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Exploring Life & Business with Duncan Burns of VeggiDome, SPC

Hi Duncan, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
One weekend I was taking care of the kids, my wife was out of town. So Dad went grocery shopping and I bought seven or eight types of crunchy vegetables that I kids could enjoy as snacks. I cleaned a whole bunch of them and put them on a plate on the table, accidentally putting a whole pile out in my vigor. That Friday afternoon I wondered how I could devise a way to keep those veggies fresh and displayed, out on the table for the whole weekend. This is something that I actually had some experience within my youth. My brother and I built a small walk-in greenhouse in our backyard. It was made from doors and windows of a local greenhouse that was being torn down. The inside felt tropical, especially when we sprayed water around inside on a summer days. In this shed, our tropical orchids and ferns (aerial plants) lived “in the air” on branches of trees we strapped them to. It was during these early years that I learned plants can drink water and nutrients through their leaves.

Fast forward to 30 years later, with young kids of my own, I wondered how to make a greenhouse on the kitchen table. That began the invention of the VeggiDome. It turned out to be not quite so simple as water in a glass bowl. How can you serve yourself? How much water do you need? What about different vegetables? Remarkably, I found there could be a point of balance. Vegetables could be prepped and put in. People gobbled up all the fresh produce. Everyone felt healthy and mostly satisfied. The Balance comes from NOT adding water but letting the moisture from the veggies fill the Dome. Aside from droplets from washing, more water causes spoilage. The Balance also comes from the Lid: 1. Ethylene gas from the produce that is ripening causes spoilage. Our Lid allows Ethylene gas to escape, keeping the veggies fresher. 2. The Lid allows for easy serving. Grab and go veggies. You eat the vegetables. Daily. That’s the balance. That makes it work.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as relatively smooth road?
There have been rocky roads for the VeggiDome company. After a successful IndieGoGo campaign to make the molds for the glass and then 2000 units, we thought that would deliver to our backers in 90 days as we have been promised. But since we were such a small company, we got pushed around behind the other Christmas orders, our factory partially burned down, then there were New Year’s holidays that lasted very long in China. I had to keep writing to our backers telling them our status, and I was very heartened to know that their patience was so lasting. It took 11 months bring the first VeggiDome‘s to the United States and we were able to fulfill all of our supporter’s orders. That gap was tough for a young company to handle!

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about VeggiDome, SPC?
During the time that we were waiting 11 months for our first order of 2000 VeggiDomes to arrive, this actually gave us time to think about what type of company we are going to be. Just at that time it there was a special category of corporation begun in California called a “Social Purpose Corporation” or SPC. So, at that difficult time we changed from a regular LLC to SPC which means that even though we are still a for-profit corporation, part of our bylaws state that As we begin to profit, we are compelled to give back a percentage of our gains to the community. It is my design to give back to the community in the form of education in nutrition and support of nutritional studies.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
This entrepreneurship is a difficult path. It may seem simple, make something and sell it, but there’s always a new curve in the road or kink in the plan. My lesson has been to remain open-minded yet very focused on the fact that my product does work and benefits others in helping to solve our food problems.

Pricing:

  • Our website price for the VeggiDome is $69.99 including shipping.

Contact Info:


Image Credits

Photos by VeggiDome

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