Product Design

Help Us Design the Second Product in Our Line!

May 23, 2018

Since we started our Shop, we’ve learned a lot of unexpected things about what people like to buy. For instance: dryer balls. Back in the old days, people doing their laundry would throw a clean tennis ball into the dryer along with their clothes. As it bounced around the warm, spinning machine, the ball would keep clothes from clumping and wrinkling. Just as a whisk aerates cream, a ball aerates clothing, keeping it nice and fluffy.

Fast forward to today, and the smart, aesthetically-minded people of the world have created a new kind of dryer ball—one that’s made of felted wool and comes in pleasing shades of blue, brown and grey. People love our dryer balls so much, we regularly rack up waiting lists 300-strong, and each batch sells out as soon as we release them.

You know what else people like? Kitchen mats!

When we first started carrying kitchen mats, we thought they’d be a solid seller. But no: they instantly skyrocketed into the stratosphere of top sellers, and have stayed on our top 10 bestselling products list ever since.

Shop the Story

There’s a reason for this: People need kitchen mats, but most of them are unattractive at best. We launched ones that brought to mind Mediterranean kitchen tiles—they had charm, and were plenty sturdy too.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“I make kitchen mats and rugs. You should consider cushion / gel mats. Very popular now. Non skid backing a must. too many rugs slide on the tile floors. Good Luck”

Demand was so great, says Jojo Feld, our Director of Buying and Product Development, that last year, when we had new patterns to release, we decided to launch them as a sneak peek on Instagram, hoping to pique people’s interest. But, says Jojo, “We couldn’t go forward with the regular launch because they sold out during the Insta sneak peak.”

Yes, kitchen mats are universally practical. They protect your floors from spills, cushion your feet while you do dishes, and give you a chance to add some pattern to your kitchen. “We also liked how in apartment-world, they help cover up ugly kitchen floors,” says Jojo. “If you’re a renter, it’s a nice, easy fix to turn your kitchen floor into something stimulating and beautiful.”

Since you love kitchen mats so much, we figured we could design our dream one together.

Naturally, a kitchen mat was at the top of our list for own line. Since you love kitchen mats so much, we figured we could design our dream one together.

For inspiration, we went to Paris. Well, not really—we’re not that highfalutin. Jojo and Kristina Wasserman, our Buyer and Merchandising Manager, were there for a housewares show last year. Everywhere they went, it seemed, they spotted some variation on the classic Parisian limestone and black check floor. (If you'd like a deep-dive on the history of checkerboard tile floors, we found this great post.)

A few snapshots from Jojo and Kristina's trip to Paris

They saw it in the lobby of their Airbnb building in the Marais. They saw it at the Ritz. And when they saw it again, wandering around the magnificent Picasso Museum, the deal was sealed: A Paris-inspired floor mat would be the next product in our line.

But even a classic French design has variations: the scale of the pattern, the emphasis of the color, border or no border, etc. We want your input on which design you’d like, as well as which dimensions are most useful to you. Traditionally, floor mats come in a small size for in front of your sink, say, and a long, narrow runner for either a galley kitchen or a hallway. Which do you prefer? We'd love to know your take.

We want your input on which design you’d like, as well as which dimensions are most useful to you.

Please weigh in here by 5pm EDT on Wednesday, May 30. Keep an eye on our Instagram stories, and follow along with #f52byyou. We'll be sending finished mats to 3 people who take our quiz. Looking forward to your thoughts, and we'll share the results in the coming weeks!

Amanda Hesser & Merrill Stubbs, Co-founders

Take the quiz!

No time for a quiz? You can still enter to win here. For rules and regulations, click here.

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Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


Md. S. August 7, 2020
tis a nice article and infoemative so thanks you
Anna G. July 13, 2018
I know this is late to the game but just want to throw a word in there for considering the materials. Your currently available mats from Israel are made of PVC. PVC is filled with nasty chemicals - notably hormone disrupting phthalates - that I try (often unsuccessfully given their ubiquity) to avoid. Not that a kitchen mat is the highest priority place of concern as it’s not touching food, but as a mom of a toddler, I can’t deny a fair amount of food/floor interaction.
Nan May 28, 2018
I would love a 4'x6' in front of stove and easy to clean would be a plus !
Amanda H. May 29, 2018
Thanks for taking time to weigh in!
Ttrockwood May 28, 2018
+1 for no skid
For sizes a smaller in front of the sink (like 2’ x 3’) or larger rectangle that would cover even more of my rental apartment ‘s hideous tile would be awesome. And odds are lucky suburbanites with large kitchens need larger mat sizes.
Amanda H. May 28, 2018
Good point -- thanks!
Victoria May 25, 2018
For the designs - will they be scaled so that they can be used for measurement reference? For example - one square = 3 inches.
Amanda H. May 27, 2018
Good question -- once we have the prototypes, we can definitely share this information.
ChefJune May 24, 2018
Make sure the mats are the thickness of the professional Gel-Pro mats. The comfort level is completely different! I would LOVE to purchase some really "French" mats that are that comfy.
Amanda H. May 27, 2018
Thanks June! These won't be as thick as Gel-Pro because that kind of mat requires a different kind of manufacturing.
PHIL May 24, 2018
I make kitchen mats and rugs. You should consider cushion / gel mats. Very popular now. Non skid backing a must. too many rugs slide on the tile floors. Good Luck
Amanda H. May 27, 2018
Thank you for your suggestions -- didn't know you made kitchen mats! What's your brand?
eastover90 May 24, 2018
Non-slip on bottom and top. I picked the design without border so if necessary it could be trimmed to fit...
Amanda H. May 27, 2018
Oh, interesting -- hadn't thought about the option to trim.
Bevi May 24, 2018
I think both size options are equally good. Can you offer both?
Amanda H. May 27, 2018
Possibly! First we'd like to see if there's consensus with one of the sizes.
PRST May 23, 2018
Not fond of any of the designs and have live 64 years without on so wondering why this is on your radar???????? More to clean up, more mess to miss for cleanup (yes, have to clean under the mat) and honestly, can't anyone stand on a floor?
Amanda H. May 27, 2018
Sorry to disappoint! :)
Smaug May 29, 2018
These things are very popular with people who stand in place for long periods of time, such as retail clerks and prep cooks. Wouldn't have thought of them as something for the home kitchen, unless you had wood floors in the kitchen, but people do seem to like the idea.
ktr May 29, 2018
I have wood floors in my kitchen and I find it to be much nicer to stand on than the tile my last house had. We have a rug in the kitchen but to be honest, it is more of a pain because it gets dirty than it is worth.
Kelsey B. May 23, 2018
I'd like to make a special request that there's some kind of no-slide or slip situation on the bottom of the mat! Maybe it's an easy solution that comes with the mat.
Amanda H. May 23, 2018
Thank you!
Bevi May 24, 2018
patty@bryce May 23, 2018
All patterns are beautiful - just not a way to note that none would fit current decor. Though maybe a reason to redo kitchen.
Amanda H. May 23, 2018
:) You and I think alike.
BerryBaby May 23, 2018
Click on Take the Quiz....
M S. May 23, 2018
Interesting about kitchen mats. Probably sub-conscious need for them. Open end response seems difficult. Can't we see some options to vote on?
Amanda H. May 23, 2018
If you click on Take the Quiz you'll see the options!
M S. May 23, 2018
Delete my comment. Thnks.