From mailbox to MilaBox, Shipping Rethought

An artistic mailbox with words overtop reading "The MilaBox, A Look at Catania Design Process".

“Find a job you enjoy doing and you’ll never work a day in your life.”  Mark Twain’s famous quote is more than just lip service. It’s our mantra.

Passion is contagious. It flows from one person to another, feeding the energy and drive from employees to customers. The projects that have the most success are those that our team and customers are most excited about. When we have these types of projects, our passion for design and product development translates into helping our customers realize their dreams. 

Customers come to us with a dream of a product that they want to be made into a reality. In order to give them the very best experience and end product, we have to share their passion for the project. If we don’t, then we know we’re not the best fit for them. That’s why we pursue work we know we will be great at and help potential customers find a team better suited to their needs when we are not the best fit.

A good example of a recent project that inspired us is the MilaBox. MilaBox is a creative new look at the traditional mailbox. This design took the ‘bread loaf on a post’ look we all know and turned it into a smart mailbox – an exclusive experience in receiving and delivering mail packages. 

Before we started the project, we went through several iterations of concepts and styles. We reviewed and onboarded the customer with our team. We then worked with the customer to get the exact design he wanted for his product launch. What we came up with was pretty AWESOME.

How Our Passion Translates into Artistic Production

Focusing our business development to match our skill sets ensures that when we take on a project, we’re giving it more than 100%.  Working on something that you’re both good at and enjoy doing, creates a more efficient work flow and creates a better end product. 

OUR STEPS TO GETTING STARTED

  1. Initial Consultation – we learn about clients and our clients can learn about us. 
    • If we aren’t the best fit, we help them find a team that is. 
  2. Research & Concepts – we deliver several conceptual ideas of an idea for a low-cost, fixed fee.  
    • We don’t expect anyone to sign any contracts with us before knowing how we may approach their idea. 
  3. Review & Initiate Design Phase Contract – once concepts are delivered, customers can then decide to move forward with us or take another path.

These steps have allowed us to better tailor the level of complexity and future costs to the customer’s needs.  This is a win-win for both our team and our customers where they better understand how we are going to approach their project and we better understand how we can best meet all their needs. 

The Catania team takes our customers’ projects seriously. We want to be passionate about what we deliver and passionate about what we do.

Catania is WHERE PASSION MEETS INNOVATION.  

Come check us out!

 

 

 

Corporate Office
2412 Irwin St.
Melbourne FL 32901

The Future of Ab Workouts – User Experience

A product is more than the end result of an idea made into a real-life design. It’s your baby. Your brainchild. But seeing your dream made into a reality shouldn’t signal the finish line. The ultimate goal of any product is to serve its user beyond the original concept to give them the best results and experience possible.

The concept of user experience isn’t new, but it’s more important now than ever in today’s competitive global market.  Here at Catania, we are passionate about creating designs that not only satisfy the customer’s expectations but also anticipate the user’s needs and wants—even if they aren’t aware of what those might be.

 

 

How exactly do we do that? We start by doing a deep dive into the user’s basic senses. Then, we ask questions and figure out how someone would use the product. Watching, “or imagining through a series of activities”, how the user interacts with the product allows us to anticipate potential problems and fix them while the product is still in the creation phase.  

Recently a customer came to us with their design for an ab roller, now named the Ab Sculpt. The customer knew that he wanted the design to have better resistance than other ab rollers on the market. The solutions we came up with work, but through pre-product testing, we realized the tire generated too much heat, making it unsafe for the end-user. We developed a heatsink that draws heat away from the system, protecting the user.

Enhancing user experience also involves the integration of aesthetics, the five senses, and perceived value. How a product looks, feels, and how easily it can be used all contribute to the user’s negative or positive reactions.

Users Experience is all 5 senses, perceived value, and influence

In the case of the Ab Sculpt, we anticipated features that would make it more valuable to use. We made the handles removable with 3 different angle settings and added a repetition counter that faces the user.

