"One is you're getting ripped off on something that's low quality and won't last," he told Hunker. "And the other is that you're paying $300 or more. We don't think either of those are very good, which is why we started doing this."
Milo's signature product is a classic, 5.5 quart Dutch oven retailing for $95. So what sets the Milo Dutch oven apart, other than its more reasonable price point?
First, the Milo Dutch oven takes inspiration from classic French designs which favor thicker walls that are better for heat retention rather than thinner walls that simply make the oven easier to lift. Second, if quality control is skimped on, a Dutch oven's enamel coating can transfer to your food. The Milo ovens are evenly sprayed to avoid this. And finally, Schau says stainless steel knobs hold up to heat better than bakelite (heat-resistant plastic) knobs, which are found on many affordable Dutch ovens. The Milo Dutch oven is designed to look better and better with age, so it can be passed down as an heirloom.
So how in the world did Schau, a serial entrepreneur, end up traveling the world to create his ideal Dutch oven? Well, to begin, he bought a whole lot of Dutch ovens.
"Once I fell in love with the Dutch oven project, I started building a war chest of samples that I liked and disliked in qualities of build, shape, size, color, et cetera," he said. "I probably have 50 Dutch ovens in my house and office and it's becoming a bit cumbersome!"
The next step was to design and build his ideal Dutch oven. And it took a village. New York-based industrial designers helped Schau's vision come to life, design-wise, and another New York-based firm helped with engineering, product development, and quality control. He even had 3D-printed samples made.
The final step to bringing Schau's vision to life was manufacturing. He already had manufacturing experience from past businesses he's founded, which was a helpful kick-start.
"What I learned is that there are foundries that are capable of making enameled cookware all over the world," he said. "I visited with lots of them and have spent way too much money on shipping 20-pound cast iron samples around the world."
But in the end, Schau picked China for the production of his Dutch ovens.
"It took a ton of iteration before we landed on our classic Dutch oven and we couldn't be more proud to share it with you," he said.
So with a Dutch oven design worth standing behind on lock, what's next for Milo? Schau has been working with industrial engineers to branch out into more cookware. These designs are being kept quiet for now, but exciting launches are on the horizon.