Stetson entrepreneurship pupil launches Herbie Rake kitchen utensil

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Chris Boyle

| The Daytona Beach News-Journal

Years of homemade cooking eventually sparked an idea for Kendall Buck.

Buck, a 19-year-old Gilbert, Ariz., Native and sophomore of Stetson University, and her parents feared collecting coriander leaves from the stems.

“It got to a point where we were either trying to do business with each other to wash the dishes or wringing thumbs instead of peeling herbs because we knew how tedious and time-consuming it was,” said the entrepreneurship student and management.

Each time it was her turn to pull the herbs through a sieve or slotted spoon, Buck focused on one unique thought:

There has to be an easier way, right?

Thanks to their own creation, there might very well be a solution now.

Buck developed the Herbie Rake – a red, double-sided cooking device that removes leaves of coriander, rosemary, dill, basil and more from the stems – using a 3D printer in the Innovation Lab of the duPont Ball Library in Stetson. She completed the design at the end of her freshman year with the assistance of Tony Ganus, manager of the Innovation Lab.

Kendall credits her mom, Tabitha Buck, for inspiring her with the final design. She said her father, 14-year-old chef Gordon Buck, sparked her entrepreneurial spirit.

Gordon died suddenly at the age of 49 on August 6, 2017. At the time, Buck was a junior in high school.

“He definitely pushed me to be open-minded and take risks,” she said. “I think that, along with growing up, got me started my business.”

Last spring, she pitched the article at the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization’s Southeast Entrepreneurship Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and made it to the finals of the three-round competition.

“It helped me validate my idea even further as the audience and judges really liked the product,” said Buck.

However, consumer demand is the real test.

Tabitha helped give the prototype of the rake to friends and acquaintances, along with a market research survey. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, but some improvements have been made – such as the width of the teeth and the addition of a second strafing side.

“When she 3D printed her first prototype, I knew she was on something,” said Tabitha. “She won’t stop until she brings it out and starts selling it. She would call me and practice her pitch and it seemed like an easy decision that it was a good product.”

In December, she launched a Kickstarter campaign with a goal of $ 2,000. At the end of the month, she raised $ 4,779 from 131 supporters.

“The first or second day was a lot of friends or family; then it was complete strangers who saw it on Facebook, Instagram, etc. and stood up for this cause and for my business,” said Buck.

In addition to the Kickstarter, Buck made the Herbie Rake available for purchase on their own website. During the holiday season, it sold more than 230 units, priced at $ 10.99.

“It’s a simple but workable idea. And that’s the beauty of it,” said Lou Paris, director of Stetson’s Joseph C. Prince Entrepreneurship Program.

Buck’s goal, Paris added, should be to have at least two open channels for customers – the Herbie Rake website and independent social media advertising.

In addition, the product will soon have a home on Amazon.

“This particular team (Amazon), once it has identified a product, will facilitate the account management process for the first year,” said Paris. “We can ask for people by name who can fix problems we are having. We can penetrate the market a little bit more.”

After all, Buck wants to see the Herbie Rake on the shelves of prominent retailers like Walmart, Target and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Next week, Buck will be meeting with Port Orange entrepreneur Desiree Haller, whose waterproof, eco-friendly SubSafe sandwich containers are available from Publix.

Haller and her husband Adam appeared on ABC’s Shark Tank last year. They signed a deal with executive producer and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Hall of Fame basketball player Charles Barkley.

“They’re both doers, big time,” said Paris. “I have no doubt that something will come of this. They are two women. I am very confident that if there is a way, both of them will find a way to bring the product to market.”