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Dean Heckler Headshot ShopKeep Merchants

Dean Heckler, founder of Heckler Design,  is back for part II of our interview with him. If you have not read the first part, you can check it out here.

Read on for some more insights on being a designer, small business challenges and what the next big thing might be.

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Greatest challenge running your own business?

The greatest challenge to running a product design business is finding the time to design products. Heckler Design does not simply design products, we oversee their domestic manufacturing, provide excellent customer service, assembly, and order fulfillment. I have a great team that does an amazing job operating the day-to-day, but there are always details that require my involvement. Good product design demands good design over every aspect of the customer experience. This creates a continuous stream of interesting challenges.

How is the design of software and physical products similar?

The the design of software and objects are both about people. People’s reaction to and experience with both objects and software tend to bring about strong emotions – love, hate, and indifference. If you don’t care enough to design things people can love, they’ll hate the things you create. You’ve got to care more than the next designer to create things people can love. That’s true of both software and and industrial design.

How did you approach the design a the “WindFall” iPad stand?

I designed WindFall to be the secure, point-of-sale iPad stand that I would install if Heckler Design had its own retail stores. I researched the existing selection of secure iPad enclosures and was, honestly, insulted by what I found. Almost all of them are hideous and shockingly priced. Shop owners work hard to make their retail environments beautiful, and to do so within tight budgets. These folks select Shopkeep and the iPad for their POS solution not only because it is a smart choice, but also because they are beautiful and affordable. The secure, point-of-sale iPad stand they select should also be smart, beautiful, and affordable. With WindFall, I wanted to make that choice available to shop owners.

If you could give an aspiring designer one good piece of advice what would it be?

The advice I give to aspiring product designers is to start small. The development of even the simplest product is overwhelming. Make one thing, make it awesome, sell it, then use the money to make two things. Repeat. You don’t need two million dollars from Kickstarter or Apple Store distribution to be successful at product design – you need happy customers.

How do you feel about design serving the goal of creating the simplest way for people to attain the smartest outcome?

I love smart simplicity in design. When designing a new product, I’ll often reach a point where I believe I’ve achieved the most simple design possible. Whenever this occurs, I don’t move on to production, rather I shelve the design for a couple weeks. Without fail, I come up with something better and simpler. I’ve learned that to achieve smart simplicity requires enormous concentration, patience, and iteration. So, when I discover smart simplicity in other objects and software, I appreciate it greatly, because I know someone obsessed over the details.

When did you decide to start your company and why?

I started Heckler Design in 2007 to help sell a OneLessDesk to anyone who wanted one. Today, my reasoning has changed. The production and shipping of our products employs dozens of talented people in my hometown. I love that, every day, Heckler Design is successful doing what many people assume is no longer possible – we design and manufacture excellent consumer products domestically, and export them all around the world.

What’s next?

I have a backlog of ideas and designs that I’d like to produce. It’s always a challenge to pick what’s next for production. That stated, I’m excited for the rapid innovation now underway in the point-of-sale industry. ShopKeep and others are disrupting an industry that needed disrupting. I’m ecstatic that my hardware designs are playing a helpful role in our generation’s POS systems. The next few products from Heckler Design will be for the point-of-sale market.

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Watch the Windfall go from setup to taking orders here and check out more of Dean Heckler’s designs. You can get the Windfall or the @Rest, another Heckler iPad stand, from us along with all of your other iPad point of sale needs.

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  • Joanne W.

    The windfall is a nice design and very sturdy!