Dana Knowles discusses:
How her invention 'The Hanging Shower Caddy' came about.
That the book "One Simple Idea" by Stephen Key introduced her to the world of licensing.
What a good example of a royalty percentage is.
Chris Klesh talks about:
Dana Knowles discusses:
How her invention 'The Hanging Shower Caddy' came about.
That the book "One Simple Idea" by Stephen Key introduced her to the world of licensing.
What a good example of a royalty percentage is.
Chris Klesh talks about:
What got him out of retirement and in to being a travel guru.
How his son is the perfect example of being able to work remotely in a vacation setting.
Victoria Wieck shares:
How the typical MBA program's curriculum does not serve the small business owner well.
How a small business can compete in the Marketing realm with giants.
Shawn Moye explains:
Why he started working on his invention, The E-Sports Trainer.
How he validated the idea and moved it forward.
How he views continuous improvement as being integral to his product.
Catherine Kirk talks about:
How she went from prototype to product with the Coffee Bullet.
The name that she wished had been available for her product.
Dana Knowles is my first guest today and she revealed how she brought her invention, the shower caddy to the market. Dana has just announced that she finished her first book. The Paul's method and it should be out soon on Amazon.
How did the shower caddy come about?
Oh, this is a good story. So in 1997, when I first got sober, I thought to myself, I'm going to do something serious. Well, probably 1998, probably a year or so later, I'm going to do something with one of my inventions and I was cleaning houses. Cause I got some of my jobs back and I came up with an idea and I ran off to one of those invention submission companies.
I won't name which one, but I ran off to one of them . They wanted some money and I scrounged up some money and I gave them some money and I got a really nice book with a bunch of pictures in it, and then they wanted thousands of dollars and I just didn't have it. I can look back in hindsight and say, thank goodness that I was poor.
I didn't have it. I didn't know what to do, so I kind of shelved it for a little bit. And then a couple of years later, I came up with another idea and I ran off to a patent attorney and I flopped the prototype cause I'm real good at creating stuff. I flopped the prototype in front of the patent attorney and said, I'd like to patent this.
And he said, okay. And $6,000 later, I had nothing. I went to a big show in New York city that made a bunch of promises so it's another five, $6,000. And then I thought, okay, I'm going to start my own business. I can do this.
I got a machine to make something. I got packaging, I got labels. I got website. I got the whole nine yards. I just couldn't get any traction. I was showing the product to companies. What, I didn't know what I was doing. I was trying to sell it myself.
I'm an idea person. I've coined the phrase. I'm a pet peeve specialist. So if nobody has an out there, it's official, it's mine. I'm taking it. So I put a little TM on their pet peeves specialist. I was trying to do all these things to try to get one of my ideas out there, but I just didn't know what I was doing.
I had joined the inventors network of the Capitol area in Washington, DC, cause I'm in Martinsburg, so I'm about an hour from DC. So I joined this inventors group and I would go every month, I volunteered to be the treasurer for the group because I knew that would get me there because I had a commitment.
We would have speakers come on every month and talk about all kinds of aspects of inventing patenting, you know, everything. But I never heard about what I'm gonna talk about, which is blows my mind. So in 2016, I became the president and the president's job is to find the speakers.
So in 2009, I had went to an event at the U S PTO and I just heard this guy speak, his name was Steven Key and I didn't know who Steven Key was, but, a few years later Facebook's coming up so I connect with Stephen Key and I'm following him and, reading his posts.
He was becoming a pretty big guy, in the inventing world. And I thought, I'm going to reach out to Steve and key. And ask him if he'll come and speak at our event, next time he's in the DC area, because he's from the west coast. So he said, yeah, I'm going to be there in, in 2017, he's coming in springtime.
I had found out, he wrote a book called One Simple Idea, and I thought, well, if I'm bringing him in to speak, maybe I should read his book. That's the only reason I read it is because I wanted to maybe impress him if we had a conversation, I'd be able to quote some things in the book so that he knows that I read it.
