Home Culture ZOKU: A National Lifestyle Brand Right in Monroe Center

ZOKU: A National Lifestyle Brand Right in Monroe Center

by Samantha Impaglia
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ZOKU is a Hoboken-based business co-owned by Chris Green, Yos Kumthampinij, and Ken Zorovich. The company focuses on home products designed to make life easier. From drinkware, food storage, and ice pop molds to recipe books, kids products, and an eco-friendly collection, ZOKU has so many products to choose from. The Hoboken Girl was able to talk with Ken, a Syracuse grad originally from Allentown, and hear all the need-to-know details about the company. Keep reading to learn more about Ken Zorovich and the rest of the ZOKU team.

zoku home drink ware

(Photo credit: Zoku)

HG: Where are you originally from and what brought you to Hoboken?

KZ: I grew up in Allentown, NJ which is a one square mile town of 1800 people. After I graduated from Syracuse University, I wanted to live in NYC, and after I discovered Hoboken I thought it was the perfect combination of small-town and city life and I decided to live here.

HG: What about Hoboken made you want to invest in the area by opening your business there?

KZ: I lived in Hoboken and was freelancing from my bedroom and making prototypes in my bathtub. We found a great space at the Monroe Center and decided that working a few blocks from home would save a lot of commuting time and would allow us to focus on the business. Our first business was a product design consultancy and then we decided to “become a client” and create our own product line and ZOKU was born.

ken zorovich zoku home

(Photo credit: Zoku)

HG: What is your favorite aspect about living and working in Hoboken?

KZ: I love living close to all of the restaurants and amenities that Hoboken has to offer. Once I became a father I really appreciated all of the amazing parks that Hoboken has. We love the Gravity Vault climbing gym and I also have a passion for racing sailboats, and being close to NY harbor is great for that.

HG: What inspired you to get into this business/industry? What was your journey to this point?

KZ: I grew up building boats with my father and I excelled in art and science in school. I discovered Industrial Design during my freshman year of college and chose that as my major. I couldn’t believe that you could design and make things as a profession.

Read More: A List of Black-Owned Businesses to Support in Hoboken + Jersey City

HG: Tell us about your business.

KZ: ZOKU’s mission is to create highly functional and beautifully designed products.

zoku home pocket straw

(Photo credit: Zoku)

HG: What is the story behind the business name?

KZ: ZOKU is a portmanteau of my last name and Yos’ last name. We loved the way that it sounded and that it was unique and memorable.

HG: You don’t just sell products, but your team is creating and testing them in-house. What is that process like and how do you decide what products you want to work with next?

KZ: We start our design process by discussing ideas, then sketching, then making mockups either by hand or using 3D design software and our 3D printer. We do a lot of testing with prototypes to determine if our ideas warrant going to the next stage of development. The process of selecting products to bring to market is determined by how differentiated our new product is, how well it works, consumer demand, and sometimes requests by an important retailer.

HG: Tell us about creating the Quick Pop Maker.

KZ: This was our first product and it launched ZOKU. We noticed nothing had changed with the popsicle making process since they were invented, and we challenged ourselves to bring innovation to the category. We asked ourselves, “Can we make popsicles faster?” When we got back to the studio we created prototypes from aluminum cigar tubes and within two days we realized we could do it. We created more refined prototypes and the product was magical to use and it took on a life of its own. The more we tested it the more we realized how magical it was to watch something freeze right before your eyes. When we launched the product it was an enormous success and we couldn’t keep up with demand. We’re excited to be launching a new generation of the Quick Pop Maker 2.0 this year.

zoku home quick pop maker

(Photo credit: Zoku)

HG: What are ZOKU’s most popular products?

KZ: Our most popular products have been our frozen treat makers and more recently our reusable line of Pocket Straws, Pocket Utensils, and water bottles. Our customers like the idea of having beautiful products that help them reduce their use of single-use plastic. For every bottle we sell, we plant a tree to help reduce global warming.

See More: Lucky’s Charm: Handmade Self-Care Products by Hoboken BNRs

HG: What would you say makes your business special?

KZ: ZOKU was founded by designers and we value that the company is design-centric. While not everyone at the company is a trained designer, we value creative problem-solving within all of the disciplines of the company.

zoku home stainless steel bottles

(Photo credit: Zoku)

HG: Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration?

KZ: We find inspiration from all over, but now I’m inspired by our team. We have an awesome group of talented people who make up ZOKU. I’m also inspired by musicians and artists. I always strive to learn about the creative process through people who inspire me with their work.

HG: What are your goals for this year?

KZ: Our goals are to continue to design great products, and to build upon the successes that we’ve seen with our reusable products so we can have a positive impact on the environment.

zoku home pocket utensil

(Photo credit: Zoku)

HG: What does a typical day look like for you?

KZ: One of the great things about my days is that they are always different. Owning a business offers a lot of variety and interesting challenges.

HG: What has been the highlight in your career/life so far?

KZ: Starting ZOKU has been the highlight of my career for sure!

To learn more about ZOKU and shop for products, visit the website. To stay in the know with the brand, follow it on Instagram, or send an email to info@zokuhome.com with any questions.


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