Najma and Yusuf Jamaludeen are siblings that collaborated to create an innovative laundry product, BasketMate. The duo pitched their product recently on Steve Harvey’s Funderdome. Brandon Andrews of Values Partnerships sat down with Najma and Yusuf after the show for an interview with the brother-and-sister team.
(Najma and Yusuf Jamaludeen with Steve Harvey on Funderdome. Image: The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Lisa Rose))
Brandon Andrews: The BasketMate makes perfect sense. How did you develop the idea?
Yusuf: It was developed by my big sis to help with the laundry responsibilities of her three little girls. Given my hatred for doing laundry, reducing my trips to the laundry room by doubling the capacity and making my existing laundry basket easier to carry made me an instant believer.
Najma: I love the way you say it makes perfect sense Brandon because that is exactly what I thought when I thought of the idea. I needed something that made more sense than trying to struggle with the idea of carrying my laundry for a family of four at the time with two hands while trying to keep everything inside. I mean I could have used a bag I guess but I was going back and forth from the laundromat up and down stairs with three small kids and I didn’t want my clothes stuffed in a bag.
When did you decide that your product was strong enough to start a business?
Yusuf: Well that depends on who you ask! My sister and I have differences of opinions on how we decided to get into business together. The way I remember it was her using it during an overnight visit to my house. I immediately thought “What a great idea, I know I can sell this!.” It looked a lot different than what we have been selling now. I asked her to do a prototype with a few modifications and we were officially in business!
Najma: When Yusuf saw it and thought it was perfect for him. I mean he was a single man living alone with laundry for only one person. We were on different ends of the demographic spectrum if that is the correct term. We did a couple of focus groups and everybody said it was a great idea.
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