It blew my mind. It's all about taking One Simple Idea and going through the licensing process. So I downloaded it on Audible. I listened to it. Once I listened to it twice, I listened to it three times. I'm like, where has this been? All my life. I've been trying to go down every road possible with, with no end in sight.
Now there's this thing called licensing, which is basically we come up with the idea. We show it to potential brands or manufacturers brands. Then if they like the idea, they take the idea they run with.
They produce it, they package it, they ship it, they warehouse it, they show it to buyers. They get it to end all their existing platforms for retail, online brick and mortar catalog. And then they pay us, me the inventor, a royalty. So that's what I decided that I was going to learn how to do.
Now I've become an expert at it. I actually worked for the company that taught me how to do it: inventright. I'm their Director of Inventor Relations. I'm also an advisor for them, also running Dana's tuxedo. Also coming up with other inventors, also helping people in the recovery world. I got a full plate here.
Yeah. When do you sleep?
I do. I do make sure I sleep. Eating healthy and sleeping is probably one of the most important things that I do. But I'm like a ball of fire when my feet hit the ground in the morning, I'm running like crazy. And then by nine o'clock at night I'm done, So I took, an idea.
I went through Stephen Keys, course, the company's inventRight. They have a coaching program. So I signed up to be a student to learn everything I could about licensing. And I took my product. It's called the Hanging Shower Caddy. It's very long and narrow. I licensed it to a company, Grand Fusion.
We just hit 400, five star reviews on Amazon, but it's selling on many different platforms. It went on the market just before COVID hit. So it's not in brick and mortar stores now, but they're looking at 2022. We really think it's going to be in a lot of brick and mortar stores
Okay. Now, how long has that been out?
See that blows my mind. I feel like that's been out longer or should have been out longer.
The thing about licensing is and I'll use my shower caddy. For an example, there is a lot of mesh shower caddies out there. What makes mine unique and different is the shape of it is different. And that made it appealing because there was nothing like it on the market.
Nothing that was shaped very long and narrow, and that made it very appealing to a potential licensee. But with that being said, it's not like I called one company. And they said, oh yeah, sure. We love it. No, I called 80 companies, 20, some of them never even got back to me. 50. Three of those 52 actually looked at the prototype and then said we like it, but no, it's not a good fit for us right now. And company 53 said, yes, and you only need one. You only need one. It's a numbers game, like so many things, whether you're in sales, whether you're in public speaking. It's a numbers game. The more stuff you throw on the wall, it's going to stick somewhere.
And it's about relationships and getting to know people and suiting up and showing up and being professional.
I always feel weird asking this, but I'm going to ask it and you feel free to tell me a pass or we'll go on to the next question, but what kind of percentage do you get all that.
I can talk about that. So royalty rates on a simple product like mine, it's retailing for 10 99 is the average royalty rate on a simple product. Like this is 5%.
So a product retails for $10, it's probably going to wholesale for $5. So I get 5% of $5, which isn't much twenty-five cents right now. This particular product here is on target to sell between 200 and 250,000 units a year.
Yeah. So when you add those numbers up, that's a nice chunk of money. And the thing is I'm not doing any work I'm done. I did my work on the backend. Now the company put all their time, all their money, all their effort into getting my product on the market. The only thing that I do is get on podcasts like this and talk about it.
I also, share on my LinkedIn page, my Facebook page, like we just hit 400, five star reviews. I will be posting something, a video of me doing some kind of happy dance or whatever, because that drives sales to Amazon or to their website or wherever.
I feel like some people would expect it to have a higher margin, but they're not thinking it through.
A royalty rate can be anywhere from 2% to 12%, 2% would be on a very inexpensive item that they're going to sell millions of them. They're going to sell millions. So you might only do a 2% cause you're going to make the money because you're doing so much volume, a larger royalty rate would be on something that's more expensive, but doesn't sell a lot, maybe something that costs a thousand dollars or $5,000 or something, you're not going to sell a million units of that a year,
Here, Chris klesha talks about what got him out of retirement. And back into the workforce is a travel guru. He's currently on a speaking tour talking about the benefits of remote work and some of the tools to do so
Now you worked hard at bell south at, at and T for over 32 years. What prompted you to enjoy your retirement and go back into the workforce as a travel coach?
