Episode 33…Debbie Schwartz, The Quirky Plush Toy Challenge, and Tune Zoo


Quirky is…

Quirky is a free community-led invention platform that brings ideas to life. Invention is hard and everyday people have ideas for inventions but no path to turn them into products. Quirky makes inventing and selling products including a plush toy possible by pairing inventors with product designers and manufacturing companies that can bring their ideas to life.


How Quirky Works

Go to www.Quirky.com where you sign up for a free account.  Next, you sign in to Quirky.com using your username and passwork.  Then you will be able to submit your invention ideas. You can work on your inventions on your own, or you can ask other Quirky community members for help. In exchange for the skills and services offered by the community, you will share “influence” with them, which means sharing a percentage of your royalties.

Once you’re comfortable with the details of your invention, you submit it to the Quirky team, who will review your invention for market potential. Quirky reviews inventions on a rolling basis and selects ideas to explore further for refinement (industrial design & renders) and viability testing (IP procurement, prototyping). If they think your invention is a winner, they’ll produce it.  When it hits store shelves; you (and all the “influencers” from the Quirky community who helped you along the way) will share in the royalties earned on every unit sold.

5 Phases of the

 Quirky Invention Evaluation Process




This is where you give them details on your brilliant idea. You can keep your submission private or make it public to get help from the Quirky community. Once you’re comfortable with the details of your invention, click to submit it.


This is when the Quirky team reviews your invention and other inventions on to identify ideas that they’d like to explore further. You’ll hear back from them regarding the status of your invention within 45 days of being submitted. In this phase, you can no longer edit your idea and the focus shifts to the market research survey and crowdsourcing competitive products to better understand viability.


If your product made it to this phase, congratulations! They think your idea is worth exploring further and we dedicate resources to refine the idea to understand its viability. This is where Quirky createsindustrial design sketches & renders, materials testing, prototypes and pricing analysis to understand if your product has a place in the market. They’ll be sharing updates along the way as your invention is being refined.


If after refining the idea and doing viability testing, they believe your idea is a winner, your invention moves into the Production phase. This is where your product is begins being built at the factory, on its way to hitting shelves soon! They’ll be refining elements like product name, tagline & packaging during this phase.


Time to earn money! Your invention is now selling. This is where they showcase your invention’s full journey and add  a link to the Quirky Shop for shoppers everywhere to buy your invention.  Every unit sells makes you money!

Quirky Plush Toy Challange

Quirky launched a challenge to the its community in July to come up with a new plush toy for kids. The challenge was focused around trends the company was looking to take advantage of including interactivity & touch-based sensors and they prompted the community to integrate this technology while coming up with a toy that is simple with no advanced set up or a complicated instruction manual.



Debbie Schwartz Wins Plush Toy Challange

The winner was Debbie Schwartz with her submission called plush toy Tiger Tunes (see her original submission here – you need a free quirky.com account to view). Quirky refined Debbie’s initial concept and brought it to market as Tune Zoo. The product capitalizes on the STEM trend and teaches kids about circuits. You can play with your Tune Zoo alone by making music when you hold the sensors on both paws. Or you can play with a friend – you each hold a paw and conduct the musical sound by tapping your friend’s skin!

The Tune Zoo plush toy is available on Quirky’s E-commerce site here. Quirky has expanded beyond Debbie’s original Tiger concept to a line of plush toys that today includes a monkey and a panda bear with other animals in the pipeline including a Unicorn!



Listen to the Invention Stories Podcast…


Episode 36…Gina Waldhorn, President of Quirky

Gina Waldhorn assumed the role of President of Quirky in March 2017.  So her role is to steward the revitalization of the company, and to  run the day-to-day operations. Since Quirky’s public bankruptcy in 2015 under prior leadership, the Quirky community hasn’t quit.

As an inventor and Quirky user herself, Gina Waldorn was drawn to the role of revitalizer and champion of the Quirky mission, vision and community.  To learn more about or listen to this podcast please click here


Learn More about Quirky.com


Click here to visit the Quirky Business Facebook Page.
and here to visit the Quirky Twitter Page
Click here to read Quirky’s Frequently Asked Questions
and click here to read the NYTimes.com article Invention Mob, Brought to You by Quirky.
Click here to read Quirky is back with new ownership at Businessinsider.com
and here to read Good News, Inventor! Quirky has Re-invented at Entreprenuer.com
Click click here to read How the Invention Factory at Quirky almost imagined its way out of business at Theverge.com
and here to read Is This the World’s Most Creative Manufacturer? and here to read What Happened to Quirky? at Inc.com
In Conclusion

In Conclusion, I want to thank Debbie Schwartz for allowing us to interview her. So if you are an inventor or think about inventing…we invite you to download, listen, share Episode 33…Debbie Schwartz, The Quirky Plush Toy Challenge, and Tune Zoo.  And finally, a download and/or listening link is provided at the top left of this page.  And please…tell a friend.

For more information please visit www.quirky.com



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Episode 33…Debbie Schwartz, The Quirky Plush Toy Challenge, and Tune Zoo

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