Creating an excellent user experience is more than just about the finished product. It involves all the stages of development, taking into account a user’s first interaction, subsequent experiences, maintenance, and the end result.

Making it all work together seamlessly is what we do at Catania.

 

SwiftPaws Shows Off Sleek Lure Controller Design on ESPN

In business for the past decade, SwiftPaws® (www.swiftpaws.com) holds the patent for lure coursing equipment and is currently the only professional manufacturer in the industry.

The competition took place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Three-year-old Reas, a Whippet (a medium-sized breed of English origin descended from the Greyhound), raced the 100-yard dash in 5.669 seconds, with an average speed of 35.36 mph, according to disneysportsnews.com, in order to capture the coveted canine title.

Indeed, “capturing” is the key to winning the competition. In order to be the fastest, canines chase a lure.  Dogs are visually stimulated, and the lure, which they believe to be a rabbit or squirrel, is actually a white plastic bag attached to a string. The lure can travel at speeds of up to 60 mph via a system of pulleys, using a remote control.

“The pulley system and controller are what set us apart from what’s been around,” explained Meghan Wolfgram, CEO and Founder of SwiftPaws®.

The controller uses a trigger mechanism similar to that of a power tool, can be set to various speeds, and can also reverse.

Speed control of the lure is vital to ensuring fairness and equity during such canine speed competitions especially due to various breeds competing against one another. This allows the human controller of the lure to take into account a canine’s personal preferences and idiosyncrasies during competition. 

Ms. Wolfgram of Melbourne, Florida, is a canine aficionado, who wanted to design and mass-produce lure equipment not only for use during competition but to also provide dog lovers everywhere with options for exercising their beloved “best friends” wherever they live and play. From that desire came the creation of SwiftPaws’® products, including the SwiftPaws® Pro Alpha, for competitive use, and SwiftPaws® Home, for indoor and outdoor use.

One week before the competition, Ms. Wolfgram received a call from ESPN asking if she’d like to be interviewed at the event. The next thing she did was call Catania Enterprises. She had a makeshift controller to work the lure equipment which worked but she did not think it looked professional enough to represent her brand.

With only a week to go from concept to prototype, Catania Enterprises had to work quickly and also accurately. There would be no time for second chances. They had to get the controller housing designed correctly the first time around. Because SwiftPaws® and Catania Enterprises are located in Brevard County, Florida, both companies were able to work together in person to make Ms. Wolfgram’s dream a reality. Hand measurements were carefully taken to ensure accuracy, and a housing was created, taking into account previous internal designs that Catania Enterprises had not created themselves. Before one week, the prototype was delivered. Ms. Wolfgram was happy with the results, so much so, that Catania Enterprises has done two additional designs and then started mass-producing the controllers.

swiftpaws-controller-out-of-3d-printer

Catania Enterprises focuses on mass producing their designs, taking pride in creating “user-centric” products, such as handles or controllers, focusing on aesthetically pleasing designs, as well as ergonomically designed ones.

“They made a miracle happen,” said Ms. Wolfgram of the prototype controller.

To this day, she still receives telephone calls and emails about the ESPN interview and requests on how to purchase SwiftPaws® products.

“We have clubs all over the country that use our equipment,” added Ms. Wolfgram. “We aspire to be the Nike of dog sports.” 

Even though they love to travel, Ray Catania, CTO, and his Stefanie Catania, CEO, realize that Brevard County is still home.

“We take a lot of pride in the companies here. There is a lot of talent in the area,” said Ray Catania.

“There are a lot of engineering resources in our area,” remarked Ms. Wolfgram. “But there is a lack of mechanical engineering resources that know how to work with something that can be injection molded. Designing for mass manufacturing is a real skill.”  

Groundswell Startups and Venture Capital

We have loved being a part of the Groundswell Startups community and are happy to see such a great article summarizing the hard work and fantastic resources available in one area.

As Groundswell COO Jarin Eisenberg states: “We see Groundswell Startups as being a catalyst for change. We have created a space where people can take risks, pursue their dreams, and do it within a community of incredibly talented individuals who are willing to step in and help. They are deeply invested in each other’s success.”