Well, I've always loved travel. I got tired of the corporate world. I was the type of guy in a suit and tie with major accounts and sold belts services, opposed to the competition and, after 32 years, they gave me a package. And extra years pay to leave.
They were trying to get rid of some of the mid-level managers. So I took advantage of it. At that time, I had a pension, a 401k, and I just pursued my dreams and dream life of travel and leisure. I wanted to see the world. And like I said, go to Europe, I'm a skier. I wanted to ski every major Ben's downhill run.
I wanted to play the best golf courses in the world. I wanted to work on my own, but it's like I told you before mental health is key, as well as physical health. I wanted to keep my mind active. I wanted to help other people. I wanted to pursue current events. I wanted to follow my passion and help other people.
And the way I could do it best is based on my experiences. I wanted to share with people. My theme now is you don't have to be rich to leverage. I've helped thousands of families go from middle-class. To feel they're like Donald Trump flying all over the world, taking their families, whether it's the Broadway Las Vegas, Maui, Hawaii, the Caribbean Europe on safaris, on cruises that take these memorable experiences and victories.
And whether it be a wedding or a family vacation lived this luxury lifestyle, I call it the lifestyle of privilege for just pennies on a dollar it's really possible. But you do need, like, in a lot of other businesses, you need a coach, a mentor. That has put in the time research resources got to know all the loopholes insights, secrets, how you can do it without breaking the bank or going into debt.
And it becomes more paramount at this time when we're in this inflation cycle, people are worried about gas prices. Can I drive, 10 hours? What is it going to cost me? What is it going to cost on airplanes, hotels going up, et cetera, et cetera. So that's why this message. But I had to deliver it to your audience and other audience I feel is so relevant.
It's powerful. Hopefully some of the tips I'm going to give you a raw audience or immediate, actionable, they're going to save them many thousands over their travels and vacations and inspire them to be able to make these trips in a U S studies. People don't even take their two weeks vacation. They're so tied to their devices and laptops, their fear. Again, they can't afford it taking a family of four skiing or on a safari European trip or Maui gets to be expensive for the middle-class people. So they're looking for results. Also, the burden.
In America, you know that in corporate America worried if they're going to have a job, et cetera, the burnout people are turning to entrepreneur ism. They're looking, what can we do that still monetize it work at our own hours. Our own pace still see our family. So we're not commuting some people commute three or four hours each way to work in New York, LA, et cetera.
The other thing is, it's just better for your health to reduce stress and look and us, you know, we're lucky they don't even take two weeks of vacation. The average person, in Europe is, taking four to six weeks vacation. It's encouraged by businesses, et cetera.
Their health is better. Their stresses reduced and their personal relationships are better because they are taking time off to retreat, relax, renew, rejoice. And remember, it's so important to our health and wellness.
Yeah, you don't have to sell me all that. Traditionally companies have not been huge proponents of taking vacation and breaks, but it does seem like that some of the companies are starting to come around, especially with, work remotely from anywhere.
Why do you think that company's attitudes are changing and what are the corporate wellness, improved health reduced stress and burnout benefits that you spoke of with travel and leisure?
I think companies are realizing, people can work effectively from their homes. If they're wired properly, they have the type of job where they learn how to use zoom work, virtually, et cetera. They could research a lot of things on the internet. And I take my son as an example.
He's a CPA MBA, works for one of the top four accounting firms and he just got tired of the four walls at home. He wanted to come down and environment where he was with his family and his friends. He could still do his job now. He still put in his eight hours a day with his computers going and, his headset on like we have, but he knew he wanted to walk the beach in the morning and see the sunrise.
