I have a not-so-secret love for products with only one, very specific use. It takes a fantastic amount of chutzpah to get someone to spend money on something like a piece of plastic to fold shirts just a little bit more neatly. The gold standard of tunnel vision innovation is, without question, Williams-Sonoma. They have a knack for not only finding niche markets, but inventing niche markets just to sell products to them. I’ve put together some of my favorite items from a recent scroll through their website.
The Chef’n Herbsicle is an “ingenious little device” that compresses herbs into a tube so you can put them into the freezer and store them for later. All you need to then do is apparently saw through the frozen hunk to conveniently use the herbs any time! Or you could just use sandwich bags. Or blend them and pop them into ice cube trays. Or even freeze them in olive oil. But, you know, it sounds a lot cooler to say “herbsicle.”
The Chef’n Herbsicle is $9.95. They recommend you buy several of them for each variety of herb you want to freeze.
Also from the apostrophe-loving folks at Chef’n, we have the Mini Pie Lifter. This specialty product does exactly what it sounds like it would. It is specifically made to lift mini pies from a mini pie pan so you don’t accidentally ruin the perfectly round structure before you can post it to Instagram. For the times when you don’t trust your own hands, there’s the Chef’n Mini Pie Lifter!
The Chef’n Mini Pie Lifter is regularly $12.95, but is currently on sale for $6.99. Don’t even think about shopping around for a better price – this item is available exclusively at Williams-Sonoma.
Looking to build yourself the kitchen of the future? You’re definitely going to need the Philips Viva Digital Air Fryer. There’s honestly no way I could describe this little gadget better than they can:
We predict this revolutionary machine will forever change your ideas about frying. The first of its kind, the Air Fryer uses patented technology to fry your favorite foods to crispy, golden brown perfection, using little or no oil. It works by precisely circulating hot air, yielding results that are virtually indistinguishable from traditional deep-fried foods. From French fries and fried chicken to homemade doughnuts, this remarkable innovation lets you enjoy all your best-loved fried foods—without the guilt.
Aside from the fact that you have to be careful not to accidentally push the button and release the contents of the basket all over your floor, I’m guessing that you’re likely met with a puff of very hot air whenever you have to open the contraption to stir (which is apparently often). But what’s a little steam burn on your knuckles when you can enjoy fried chicken guilt free? Call me crazy, but I think I’d rather just have an actual piece of fried chicken once in a while and skip the guilt.
The Philips Viva Digital Air Fryer can be purchased for the bargain price of $299.95, plus the last shred of your self-dignity.
The Nordic Ware Easter Bunny Cake Pan is one of those things that seems like a good idea but is actually a surefire way to traumatize your children. Imagine the delight on their little faces as you bring out a “playful cake in the shape of the season’s signature rabbit.” Now, imagine their horror as you pull out a knife, stab the bunny, and serve it up to them on plates. Mmmmmmm, tastes like buttercream frosting mixed with tears.
The Nordic Ware Easter Bunny Cake Pan is $39.95. Counseling costs may vary.
12 replies on “How to feed a niche”
mini pie lifter ≠ spatula?
Not quite. It’s u-shaped, so it’s basically a hand-operated-mini-pie-specific forklift. But if you’re in the market for a specialty spatula, they have a fish spatula they’ll sell you for only $39.95: http://bit.ly/1gxEfOy
Ah, it is U-shaped. That fish spatula could come in handy for the one or two times a year I make fish, and for a cool $40, why not?!
If I die in a good diner or a WIlliams Sonoma, I will die happy.
They sell a waffled pancake pan. Literally, a pan that makes “pancakes textured like waffles.” It’s like they’re inside my head, making my dreams come true: http://bit.ly/1gynH92
Pretty sure that mini pie lifter idea was swiped from my early ’90s Easy Bake Oven.