When Rachel Eva and her husband and business partner Shawn Michael noticed the rise in the craft cocktail scene a few years back, the two artists-by-trade (and self-professed cocktail nerds) took their personal love for the hospitality industry and shifted gears from public art to designing and mass-producing highly functional and visually beautiful barware and tools.
In 2015, the duo founded Standard Spoon LLC, also known as Standard Spoon Barware, with the two owners as its sole employees. According to Eva, the company, which currently offers seven products, including the popular Aero Cocktail Spoon, Napier Jigger and Hammered Mixing Glass, has been steadily growing its revenue since launching. The company designs, packages and ships from its East Village headquarters, said Eva, and manufactures both locally and in China.
“We love food and cocktail and the hospitality industry, and then the cocktail renaissance was happening,” said Eva. “(Bartending) was not just something you did in college anymore. Bartenders were devoted to the craft of cocktail-making the same way chefs do in the culinary world.”
Inspired by this industry shift, Eva and her husband launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2016 to get things moving. $17,414 later, the two began to sell their bar tools to hundreds of customers around the world. That Kickstarter campaign was followed by two more, which not only provided scaling and upfront revenue from presales, but also market testing to more effectively grow the company, said Eva. She added that she and her husband also work extensively with bartenders, mostly locals, to better understand the problems they face and get their input on how to find solutions.
“We do extensive market research that is basically going and talking to all these bartenders… and getting lots of input,” she said. “We then prototype tools and take them back to those same bartenders. ‘This is one of the solutions. Does this solve those problems?’ We are interacting and getting feedback and making modifications.”
Because of this focused effort on Eva and Michael’s part to do research that will effectually inform them and help them really understand the company’s customer base and their needs, it has taken them quite some time to release each Standard Spoon tool. But they have preferred to take things slow, said Eva, so not to sacrifice the quality and standard of its products.
One of Standard Spoon’s best-sellers is its Aero Spoon, which Eva said is the “first straight handle spoon” on the market. What makes this spoon special is its straight handle and slim profile, which makes it easy to insert around the ice in a mixing glass, and its aerodynamic body for near-friction-less stirring, according to its description on the company’s website. It comes in an array of finishes, from stainless to copper, and costs $35.