The Origin of Urban August
Although there are many dates and events that could mark the beginning of Urban August, the roots of our business go way back. Maybe even to the early 2000’s. Maybe even earlier.
Growing up with a large family with four boys, one can only imagine the fridge issues for a bustling household. Although there was some tension over food, our parents made it work. We learned to respect each other’s’ boundaries.
It wasn’t until a few years later when my youngest brother, Matt, who was born with Downs Syndrome, started having issues with binge eating. It was not apparent at first, some snacks missing here and there. A little ice cream gone. But eventually, it grew to unhealthy proportions. Dangerous amount of food- any kind of food- would just go missing each night. Some people say that individuals with Downs & other developmental disabilities become more stubborn and ardently set in their ways as they grow into adulthood. Regardless of whether that is true or not, we found it very difficult to break this dangerous habit. Nothing we said or did made any difference.
Our first effort was a lockbox. We could not find a proper lockbox on the market made for refrigerators. We looked several places, and could not find one that was light and could fit into the fridge. Eventually, we had a custom lockbox made. We made it out of brittle acrylic plastic, and used a combination padlock on the front. It was rough, it wasn’t aesthetically appealing, but it worked. We put the highest-risk food inside, and we noticed the effects immediately.
However, we could not put all the food into our new lockbox. What now? There was no solution on the market. The next step was obvious: lock the entire fridge! None of the locks on the market at that time worked. Again, as there was no solution, so we designed it from scratch. We took a standard luggage strap lock, and modified it to only a few inches with our sewing machine. It worked! There would be no more unauthorized fridge access in my parents home.
You might be able to guess the next potential issue- what if Matt simply took scissors and cut the strap lock off? Fortunately, that never happened. That would be a blatant escalation, and would have crossed a line. However, we did consider this, hence why we have a line of metal cable locks.
As we could not find any of these products on the market, Urban August was born. We started with selling various types of locks, while brainstorming and developing our lockbox. We were able to forge many client relationships, and gain valuable product feedback. Fortunately, by the time we finished designing the lockbox, we had many many ideas of what our customers wanted. More to come in additional posts!