Recap: Enter the Thunderdome:Design Museum Product Pitch Party

Design Museum hosted a Product Pitch Party  last Thursday, turning the back studio at Nemo Design into a design Thunderdome. Four local designers entered the arena to champion their new product in the hopes of winning twenty-five hundred bucks of seed money, and mentorship. In five hot minutes, Lizz Hampton of Goodnuss, Tyron Hazen of Greydesign, Benjamin Coughlin of Waaypoint, and Chris Tobias of Shower Flower pitched a diverse range of products from sexy speakers to showerheads. Host Melody Rowell kept the pace brisk, as judges posed the burning question: Is launching this product a dream or is it real?




Lizz Hampton ruled the day with boss-lady confidence and focused design thinking. Her product, ‘Goodnuss’, a nut-milk-making tumbler, speeds up the process for a busy consumer. Faster almond milk through ultrasonic welding? Why not. For anyone who has spent hours messing about with blenders and cheese cloths, this handy tumbler seems like a salvation. If Lizz has her way, it may have all of Portland making almond milk with speed and a salty smile. Lizz will receive mentorship from each of the judges: Kelley Roy, Ken Tomita, Anna Thames, and Katherine Krajack. Each judge will provide 2 hours per month of their time for 6 months to help develop the product, scalability, manufacturing, and go-to-market strategy. 

See what’s next for Goodnuss on Instagram @milkyournuts.



Tyron Hazen’s product Fireside Audiobox was a champion in my book as well. His speaker box is a fetish object any audiophile would lust after, a young cousin of the seventies 1970s teak turntable. Tyron walked us through the elegant construction on this bamboo speaker unit. It’s crowning design detail is an aluminum cylinder with flame ports, sending a line of flames up that dance along with the sonic patterns of music being played. Fireside Audiobox is already up on Kickstarter, through Friday, August 26.

See Tyron’s delicious sonic waves form diagrams on Kickstarter.

Design Museum is a postmodern museum concept that is largely volunteer based. The museum is nomadic, with events held all over Portland. Stephanie Younger, an organizer with the foundation, says that they work to draw a public that would not normally attend a traditional museum event. She explained that staging events in new spaces each time allows for happy accidents, cross-pollination of ideas, and unique energy every time.

Will there be more designers entering the Thunderdome? Design Museum is currently exploring the possibility of turning this event into a series with the judges and their media partners. We will keep you posted when the full event goes live on Design Museum’s Vimeo channel, with judges Kelly Roy (ADX), Katherine Krajnak (Portland Development Commission), Ken Tomita (Grovemade), and Anna Thames (Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership).

Event Photos by Victoria Wells.

Marilee Sweeney designs packaging and branding at Gastronaut Design; volunteering on the Communications Content Team. 

By Marilee Sweeney
Published August 16, 2016