He'd get up and walk the beach and beautiful pond beach, and he'd be there. And looking at outside the window at the beach, the umbrella is the Palm trees and know that after work, he could go out and enjoy himself in these salt water pools take advantage of playing golf. Obviously in the summer it doesn't get dark until eight 30.
So we still had a life ahead of us. And I think the corporations are looking at, they could say money real estate costs, burnout, the, our employees are happier when they have more family time, when a vacation is encouraged and they don't feel they have to be tied to their iPhone, their device checking emails, checking texts every five minutes, they were encouraged to retreat.
Relax, get away. Build better relationships go on retreats, et cetera. They could still have their iPhone, their computers running, but they don't have to be tied to them eight or 10 hours a day. So again, it's the work-life balance. I'm more about the life work balance.
I think people are now, after this pandemic, realizing the value of those relationships and the importance of travel. They took it for granted in the past. And now after being cooped up, they couldn't fly. Restaurants were closed. Health clubs were closed.
Look at me for example, I'm an ex conductor. I could conduct Les Miserables. My favorite Broadway show. I used to go to 20 shows a year, and I've been unable to do that the past almost two years. So again, one of the aspects of travel is anticipation for your Laurence out there. You're entrepreneurs. Once you have a trip booked, and I say, try to book in advance.
You look forward to something. It brings endorphins to your brain, whether it's a vacation or a wedding, it gets you through troubled times. You're looking forward to something and then you actually have the vacation or the wedding and you have. Actualization of that memory and experience, whether it be adventure, whether you're skiing, you're on a cruise, you're sitting on the beach on Maui or going to museums, you're at a campsite .
And then with all these gadgets here, what do we do? We capture, we use the technology to capture those memories and experiences, and we share them with our friends, our family, and we build a legacy. So now I think because. As individual entrepreneurs or corporate workers we've been shut out of the travel market.
It hasn't been open to us. I remember last year at Thanksgiving TV, they were arguing in California. How many, you could have it at, a Thanksgiving dinner before arrested, all the stadiums were closed for football. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a scientist, but things are improving obviously with the booster shots and people getting vaccinated, et cetera, they don't fear death.
There are symptoms. Some people, even with the vaccines have gotten COVID, but nothing serious. They just go through the symptoms. Quarantine .They're realizing, the extreme value in every aspect of their life, their mental, physical relationship value of travel and leisure.
I'd love to give people some of the tips. A lot of people say it's impossible to do what you do, but I've learned how to do it. And I get great pleasure of sharing some of my experiences and tips, showing people again, one of my mantras, you don't have to be rich deliverance.
You could be. Middle-class like, may, I'm just your middle class guy and still vacation. First-class half the year.
Victoria wick of shop HQ and the creator of the Victoria wick find jewelry collection. Details how the traditional MBA doesn't serve. Small businesses. Well at all. Victoria has also gone on to start her own successful podcast called million dollar passion. Check it out.
I'm going to ask this question anyway, and you may have just answered it, but you said that in your bio, you've got an MBA from the university of Southern California in marketing and finance, but claim that you had to unlearn it in order to innovate, elevate, and evolve to continuously, up-level your business.
That's absolutely true. I would say that my degree in. Undergraduate, the economics degree was very useful in my journey. The MBA, not so much it took me several years to kind of unlearn that, I got my, little template for doing my business plan. I got my template for, setting goals. I was a good student. I was on a scholarship. So I'm so armed with all these things.
I'm going to have a leg up on things, but I realized, okay, well, wait a minute. Why am I doing this, business plan? Who's going to see it. Because I'm not looking for like knowns or anything, you know, so I thought to myself, okay, so a business plan. I suggest everybody to. Just do one because it is good for you, but the way they teach you to do it, and this is not just USC, it's every MBA program.
Their programs are designed in such a way that you graduate from their school. You plug into a giant, company where you could become a vice president or CEO, if you're really lucky eventually, but a vice president manager of a department. And so what happens is. You're supposed to plug into this system and make their system. So goal-setting, for example, if you're an entrepreneur right now and running a business and you're doing $5 million a year, let's say, and you want to go to 6 million, okay. You set your goal to 6 million next year
you realize, okay, well, how am I going to get there? I'm going to need a couple more people to help me. I might need a bigger restaurant. If you're running a restaurant chain, if you're running a chain of dry cleaners or whatever, you might need a couple more people. , your expenses go up.
