Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

Meet Vàs Planter, the brainchild of a trio of Virginia Tech students.

When most college students are assigned a project, they pull an all-nighter and then hand the project over.

But what happens when they don’t stop there? 

A group of Virginia Tech Industrial Design students, driven by entrepreneurial spirit and an interest in a misunderstood material – industrial felt – saw the potential of their work. And the Vàs Planter was born. 

In one of their industrial design courses at Virginia Tech, Mitch Harris, Morgan Matt, and Brian Pughe formed a group tasked with creating an innovative and modular product. As the group began brainstorming, they found inspiration in the Blue Ridge Mountains near campus.  The crew witnessed the joy of being surrounded by nature, buying fresh produce, and shopping locally at a local farmers market. That’s when their idea began taking shape: How to make a product driven by their own love of nature that could grow alongside the burgeoning “farm-to-table” movement.

The team began sketching up tentative designs and developing prototypes. After a few weeks and some setbacks, Mitch, Brian, and Morgan had developed a modular felt planter – made with materials from a New York-based fabric store and a local manufacturer, Cardinal Rubber – designed to be hung on the wall of any indoor space. Doubling as a wall decoration and taking advantage of the concept of modularity, the Vàs Planter is built for wide appeal.

And appeal it has; check out the success of its Kickstarter Campaign that started less than a month ago.  Vàs Planter, which wasn’t even a concept at the beginning of this year, has now shattered the funding goals, raising over $13,000 of the $12,000 goal with a week still to go.  While the group continues to take things one step at a time during this process, they report interest from a number of domestic and international retailers who’d like to carry the product. 

A group of three college students, who probably started out with little more than getting an A in mind, have now successfully designed, developed, launched, and funded their idea. American ingenuity at work. Check out Vàs Planter here