What’s the Story With… Liquid Hardware

Idaho is home to a variety of outdoor recreation companies and product manufacturers. The access to endless outdoor activities sparks creativity and has led many entrepreneurs and business owners to develop unique products to enhance and improve any adventure. Come along as we meet these companies and learn the stories behind the concept and development of their products. 

Hear from Liquid Hardware’s Founder & CEO Steve Kitto about how he patented the modern water bottle with a magnetic lid.

Q: Tell us about your product. What is it? What does it do?

A: “Our slogan is ‘Never lose your lid.’ We create vacuum-insulated bottles with a full 360-degree band around the top of the bottle that the magnetized lid can attach to so that it’s never lost.”

Photo Courtesy: Liquid Hardware

Q: What motivated you to create this product? Did you recognize an opportunity for improvement on other products?

A: “The concept of the product, the eureka moment, I had when I was driving and the lid on my bottle went under my seat. And I thought, “I should try to figure out how to make this thing stick to the bottle.” From there, I thought through how to keep a lid on other than a tether that usually breaks. And I thought, “Oh, a magnet.”

I started researching it and realized that most containers that are made out of glass, aluminum, stainless or plastic aren’t ferromagnetic, meaning they don’t work to attract a magnet. So I started researching alternatives.”

Q: How is your product different than what was/is on the market?

A: “It’s a simple design but we were the first to update the modern water bottle by putting a magnet on the modern water bottle. I went through the patent process and ended up getting a utility patent in multiple countries.”

Photo Courtesy: Liquid Hardware

Q: How long did it take to create your product – from conception to market?

A: “I started in 2011, working with a patent attorney. Once we got the patent file, I researched making the product in the U.S. That process took six months to a year and I learned that metal manufacturing to fit what I needed no longer happened here anymore. After some trial and error, in 2015 we eventually lined up a small, family-operated manufacturer in China in an industrial zone that has been making metal products for hundreds of years.”

Q: What’s been the most frustrating part of the product journey, the obstacle that either inspired an innovation or almost made you quit?

A: “In the first few years as we were trying out different manufacturing options, we started to run out of money. Not having outside capital investment is tricky, it limits what you can do and how fast you can grow.”

Photo Courtesy: Liquid Hardware

Q: Tell us about the moment you knew you were onto something others needed.

A: “When I first started showing the prototype to a few people, the reaction was positive, and many were interested in buying. We did a Kickstarter campaign, and I was getting a lot of feedback from people who liked the concept.”

Q: Where is the ideal place/circumstance to use your product?

A: “Our containers are versatile. From coffee shops to outdoor spaces, customers always have the convenience of keeping their lid attached.”

Photo Courtesy: Liquid Hardware

Q: Where in Idaho did you test your product?

A: “Here in the Teton Valley. It’s a mountain community and local people were eager to try it out early on.”

For more information about Liquid Hardware, visit their company profile. Then, check out all of Tested in Idaho’s amazing companies that build their products here in Idaho.