And because you are investing in that future, right? so COVID hits and, let's say instead of, increasing your business by a million dollars, your business goes down by 3 million. I'm just making up numbers here. So what happens is, if you. A, marketing director of Hilton hotels, or if you're marketing director of whatever, you know, you could just go to your board and say, look, I was COVID.
I couldn't do anything with it. And as a matter of fact, everybody else's, down 90%, I'm only down 60%. Hey, you might even get a promotion for that. But the small business owner, that's how to invest their money and put everything that he owns on the line every day. Now, all of a sudden, instead of $6 million, You are now doing 2 million.
Okay. And you have a heart and you don't want to lay off your employees. They've been like family to you all this time. So now what do you do? Well, there is nothing in the MBA program that tells you, so the point I'm making is, you know, in the MBA program, when they tell you how to do all this stuff, you're literally playing with everybody.
Else's. So there was no emphasis on risk management in any of those plans. Whereas in a small business you got to manage your risks. That's a huge, huge part of your journey because every time you lose money, every year you lose money, it set you back, right? And so if you don't want to take. Unnecessary risk financial or reputational risk. How do you then continue to innovate and elevate and how do you continue to test? So like when I have a show, in fact, I'm going to, that's why I told you today. I had to get off in 15 minutes because I actually am going to be going on a live show, my TV show on shop HQ.
So every hour, um,
Every hour that I'm on, for example, I have these shows sheets, and we have, for example, things that I know, we reordered for like three years now and we can count on it. Like every time we put it on, we can count on selling, 250 minutes in three minutes.
Okay. So we can count on that money. So, instead of just counting on the things that, you can sell and just airing that to death until nobody buys it anymore. What you do is you say, okay, why is it selling? And what else is selling? Because you're first selling, yellow diamonds and pink diamonds, maybe all color diamonds would sell, maybe bring in some blue mint.
If we're selling, for example, things like. 50 bucks, to a hundred dollars. That's a sweet spot. Maybe we bring in other styles that are, is it a price point? So we can basically test in the environment I told my show hosts today.
If we sell these four items out of the 16 items that we have to air today, we've met our goal. We've made all the money. That doesn't mean, we just chill out and relax. That's the time when we can bring it up.
A few of this, if you have that to see which one of those things that we're testing is going to be the next big star. So, in the MBA program that there's nothing like that, that actually will teach you that. So now why I say you have to unlearn it. your teachers tell you you're a great student. It should work. That works. And it works for Coca-Cola. It works for JP Morgan. It works for all these companies. And then you're like, who am I to sit there and say it won't work. I'm not gonna argue with the success of the Coca Cola.
I'm not gonna argue with the success of JP Morgan. I'm not going to argue with Wells Fargo. So they must work what they don't for a small company. I think of the word new and improved. Cause they were saying that's the second, most effective word in marketing.
So I had to think about that. How can something be new and improved? Because if it's improved, it's not new. I would ask that and then my marketing, Patricia told me I was crazy, but it's a fact, I would say being transparent, it turns out I did, , sell over 10 million pieces of jewelry, but out of need, at the time I started my company, I only need 50 people to buy, two things. I don't even need millions of people. I want 50 will people who is going to actually really like my designs for whatever reason I designed it and will be willing to pay a fair amount of price for that.
More to your point about the NBA and, you know, trying to apply marketing principles that help Wells Fargo or Coca-Cola,
It doesn't work for
Yeah, those brands have been beating their advertisements into the American public for, almost centuries.
If you're a small business owner listening to this podcast right now think about this. Whatever category you're in, if you're selling, if you come up with a new type of flavored water or if you came up with a new type of, dishwashing, detergent, whatever.
