Jefferson Industrial Design alum Eli Wiegmann (BsID ‘06) has worked in a fascinating variety of modes an industrial designer – from independent consultancies to in-house design departments to eventually creating his own company.
Eli started his career as a designer at the world-renowned firm of Michael Graves where he helped develop a wide range of products for Target. From there he went on to start and build the design department for 4moms, a juvenile products company. Eli eventually became Design Director of 4moms overseeing an award-winning department (2 Red Dot design awards and 18+ patents). Together with his partner Leah (head of the 4moms graphic design department), Eli helped to grow the company into an international business known for its product innovation.
Eli then left 4moms to start his own consultancy, Base Design Studio. Working with a wide range of clients, from Fortune 500 companies to robotics startups, Base provides an array of services including industrial design, soft goods development, branding, and user interface design. But it was the company’s soft goods expertise that led Eli and Leah to begin their next venture: developing products for dogs and their people through a company called Spruce Pup.
Spruce Pup’s first product was the portable Spruce Bed, a design born out of frustration with existing dog beds. Eli began by thinking about the ideal dog bed, something that would be simpler to take on multi-day trips (typical beds are too large and flimsy to make carrying easy). By designing a bed that folds, Eli not only made the bed much easier to transport, but also enabled it to act as a suitcase for all of a typical pup’s stuff.
Once the basic concept was mapped out, other innovative features were added. Dog beds get dirty, so machine-washable materials were used for the cover construction. The cover is designed to be quickly and easily removable (like a fitted sheet instead of a giant pillow case). The bed is waterproof and modular as well.
Eli launched the Spruce Bed on Indiegogo. The response was overwhelming and the overall funding goal was reached in the first 24 hours. The campaign made the first production run of small, medium and large dog beds possible. And since then, Spruce Beds have been shipped out to happy pups across the United States and Canada.
Under Eli’s direction, Spruce Pup continues to expand its line of products that make exploring the world with a pet easy. Each one is designed with the belief that quality and function are essential to helping dogs and their people enjoy every experience together.