HOW DID WE BECOME SPOTLESS?
THE SPOTLESS IDEA
One morning I was sitting and having breakfast tea with my friend Pentti Järvelä. As usual we chatted and shared ideas of on-going inventions when suddenly Pentti interrupted- “I have always found that irritating” while pointing at my tea bag, but I still didn’t get what he was meaning... “The wet tea bag, it makes stains everywhere” –Pentti glanced at my tea bag. “Here’s how it could be solved” – and pointed out the sketch he had made. After brainstorming, we came to an agreement that I would try to devise the idea further and ended up building several prototypes for a week, until I came into conclusion that the problem required a lot more solving than we had thought...
FROM ONE PROTOTYPE TO ANOTHER
I was still daunted by the tea bag mystery and spent hours at my kitchen table being busy cutting, gluing, folding, sealing and taping new packages. Only to discover that most of my new packages had already been invented and patented by someone else. Finally, I qualified one of my spotless packages and brought it in front of an audience for the first time to be valued. On public opinion the package didn’t have enough commercial potential and being as sick as a parrot, I gave up on the idea.
Until on Valentine’s Day 2009 the idea hit me and I started again to create a prototype. I folded a rectangular pouch, opening from the wider side creating more space for a puffy tea bag and added a base so the bag would stand up. I laughed out loud and only wondered why I hadn’t figured it out earlier. My friend Reija Haapaniemi came up with the name STEABAG®, "S" standing for Spotless. Then my friend, an experienced IPR lawyer Timo Kivi-Koskinen advised me to establish a business and so the story of Spotless Tea Bag Ltd started.
The idea for STEABAG® was brilliant, but needed something more. In order to be a perfect “container”, the pouch needed to be self-standing and keep all the liquid inside. My prototype had the idea, but how could it be processed in to a product? The used material needed to be waterproof, environmentally friendly and something that would keep the tea fresh.
The present STEABAG® is based on the Doypack -packaging method, which had a patent from 1962 until 1982. It is also known as the Stand-Up Pouch. My first idea was -“Of course, someone has already invented this”, but no-one had ever thought of a possibility to place the used tea bag back inside its pouch. STEABAG® is not only to be used to cover an individually packed tea bag or as a promotional package, it’s purpose is to hide the used tea bag inside in a waterproof stand up pouch, keeping the cup’s surroundings, napkins, tablecloths and other areas clean and... "spotless".
The production appeared to be more challenging than we had first expected, especially combining the environmentally friendliness and preventing external aromas from contaminating the delicate tea content. I and the whole team behind STEABAG® were determined to not give up and now, after a time consuming process of product development together with world leading packaging producers, we have finally found a solutions to our challenges in form of STEABAG®.
I have been really fortunate to have mad keen professionals in the Spotless team, making our company strong. Together we are making the Spotless tea time come true.