You've got your version of the giant in the marketplace, right? Those giants are never going to. Feel like they're your neighbors. They're never going to feel like they're lovable kind and caring. They're not evil.
What I'm saying is you as an individual entrepreneurial, whether your branding is you being folksy. Whether you're branding is you being straightforward, honest, hardworking mom, that's who I am, who happens to have a skill and, my customers, like when I go on TV, they all know that, I have kids, and my family matters a lot to me cause I do that part on my social media.
So they understand that, I'm relatable. I'm vulnerable. And that, I bought with my imperfections. I try my hardest to please them and I'm not going to get it right all the time. It's okay. And I'm very open about that. I think that when you're a small entrepreneur use the fact that you're small, that you're not perfect, that you are evolving and that you try harder and that you are better at.
Elevating that experience, , think about like, Starbucks before Starbucks was a huge company. I remember going to Seattle, like when they were just opening their first couple of stores, they took a simple thing, like coffee that everybody drinks and, it was like 39 cents everywhere.
And you got refills forever. They are now charging up to $5. Basic a cup of coffee because they elevated that experience that you get it your way, it's kind of chic the stand in line, you know, have a conversation and do all this stuff at Starbucks. So now they're a huge corporation.
There's a lot of mini Starbucks happening all over Southern California now, but the point. That, use you your personal story, your personal journey, your imperfections, and, ask them to help you improve your product, improve your service. What can I do to make it a hundred percent?
What can I do to, make it a home run experience for you? Americans love underdogs. They love people that are straightforward, honest, and they'll cheer for you. They'll tell 10 people about you. And that's how I grew my business from nothing. I was looking for like 50 people and, you know, I ended up selling somewhere between 10 to 15 million pieces of jewelry in my career.
It's just because those people who loved my product told 10 more people. And those 10 people told a hundred people and it just went into millions.
Our next guest, Sean boy went on America's big deal and presented his product. The e-sports trainer. He didn't get a deal but it's still continuing to refine his invention and soon we'll be adding golf to the list of sports that can help with
Let's get to your big invention idea. How did the idea for the electronic sports trainer come about? And I guess even backing up a little bit, can you tell the audience what it is?
Okay. so my product is , a sports training device. What it does is teach us proper technique, and muscle memory when playing a sport. In a nutshell, that's what it does. You wear it on your arm. You went and PR compression sleeve, which we'll talk about, but a lot of times when playing a sport, you don't get that behind the scenes information that you need.
The building blocks, if you will. So there's cracks in the foundation when you're learning how to play a sport, that when you get to a certain level, either you never get to play. You don't understand why the coach has you sitting on a bench or, when you get to a certain level, your talent may allow you to get to that level.
But then you have a coach that will kind of reverse engineer your shot or reverse engineer. Those bat mechanics. And then they have to rebuild it up properly. So what this product tries to do and will do is, give you the proper techniques before that. So it gives you, a solid foundation to build upon as you're playing the sport.
So for this first edition, it's, dedicated, related to basketball. So what it does, it talks to you correctional in real time. It tracks the number of times you are using the product correctly. It toggles between several different languages. So you can practice or train in a language most comfortable to you.
So, going back, the idea came from my son. He showed interest in playing a sport at a very young age. So I wanted to work with him. So we're going to the park. We're gonna play and I want to train them, but I understood this, that you need to make sure you have proper technique and especially in shooting a basketball.
So as I go take him to the park, I'm thinking to myself, well, how can I make sure he. Practices correctly, even when I'm not around. what good is it to shoot a thousand shots per day that you hear a lot of people say, but they're all improper shots. So I want to make sure he is shooting and his practicing wasn't in vain that way.
Then as I look around the park, I see there's a lot of kids whose parents aren't needing the paying attention, or parents may not even understand this as well. So that's where the idea came from. So when we went home , I began to work on this. Right away, again, did the patent search make sure nothing was out there like this?
