Accessorize Your Cutlery

PEI-based company hopes to solve plate-licking woes the world over

As firsts go, creating the world’s first fork accessory may not guarantee you’ll end up in the annals of history, but as Oliver Sauvé and Josh Lindsay can attest to, it’s guaranteed to be a fun ride. The co-creators of the Forktula are the first to acknowledge that their invention isn’t going to save any lives, but are just as quick to celebrate its smile-inducing qualities.

“I love to eat, I don’t like to miss a drop and from working at the [Landmark] cafe for twenty years, every day I’m going to tables and saying ‘Hey, how was everything? Can I take that out of your way?’ and having people say ‘Oh I just wish I could lick my plate’,” Sauvé said, explaining how he first came up with the concept of a fork-spatula crossbreed four or five years ago.

Compatible with just about any fork, the Forktula is a silicone, food-grade attachment that converts your everyday utensil into a superior plate-cleaning machine. Gone are the days of fighting with your inner child over the appropriateness of plate licking in public. Gone are the days of trying to scrape those final morsels of food from your plate with an ill-designed spoon, or using carb-laden bread to soak up the last of your meal. The Forktula solves all these problems and, as Sauvé jokingly points out, it’s also gluten-free.

The Forktula//Submitted image

Earlier this year, Sauvé and Lindsay got together to discuss potential business ideas (“funny ideas”, Sauvé notes) and decided to pursue Sauvé’s Forktula concept. “So then we measured forks, cut a lot of Dollar Store spatulas, got drawings done, CAD, then found a manufacturer through a long search process. We had a sample mold made, liked the samples, so paid for a production mold and so all our tooling is done and we can order Forktulas on demand,” said Sauvé.

Before settling on their final design, Sauvé and Lindsay explored the idea of creating a fork that would serve the intended purpose. In the end, they dropped this concept due to the high shipping costs for the fork and the challenge of convincing consumers to swap out their existing cutlery. The idea of a fork accessory was born.

Next, the friends and newly minted business partners had to find customers for their invention. They initially hoped to license the idea to an established kitchenware company, but were encouraged by John Kirk, the vice president of marketing for As Seen on TV, to pursue production and marketing themselves. Kirk also took the time to share his knowledge and advice with the duo, which they gratefully accepted.

Fast forward to November and the Forktula Boys, as they call themselves, have sold about nine thousand units. They’ve created videos to demonstrate the Forktula to prospective buyers, and, most recently, launched a successful Kickstarter campaign that ended November 30. The timing was perfect for those searching for the perfect stocking stuffer or a way to add pizzazz to a holiday dinner party.

“What do you get the person who has everything but a Forktula? A Forktula,” said Sauvé, clearly living up to his role within the team as the sales lead. He admits to getting an early start in sales when he was four or five and cut flowers from his neighbours’ gardens, which he then made into bouquets and sold back to them.

With the Kickstarter funds, Sauvé and Lindsay plan to finalize their application for a utility patent to protect their Forktula design. More valuable than a design patent, the utility patent would cover any type of product that is attached to a fork.

“We’ve had offers from four or five different investors,” Sauvé noted. The duo were recently approved as residents of the Start Up Zone, a business incubator in Charlottetown, and are part of SkillsPEI’s Self Employ PEI program. Such support from the business community speaks to the duo’s promise as budding entrepreneurs, but it’s the testimonials from customers that have encouraged Sauvé and Lindsay the most.

“It puts a smile on people’s faces,” said Lindsay. “Kids just love them. We gave a presentation to the Young Millionaires[…]we gave them each a Forktula and they were looking them over and one girl was like ‘You guys are geniuses’.”

About Shannon Courtney

Shannon is the co-founder of Salty and was its editor-in-chief for the publication's inaugural year. When she’s not writing about food, Shannon's either cooking, eating, talking, or thinking about it. Her food adventures have included milking a Jersey cow in Australia, almost overdosing on maple syrup in Prince Edward County, and studying local food systems in Vermont as part of her Master’s thesis research. Shannon is also a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and strongly believes you CAN make friends with salad.

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