1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your background.
As seen on ABC's hit show Shark Tank and founded in 2014 by Dominican inventor and entrepreneur, BenjiLock is redefining the personal fingerprint security experience through hybrid technology with the consumer in mind.
2What made you become/why did you choose to become a product designer?
I wanted to create a solution to an everyday problem. The opportunity to deliver an extraordinary experience that unlocks any generation helps the innovation to be on top of the consumer's mind. BenjiLock is not only making noise but also breaking through.
3Tell us more about your business/company, job profile, and what you do.
BenjiLock's purpose is to redefine the personal fingerprint security experience using hybrid technology with the consumer in mind. I'm that entrepreneur that wears many hats. I love being involved in every aspect of the business, especially the innovation and design side.
4What does “design” mean to you?
It's the perfect route to be yourself. Express in your mind what you want to showcase to the world.
5What’s your favourite kind of design and why?
Minimal design. The ease of use for the consumer and how evolution goes through it.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
The aesthetics go a long way, but at the end of the day, it has to be long-lasting, easy to use, and understand. Again, it all depends on the product and use case.
7Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
I like to be inspired by everyday life and how consumers go about their lifestyles. What ticks, what needs to be fixed, what can be better? That's how I get inspired; of course, I couldn't neglect a nice cup of coffee!
8Tell us about your design process.
I like to do my research based on what's next. I enjoy reading about the evolution of design and art and how it applies to a product in the world of today and for the future.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?
Absolutely! I believe that being born and raised in the Dominican Republic helped me be humble and faithful to my roots in creating innovation.
10Congratulations! As the winner of the 2022 NY Product Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
I’m incredibly proud of my heritage and am grateful for the fantastic opportunities immigrants like me receive when coming to America. Receiving these awards couldn’t have been timed more perfectly. It’s Hispanic Heritage Month, and this is a fitting way to celebrate the occasion and reflect on the journey I’ve been on so far.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2022 NY Product Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
When I started BenjiLock, my mission was to find a solution to a problem. And that's precisely why we entered the awards with the Fingerprint Bike Lock and the Fingerprint Padlock. The traditional lock hasn't changed in over 100 years, and since the introduction of the key, the BenjiLock invention has become an innovation in its category.
12What was the biggest challenge with this project?
The biggest challenge for this project is the current impact of this pandemic. Now that the world has opened up, we're dealing with tariffs, chip shortage, and supply chain; it's hurting every part of innovation. As innovators, designers, and others, we must keep an optimistic mindset to keep evolving.
13How has winning an award developed your practice/career?
It helps to showcase that your products, inventions, or designs are meaningful to the world. It has a purpose, and it's exciting to see that recognition.
14What are your top three (3) favourite things about our industry?
The excitement and fascination of what's next!
15What makes your country specifically, unique in the design industry?
Regardless of your country, it's more the personal touch and unique taste the designer approaches the project. Is there a story behind it? For example, it relates to someone anywhere in the world and is a solution to a problem.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
It's going to be interesting! Fresh minds come with new use cases for how consumers and people see and use things. It's going to become faster and more agile. I believe in always studying the evolution of art and how it has transformed throughout the years. It helps.
17If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring NY Product Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
Be yourself, and go for it. Don't try too hard. People do notice when you are.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
The vast majority of design books and the power of the internet. Learn and research the archives; you can always learn a thing or two.
19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
Share your creative journey, regardless of the outcome. It's the unknown that's exciting!
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
I would say, my family. They raised me to be humble and never expect anything back.
21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
Things pan out if you're unique, passionate about what you do, and relate to the people. My tip is to share your journey and keep it positive; those little things will take you a long way.
22Do you have anything else you would like to add to the interview?
Thank you for giving me the opportunity! We're honored and delighted to share our journey and are humbled by the New York Product Design Awards recognition!