And that's where my thousand mile journey started
Okay. Now when you did the patent search, were you looking on USPTA, pto.gov or patents.google.com or.
both of those. So I went to both of those places, to look for a patent, and nothing showed up. I did my due diligence and, I may have even contacted a company to help me look, but it was at a minimum cost because again, at the time, like many of us inventors starting out, I didn't have a lot of money.
There was always more month than money anyway. So I had, three kids, two kids at the time. Going to work every night. We're trying to make ends meet. So I started wearing a lot of inventors started. I just had to be creative, on how it was going to bring this product to the marketplace
okay. And how many years has it been about roughly?
So from that time to now, it's been about 15 years that I've been working on this.
How did you validate the idea as far as being a commercially successful? Cause I can't really think of anything to compare it to, to be
Right. Right. So for me, I saw some other, training tools that were out there, so I compared it to what they're doing, how they're doing it. So I knew it was a, financial lucrative industry, sports training. It was just, how was I going to get into that market space was the question.
So for me, searching on those platforms, looking for. The pads are. I didn't have the money again to start the patent process right away. So I started with provisional patent, which gave me protection for a year. That way I was able to do some digging. I was able to share my product a little bit more with the people.
It was during that time where I got a toy designer as well. It was during that provisional patent phase, it cost maybe at the time, maybe $150. And if you decide you want to move forward after that year, before the year is up, then you can start your patent process. And then it will retro back to the original date of that provisional patent.
So it gave me a year to play with that. So again, you don't always have to jump into, I need a patent today and I need to spend thousands of dollars to get my patent. I'll start with a provisional patent, take a baby step. You don't have to jump both feet first. You can jump in one foot at a time. And then you can do your research during that window as well.
So once I got the protection, I was able to talk to a few more people, get their information, get their feedback, if you will. Um, what do you think about this? How do you think what will work? And I got nothing but great feedback. once I got to that level, I was toward the end of my provisional patent.
Then that's when I applied for a utility.
At what point did you create the prototype and talk about how you did that? I think that involved the toy designer, if
The first day, when we came back from the park, I had the old CD player. I had a Velcro and I had my son all wrapped up like a mummy for my patent. So it gave me an idea. And, from those drawings and even what my provisional patents, the drawings were very simple. It was just, this is the idea behind it.
If anybody contact me, I'll share that journey with them, the pictures and everything. I drew the pictures myself in my house. Very simple. During that window, I just got online and search for toy designers.
Let's see what. And then once things started popping up and now will help me drive to a different search. but again, I just let the internet do the work for me. I actually contacted a few toy designers,, and decided to go with the person that I went with. But some people said, no, some people said this, isn't what I do.
This guy was an independent toy designer and he said, sure, I will make it for you. So that's where it started. And again, I'll tell all the inventors out there, make sure you're protecting your idea, protecting yourself throughout the journey.
When the toy designer and I talked, we drew up a contract, he signed it, I signed it. But somewhere through the process, he decided that this was a good idea. And Hey, let me be a part of it. Don't pay me. Just name me on the patent, which I'm so glad I did not do, but if we didn't have a contract in place who knows, so always make sure you're protecting yourself that way.
Again, it doesn't take millions of dollars. You don't have to contact a bunch of lawyers and build up all these legal fees. There are things that you can do to protect yourself, easy, low cost, low hanging fruit type things that you can do to protect yourself. But that's where the patent idea came from.
Then it just evolved from there. I still love it to this day. It was like my baby, but it was bulky. It was big. And it wasn't, consistent sometime it will go off sometime at one. Once I had the utility patent, then I began to contact other manufacturers, got what their design team, and we'll end up, begin to evolve that way.
Even as, you know, Greg, it's still. I don't know if it ever stopped, but I don't know if any product ever stops. Right. It's always about continuous improvement through life. Again, that's something that I learned that my job throughout the years, continuous improvement always getting better, that I'm able to equate in what I do.
That's just a life principle. So we should always be continuing to get better. I do it at work. I said, and I said in my day-to-day life, and then related to my product.
Katherine. And Kirk is our final guest and here she recapped. So she brought the coffee bullet from an idea to an actual product.
