This article can also be found at Seattle Dining!
Tovolo has a way of getting anyone excited about shopping for kitchen tools. The Seattle-based company offers a wide array of colorful and innovative products that are guaranteed to catch everyone’s eyes, taking conventional kitchen gadgets and turning them into something even better.
“Knives don’t work that well for spreading,” Founder and CEO Matt Frank explains. He holds up an example of the “Scoop and Spread,” which, like its name indicates, can scoop, spread and even slice. That’s just one example of the inventive products Tovolo offers.
If you’ve ever seen a sphere ice mold then you’re already familiar with the brand – it’s their number-one selling product and is already a big trend in New York bars and restaurants.
It’s the little nuances that really set Tovolo apart from other kitchenware companies. “I like the idea that customers can discover little things about the product as they use it,” says Matt, highlighting the subtle performance value that seems to be a Tovolo trademark. He adds that the more clients use the products, the more they’ll love them. To demonstrate this notion, he holds up the second-generation spatula, which has a rigid nylon core and a flexible silicone outer layer. Silicone is heat-resistant and unlike other materials it holds color well, Matt explains. He says people tend to subconsciously compensate for lack of design in kitchen tools, and as a result Tovolo designed the second-generation spatula to have different profiles: one side can spread and the other is more conducive to flipping.
Tovolo’s “Glide-a-Scoop” ice cream tub is another example of a unique product unlike any other on the market. Most kindred companies mimic the shape of the traditional ice cream tubs found in grocery stores, which are far from being freezer-friendly, but the shape of Tovolo’s ice cream tub was designed specifically to save space.
And if that’s not enough, the company also sells dinosaur ice pop-makers that are cute enough to excite anyone.
When Tovolo was starting out, the only comparable companies were European ones producing very expensive, high-end products. “We’re not trying to be the least expensive guy,” Matt admits, but what Tovolo does differently is create products of a similar quality at more affordable prices for the average cooking enthusiast.
Tovolo got its start as a side business in San Francisco in 1999. Matt eventually bought the company in 2004, after he and his family moved to Seattle to settle down. He asserts that there was no specific inspiration for the company other than a pure desire for creativity and an interest in cooking, but Matt’s eyes certainly light up when you get him talking about kitchenware – it’s evident that he has since picked up a passion for this stuff. Tovolo’s products bring an “element of fun” to cooking, Matt explains. “We’re part of people’s lives. I’m humbled by it.”
Photo of Matt Frank, founder and CEO