Chris Herbert ’13 comes to the aid of America’s peanut butter fans

Baltimore entrepreneur used Kickstarter campaign to launch PB spoon

By Jan Lucas on July 7, 2019

Chris Herbert
Chris Herbert '13

Through trial, error and grit, Chris Herbert got to the bottom of a problem we’ve all faced: how to extract that last dab of peanut butter from the jar. 

An admitted “borderline peanut butter addict,” Herbert says he consumes the yummy stuff at least three times a day. In 2017, while camping in North Carolina, he found himself wondering if there was a better way to get it out of the jar and into his mouth.

“Spoons were too short, knives were too stiff, and spatulas scraped but didn’t scoop,” he recalls.

Fortunately, Herbert had the skills, knowledge and experience needed to tackle the problem head on.

A self-taught furniture designer and woodworker, he describes himself as combining “an engineering mind with a finance degree.” While pursuing his B.S. degree in business administration/finance, he launched Herb’s Furniture Co. to design and build innovative furniture that could be disassembled, flat-packed and delivered to customers.

But on that camping trip two years ago, Herbert began experimenting with peanut butter-specific spoons. “Like all woodworkers, I like to carve,” he explains. “I made myself a long-handled wooden spoon, but it was too rigid to scrape the jar’s sides and bottom.”  

Herbert returned to Baltimore and began tinkering in earnest. He turned to 3-D printing to develop a hybrid utensil that could scoop, scrape and spread. Once he’d settled on a design, he did injection-mold tests with silicone to produce the PB Spoon prototype. “There was no outside funding at that point,” he says. “I either did it myself or paid friends to help with the design or shoot professional video.”

Herbert’s final prototype, the PB Spoon, was ingeniously simple. No moving parts, no electronics, no flashy colors—just a flexible BPA-free, dishwasher-safe silicone tip attached to a 9-inch beechwood handle. Though designed for peanut butter, it performed well with many other spreadable foods. Herbert was convinced there was a market for it.

Peanut butter cupcakes with PB Spoon
A product image from the successful Kickstarter campaign

In December 2017 he launched a Kickstarter campaign that raised $17,000 in 30 days, enabling him to solicit bids from manufacturers. Although Herbert says he had hoped to mass produce the PB Spoon stateside, “the bids from the U.S. manufacturers were three times higher than the ones from China.” Hence the packaging explaining that while the PB Spoon is made in China, it was designed in Baltimore.  

Herbert also partnered with two popular online retailers—UncommonGoods and The Grommet—to promote and sell his invention. To date, he’s sold over 6,000 PB Spoons at $12 each, with overwhelmingly favorable product reviews.

PB Spoon was featured on the Real Simple and Mental Floss websites, garnering over a million media impressions. 

“I’m hoping to reach a much larger audience with our next video,” Herbert says. The product’s success has enabled him to shutter his furniture business and concentrate on growing the PB Spoon market. “Amazon is the next step,” he notes, “and I’d love to be in Target.” 

In the meantime, the raves keep coming. Nina from Tulsa, Oklahoma, reported: “My boyfriend is always scraping the peanut butter jar with his fingers, spoons, knives, whatever he can find. Now he can get every morsel. [The PB Spoon] is perfect for him.”  

Just what Chris Herbert wants to hear. 


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