“Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.”

- James Thurber.


How do you bring a beautiful concept to life?  We caught up with fellow Melbournians Rex Kuo and Charles Ng, a Pharmacist, and a Product Designer, who are the co-founders at Orbitkey. The Melbourne duo shed some light into the world of design, product creation, starting a company in the digital age and taking an idea from Kickstarter to the world.

Tell us about your design process? How do you come up with new ideas and refine them?

Charles: We are constantly looking for better ways to do things. We usually draw inspiration by observing how others operate and interact with their surroundings. The design process usually involves a few cycles of prototyping, user testing and refinement until we end up with something that works really well.


Charles: I carry my notebook everywhere I go because I hand sketch a lot of my ideas in it. I find that it works best when I’m trying to visualise my ideas. It’s the most natural thing for me. Digital tools have their place though - I tend to jump back and forth between hand sketching and digital tools during the development and refinement stage.




Is it fair to say that you wouldn’t be standing here without crowd funding?
Do you think there is a formula to a killer campaign?

Rex: If there wasn’t crowdfunding, we would have still probably found another way of launching our ideas, but we really think it’s helped us get to where we are right now in a much shorter time. For us, a Killer Campaign = Unique Product + Great Video + Great Photography + Engaging and Transparent Communication. Of course, we could list another million things to consider but we believe they are the main components of our formula. Lastly, sharing the idea with others and involving as many people as possible really early in the process also helped us immensely.



 Image: Orbitkey Founders Charles Ng and Rex Kuo.


How different are your thoughts now about the pathway to market than
what they were before you went ahead with the idea?

Rex: Before we launched our campaign, we honestly didn’t plan how we were going to grow the brand or how to bring it to market. It was meant to be one of our side projects while we continued our 9-5 jobs. A lot of the opportunities came naturally as we went, and we just decided to grab onto some of them. Luckily, it’s worked really well for us so far.



Rex, you were a pharmacist by trade, what skills do you think have transferred across the best from your previous life?

Rex: Besides from supplying the team with drugs to keep the creative juices flowing, working in a community pharmacy where you’re often the central point of the business, provided an excellent opportunity to sharpen my management and delegation skills. Through pharmacy I was also able to gain a lot of experience in the day to day running of a business.


Charles, you have a keen eye for minimal design, where do you draw your passion from?

Charles: “Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.” - James Thurber. The concept of true beauty has always intrigued me; the people and things around you that don’t scream for attention but there’s something so special and unique about them that they just stick in your mind. I’ve always been drawn to designs and things that are simpler in appearance - the fine balance between function and form.



How does technology enable you to stay on top of the business?

Charles: All of our communication can be done through the internet and it’s definitely allowed us to be based in Melbourne (or overseas at times), work with our manufacturing partners in China and have 4 fulfillment warehouses in 4 different countries across the globe. So it’s pretty enabling, we’d say!