Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2014 10:30 pm
Randy Hallman/ Times-Dispatch
Dip-a-di-do-da started the way a lot of good ideas start — with a party.
Myrf Bowry was having friends over, and then the gathering grew.
“One of my friends called and said she was bringing along some friends of hers,” Bowry said, “so I wanted things to look a little nicer.”
She had some store-bought hummus, but she didn’t want to put it out in its branded container. Instead, she scooped it into a dish. She knew that would require a little extra cleanup and that some of the hummus might be wasted when the get-together was over.
“I thought, ‘Somebody must make a bowl that hides the dip containers,’ ” she recalled. “I did a Google search. If it’s out there, I didn’t find it.”
Bowry started thinking about designing such a bowl herself.
She and business partner Leah Dodge — who own and operate the interior design firm Decorum at 6909 Patterson Ave. — collaborated to create Dip-a-di-do-da.
It’s a plastic bowl that neatly conceals most grocery-store dip containers for hummus, pimento cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, chicken salad, whipped butter and other dip varieties.
Using her sewing skills and a wallpaper sample for decoration, Bowry crafted a prototype and showed it to her family. Her sister, Barbara Jeanne Polo, came up with the name, Bowry said. Dodge had the idea of a hole in the bottom, so the dip container could easily be popped out.
“Leah and I both love to entertain,” Bowry said. “This seemed like such a simple thing.”
They have applied for a provisional patent, she said.
A friend put Bowry and Dodge in touch with a company that makes plastic parts for yachts. The manufacturer now produces dishwasher-safe Dip-a-di-do-da bowls.
“They’re foreign-made for now,” she said, “but we’re looking to find a U.S. manufacturer.”
The first order was for 2,000 — half with a red design and half with a green design. Bowry and Dodge started selling them last Thanksgiving and by Christmas had sold more than half, Bowry said.
They are soon to get the second order — 5,000 this time — adding colors and designs. Bowry and Dodge can show you the new ones at their store.
Some of the bowls will be blank, so they can be branded with corporate logos or marked with sports-related slogans, special-occasion messages or other customized decorations.
You can find the product at the Decorum store, a 2,000-square-foot former residence packed with home-accent items, fabrics and furniture. Or you can order online at www.dipadidoda.com — $14.99 apiece, with a discount for multi-orders.
A few local boutiques carry Dip-a-di-do-da, and Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market soon will, Bowry said.
Bowry graduated with a degree in design from James Madison University. Dodge got a marketing degree at the University of North Carolina and a design degree at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The two worked together for another interior design outfit before they formed Decorum 20 years ago. They had a store in Richmond’s Fan District, outgrew that and moved to their current store in 2001.
So far, Bowry said, Dip-a-di-do-da is a side business that hasn’t had any venture-capital assistance. Nearly all the marketing has been by word of mouth, and they launched the website recently.
“We’re breaking even now,” she said. “When we get the new shipment next week, we’ll be in the hole again.”