Start-up spotlight

HOX - home office in one box

The whole home office in one box, the HOX? Two founders had this idea and are currently in the crowdfunding phase with their prototype. We present this interesting project and spoke with Stefanie Kormis, CEO and co-founder of HOX Manufaktur GmbH.

Aug 18 2021

For anyone who has been sitting in a home office more and more since March last year, your idea is captivating.  When was your "something like HOX should exist now" moment? 

Definitely in the first lockdown at the beginning of 2020. Suddenly we were only at home and work had moved in right away. We worked from the kitchen table, sofa or sometimes in the children's room. There was constant chaos, we had to move things around for meals and a relaxed end to the day was no longer conceivable next to the laptop and between cables. 

On top of that, our backs were bothering us because we didn't have the perfect office chair, and working standing up was only possible with adventurous constructions. But it wasn't until autumn 2020 that we really started thinking about founding a company and putting our idea into practice. It quickly became clear that the home office box needed storage space for laptop, headset & co. and an easy-to-use standing desk.  

How long did it take from the idea to the first prototype?

It took about four months. We started with a survey and interviews to understand whether other people also have our problem and where their biggest pain points are. Then we discussed the lifting mechanism and design with a product designer and had the first prototype built. Of course, it wasn't that beautiful yet, but it showed us perfectly the weak points that we had to work on further. 

The Home Office Box in action © Hox

How did you finance it? 

We are a so-called bootstrapped start-up, which means that so far we have financed everything with our own savings and without outside help. Since our financial resources are limited, we decided on a crowdfunding campaign to sell the first HOX through it and then have the first series produced. Thankfully, we received funding from the Hamburger Kreativ-Gesellschaft for the creation of the pitch video.  

Neither of you have a direct design background. How did you design the HOX? 

Yes, that's right, we've always been interested in art, design and architecture, but unfortunately we can't use a 3D drawing programme. So it was clear from the beginning that we would need the help of a product designer. We had many really good conversations and did not make the decision easily. In the end, we were lucky with our choice, because this is how an ugly box became an elegant and practical home office box. The first designs were made by Niels Römer and now we are working together with Steffi Seitz. 

Wood, hinges, technology. There's a lot in the HOX. Which partners do you have for the production? 

Our partners are all from Germany and are small owner-managed companies. They not only believe in our product, but also have a desire to work with a young startup and support us with their expertise in the implementation. 

Our carpenter in Melle, for example, advises us on the choice of wood. Currently, we use multiplex birch, but are considering a switch to multiplex poplar due to the lightness of the material.

Our steel fabricator from near Stuttgart has helped us optimize the mechanical lifting mechanism.This can be most easily compared to the functionality of an ironing board.  We created several prototypes made of steel and aluminum in different material thicknesses in order to be able to make the perfect choice in the end in terms of weight and stability. For the connecting rods we use beautifully shaped fixing bolts.  

HOX in closed state © Hox

What was particularly important to you when choosing your partners? 

Trust, reliability and high quality awareness are important to us. A first test for this was the creation of the second prototype. The cooperation simply worked well and we are sure that we will be able to build up a good supply chain between our partners.  

At the moment you are still in the crowdfunding phase, what is planned afterwards? 

The production of the first series and the development of our online shop.  

Which distribution channels do you want to use for HOX? 

Besides our online shop, which is mainly focused on B2C, we would like to offer HOX via office and home office platforms. We also aim to build B2B partnerships with companies that want to integrate HOX into their office concepts.

Stefanie Kormis and Pia Zitzmann founded HOX Manufaktur GmbH in March this year © Hox

Not only has working at home changed, but office design will certainly adapt to changing wishes and conditions in the coming months and years. Do you also see your product beyond the H for Home? 

Yes, definitely. HOX is a great piece of furniture for shared desk concepts. The screen stays on the desk and all personal belongings are stored in HOX. Likewise, HOX can be used for co-working spaces. Furthermore, HOX is ingenious for hotels and providers of seminar rooms, because with HOX they could offer the presenter a mobile standing desk and also do away with the rather ugly presentation case. For mobile and hybrid working, HOX offers many application possibilities independent of the home office that originally gave it its name. 

What are your goals for the next few months? 

In addition to the aforementioned development of the distribution channels and the expansion of the partner network, we have further product ideas that we would like to realise. We would also like to exhibit HOX at the imm cologne and are still looking for partners and sponsors.

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