your own with friends, family, and fellow inventors to shape your own inventions.
Invention is about new ideas and solutions for common or novel problems, yet we often see inventors trying to fix what isn’t yet broken. Rather than inventing for inventing’s sake, or to create a prettier version of something that already exists, focus on ideas that solve new problems.
There is no need to overcomplicate your ideas. Your product’s future users don’t want to spend hours figuring out how to use it -- they just want it to work. Take time to simplify your approach and your explanation of it. Remember that sometimes less is more.