PEI

Cleaning up: Fork meets spatula in new P.E.I. invention — the Forktula

They're calling it "the world's first and only fork accessory" — and these P.E.I. inventors are hoping the Forktula helps them clean up plates and clean up financially.

'It is a very simple and strange product, but it's fun'

'It is a very simple and strange product, but it's fun,' says Josh Lindsay, left, with his business partner Oliver Sauve. (Sara Fraser/CBC)

They're calling it "the world's first and only fork accessory" — and two P.E.I. inventors are hoping the Forktula helps them clean up plates, and clean up financially. 

The Forktula is a small (three-centimetre-long) silicone spatula that slides onto the two outer prongs of a fork to help diners scrape up every last drip of sauce from their plates. 

"After many, many years working at the Landmark Cafe, not a day goes by I don't hear someone say 'That was so good, I wish I could just lick my plate,'" said Oliver Sauve, who came up with the idea a few years ago.

It kind of replaces the promotional pen.— Oliver Sauve

In June, Sauve brought the idea to fruition with his friend and business partner Josh Lindsay. 

"Now you can lick your plate, especially in public or at dinner parties," added the 34-year-old entrepreneur. "You can use it in public, you can use it at home."

They're hoping big companies like Boston Pizza will want to buy them — branding Forktulas with their logos and offering them in their restaurants. Customers would take them home where they'd promote those brands in cutlery drawers in perpetuity.

"It's that subliminal advertising in the home, which companies are just dying for," Sauve said.

'People love stuff'

The pair had the Forktula accessories manufactured in China and started selling them to the public at 15 P.E.I. stores this summer for $1 each.

So far they've sold about 7,000 of the tiny plastic spatulas. 

Where some diners might use bread to sop up leftover sauce, the Forktula is calorie- and gluten-free, Sauve points out.  

Plus, he said, "people love stuff. People will get 20 accessories for their phone."

It is a very simple and strange product, but it's fun.- Josh Lindsay

Now, it's the fork's turn, Sauve reckons — and at the price, he hopes they'll buy several at a time. 

The pair is also working on a four-pack of Forktulas, and getting those on Amazon. 

"We also will do them branded to companies that want this type of advertising — it kind of replaces the promotional pen," Sauve said.

"It is a very simple and strange product, but it's fun," said Lindsay. "Kids love it."

Chefs also love the idea of the Forktula, Lindsay said. "Foodie people — cause they really want to devour every last bite."

'Happened really fast'

"It's happened really fast," said Lindsay, 30, an environmental biologist with a passion for developing new products. 

Its creators hope companies like Boston Pizza will buy Forktulas and brand them with their logos. (Forktula/Facebook)

"The two of us are an awesome team — Oliver is a salesman by nature … I'm really more behind-the-scenes, planning where to go next." 

Friday, the two were pitching to Charlottetown business incubator Startup Zone for a spot in residence to further hone their business and marketing plans. 

I'd like to make a lot of money on it, obviously.— Josh Lindsay

They also plan to pitch again to CBC's Dragon's Den, who liked the product when the pair brought them the raw idea in March, without a prototype or sales record. 

Their next goal is to sell $150,000 worth of Forktulas — that's when they'll call the head of As Seen on TV.

"And then, hopefully work with them because they have a huge market, and it's a demonstratable product," said Sauve.

In other words, it would make a great infomercial.

$10K 'angel' investment

The pair has invested $4,500 of their own money to develop the product and manufacture inventory and promotional materials.

'Not a day goes by I don't hear someone say 'That was so good, I wish I could just lick my plate,' says Oliver Sauve, who works at his family's cafe in Victoria, P.E.I. (Forktula/Facebook)

They've also tapped in to the provincial government's Self Employ PEI program, which provides financial support — a basic living allowance — as well as business counselling to new entrepreneurs during their first year of operation.

As well, they've had an "angel investor" loan them $10,000, interest-free.

So far they haven't drawn any salary, focusing instead on incorporating, protecting their intellectual property and patenting the Forktula, as well as marketing.

While they're "not materialistic," said Sauve, they'd love to strike it rich with the idea.

"I'd like to make a lot of money on it, obviously," Lindsay said with a laugh.

The pair has ideas for more inventions brewing, they say.

'The two of us are an awesome team,' says Forktula co-creator Josh Lindsay of his partnership with Oliver Sauve. (Sara Fraser/CBC)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sara Fraser

Web Journalist

Sara is a P.E.I. native who graduated from the University of King's College in Halifax. N.S., with a bachelor of journalism (honours) degree. She's worked with CBC Radio and Television since 1988, moving to the CBC P.E.I. web team in 2015, focusing on weekend features. email sara.fraser@cbc.ca

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