Armed with an unrivaled knowledge of the manufacturing business, AC installation know-how and an undeniable eye for design, Muhammad Saigol is on a mission to disrupt the home-cooling universe with a next-generation air conditioner.
Muhammad’s new venture, July, is making clunky air con units a thing of the past and replacing them with a new wave of quiet, cool and design-forward replacements that are a breath of fresh air for the appliance world. HABITAT met with Muhammad to learn more about the young company taking the home space by storm.
Tell us about July. How did this cool creation come to be?
July was born like many great ideas before it - by experiencing the product frustration firsthand. Living in New York for over ten years, I dealt with my fair share of clunky and ugly window A/Cs. Not only were they dangerous to install, but they were lacking in obvious features like energy efficiency and WiFi-connectivity, and I felt that there had to be a better solution.
Luckily, I already had detailed knowledge of the appliance space. My family runs a large appliance manufacturer that has been producing products of all sorts for over seventy years. Combining my product innovation with the family business’s long-standing engineering and manufacturing expertise allowed us to bring July to market. A beautiful product, with a patented installation system, energy efficiency and all the bells and whistles the modern customer demands.
Are there any home trends on your radar for 2023 and beyond?
As the country settles into a new-normal routine of hybrid work, home products are going to stay relevant and top of mind for consumers as they maximize their home spaces for larger parts of the day and in new ways. It’s also likely that consumers will be tightening their spending in 2023 to prioritize categories that they consider essential. We’re excited by how July, as a necessity cooling product, can continue to figure prominently in customers’ essential items.
What unique aspect of your design and manufacturing process would you like your customers to know about?
At July, we’re crazy about design. It’s not just how it looks – but how it works. We think good design means it should be easy and delightful to use.
July’s looks speak for themselves. For the first time in a window A/C, customers can customize the look of their A/C – by choosing between our interchangeable, magnetic front panels. Prefer a minimalist look? Go for our Classic White. More of a mid-century design enthusiast? What about our Ash Wood? Getting an A/C for your beachside property? Try our breezy Linen.
Equally important is the design of our patent-pending installation system. Before I started July, I spent one summer as a window A/C installer installing hundreds of regular A/Cs all over New York. I encountered every kind of A/C imaginable in NYC. The overall experience allowed me to devise an installation system that was more simple, safe, and quick to install compared to anything else on the market. Customers and expert reviewers have validated that we’ve gone above and beyond in this respect.
What advice would you give to someone looking to launch their own brand?
Launching a new brand is a fun, and terrifying, experience. My one piece of advice before embarking on the journey is to make sure you have validated the core value proposition of your brand before you dive in. In my case, it was my experience installing A/Cs all over NYC. I had the confidence of knowing firsthand that people were looking for a better product, and nobody else on the market was doing anything about it. See how you can run a test or an experiment to see if real-life customers will respond.
What are your customers most excited by?
There are so many things for customers to get excited about, from the WiFi and voice control options to our beautiful, exciting and engaging brand. We also have a suite of accessories that customers have gone crazy over. Overall, three main things seem to get our customers going:
- Our beautiful design. The A/C is transformed from an ugly appliance to a beautiful, customizable design object in your window. That’s why July is the A/C of choice for designers and creatives.
- Our patent-pending installation system. So many customers have told us that, for the first time, they were able to install the A/C themselves without having to pay someone several hundred dollars to do the installation. It’s safer, quicker, and easier than ever before.
- Our air purifying filters. For the first time, you’re able to turn your window A/C into an air purifier to rid the air of pollen, pet dander, and pollutants harmful to human health.
July is committed to both carbon offsetting and bringing a more energy efficient solution to the AC industry. Can you share more about this?
It’s no secret that cooling is a major contributor to global warming emissions. At July, we want to put mitigating our environmental impact at the forefront of what we do. Firstly, we use a state-of-the-art refrigerant that has 2/3rds less Global Warming Potential (“GWP”) than the most common refrigerant on the U.S. market. In addition, we also partner with CarbonFund.org to offset the first year’s emissions of every A/C we sell – at no cost to the customer.
But that’s not it. We use recyclable packaging to ensure limited waste; we also solicit A/C donations to provide to low-income homes to ensure that they don’t end up in a landfill. We’ll continue to introduce more technological innovation and other programs to ensure we keep reducing our impact. It’s the right thing to do.
What has surprised you on your journey as a founder? What are you learning that you did not expect to be learning?
Founding a company is full of plenty of surprises! For me, it’s been amazing to learn that the best guide for a growing business is your customers. We are constantly soliciting feedback, interviewing customers, and collecting data to ensure that we are building a business and a product that meets their needs. Listen to your customers and they’ll show you the way.
HABITAT is proud to confirm July as a 2023 Exhibitor at the National Hardware Show!