“Everything you need to get your business started can be found through the connections made at Groundswell,” said Stefanie Catania, CEO/CFO of Catania Enterprises.

Grassroots High-Tech Incubator Groundswell Startups Assists Companies With Venture Capital Funds

How our Form and Function got us on Good Morning America

A feature on Good Morning America is a big deal for any business, but for a small business, it is game-changing. Groundswell member Catania Enterprises teamed up with Amaranth Vase Company to produce a reimagined flower vase so innovative, it was promoted on Good Morning America’s “Deals & Steals” this fall.

Talk to any entrepreneur and they will tell you that business success is impossible without the right team and some room for trial and error. When Amaranth Vase Company needed help bringing their unique flower vase idea to fruition, they found the budding partnership with Catania Enterprises to be just what they needed to put their ideas in motion.

Raymond and Stefanie Catania of Catania Enterprises recall meeting the founder of the Amaranth Vase Company, Mendel Schectman, years ago. Schectman had an idea for a modern flower vase that made stem trimming and replacing the water much easier, but struggled to find the right company to help move the idea into production. Showing the long-term value of networking, the Catanias and Schectman were reunited and proved to be that perfect team for the project. Together, the partners solved design, engineering and production challenges needed to put the vase into the market. Then, this fall, it was showcased as a problem-solving product from a small business during Good Morning America’s “Deals & Steals.

Catania Combines Form and Function

When asked what sets Catania Enterprises apart from other development companies, Raymond highlighted the marriage of design and functionality. “We have a breadth of experience, which helps us to take on nearly any task and run with it with little or no startup time,” he said. “We have the ability to work through even the toughest problems that customers can throw at us. On the inventor side, we strive to provide well thought-out designs that have an artistic and quality feel to them that really helps products stand out in the market.”

In the case of the vase design, Schectman has plenty of experience in online sales and marketing, but needed help with the design and the engineering of the product. Instead of navigating the “form versus function” battle between two teams, they together came up with the current Tapered Diamond design now seen on the vases. The complex geometries posed some manufacturing challenges, but Catania was able to work through the engineering and aesthetics of the final product. It was Catania’s combined expertise that not only saved Amaranth money, but time.

“I especially love when an inventor truly believes in their idea and can make me believe too. That is when I know it is going to be something great. I feed off of their excitement.” – Raymond Catania

raymond

A History with Groundswell Startups

Catania Enterprises has a long history with the Groundswell community, helping companies grow with “The Triad” approach. Customizable for every project, Catania combines each company’s three big needs, technicalscheduling and cost, to come up with a personalized engineering experience. At Groundswell, they began applying that technique to Tomahawk Robotics. Catania provided mechanical design for early projects and has seen tremendous growth since those small beginnings. As the company expanded, and after seeing how Groundswell supported companies through to their successes, Raymond and Stefanie decided to officially join the community. Since becoming members, their portfolio has expanded, providing mechanical engineering help to SwiftPaws, machining services to CFD, and proposal work with Sentry View Systems.

bike 1

What started as a passion project for their two sons turned into another beautiful product

 

Catania has prioritized networking over the years, and has worked with many companies. But what makes Groundswell Startups so unique? According to Raymond, it’s the level of member support. While traveling and networking along the east coast, they said that while they met amazing people at other incubators, “none of them compared to Groundswell’s ability to take an interest in your company and introduce you to others that can help you both succeed. It is these connections and passion for helping others that sets Groundswell apart.”

IMG_20200614_202349Raymond & Stefanie love to travel and gain inspiration from the people they meet and places they go

When Catania looks to the future, one thing is clear: growth. Catania Enterprises is excited about the possibility of expanding their team. However, it is not a process they take on lightly. Catania values relationships and quality of service, so they make sure that every member of the team upholds those values to their high standards. That way, all who work with Catania Enterprises can be confident that they are investing in a long term, exciting and successful partnership.