I had a lot of things to drive me along in the process. I started out, I made myself a prototype to start, testing it and it worked
How did you create that?
It was very, simple, really I found
some plastic that I used and kind of cut it into the shape that
I wanted it to be, filed it down and got it ready to go.
As I started testing it and it was close to the size and then, , I found out I needed to have a CAD file. Well, I'd never heard of it.
The I had no idea. And every single step of the process was like that for me, I didn't know what it was.
So I started researching on Google, everything. I looked up on Google,
To see what a CAD file was, who could make it, who could do it in my tight budget
and found, an amazing person who helped me, all the way through I've met really wonderful people who, I have learned from
who have helped me, they would be talking to me and
I would be writing as fast as I could, because I didn't know what they were talking about. And then I'd get off and I'd start researching what it was.
And a CAD file is just basically a computer aided drawing
that is usually 3d so that when you go to a manufacturer,
they have something to work with. So I found that and I got that. And then
I needed to be able to get, a 3d print of it to make certain that my drawing, because I had a drawing of it,. Then I needed to make certain that it was gonna work at the size and everything that it came out to be.
I started all of it in 2017, I was diagnosed the end of December and by 2017, I really needed focus. So in my mind constantly was I needed to focus, focus
on, the target focused on my goal, focus on what I was doing. Focus on learning every day.
So I actually started calling around and I found this wonderful man at a university and he made me a 3d
printing for my, CAD file.
And I took it home and tested it and it wasn't quite right.
So back to the CAD file, and we adjusted it and I drew it out the way we needed it to be a little differently.
So. Then I went back and, spoke to the man at the university again, and he printed me another one and other 3d print for it.
It was just right. So I tested it some more.
And at the same time, I started to look for information on patenting, the idea.
What to do, how to do it. Found a very wonderful attorney who worked with me on undoing the patent. Then, I realized that,
I needed to have a name
that was quite a process. It took me a long time. I think I had three pages.
I, I took, coffee and filter and fix.
And I started finding as synonyms of the words and putting them together in all different ways. Page after page, I drove
my kids nuts. I drove everybody. I
was, what do you think of this? What do you think of that? The bottom line
was, it was the focus that I chose the name
for. cause I kept thinking my son, if you see in the background as an army ranger was an army ranger. He went through focus and training my other son, put himself through college and focused and my
daughters, one is a single mother of three teenagers. One is, married with four kids and running her own business.
They all focused. They all do different kinds of target shooting or some kind of something. And I kept thinking about a target. What was my target? It was to fix this problem. It was to make my kids proud. My grandkids proud it was to take aim. I started thinking, taking game taking, what do you take aim at a target, a target take aim and a target.
Take aim at that bullseye and don't stop until you. And so coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, bullet coffee, bullet, take aim, coffee filter, fix. And that's my in was, was coffee bullet. Take him at coffee filter. Fixed.
Okay. it seems like a natural would have been groundskeeper.
Yeah, it was my first idea. And I had a really big struggle stepping away from that, but there was
another person who'd used it for. something. And so I needed to start all over. That's where the three pages
names came because once I had picked one that I liked.
It was hard to budge away from it. Um, but it had to be mine and had to be original. And, um, the, what I kept thinking of
was the focus is what am I really doing?
I'm trying to focus on something productive so that I don't focus on things that are not pretty.
I just kept seeing this target that
I had to
And so that it just evolved into finally the coffee
I think the coffee, bullet's a great name. I was joking there because catherine had told me in a prior call that she'd come up with the name of the groundskeeper.
Yeah, it would have been, perfect.
No, I think the coffee bullet's perfect
it turned out to be because I had to focus so hard,
And I really wanted it made in the United States. I had a lot of people that I reached out to say, you can make it cheaper in other countries. You can, make it more available. It'll be a better made it'll, there'll be able to do it quicker. I didn't find
that to be true. I found it to be more expensive.
I didn't do a lot of looking into it because I just wanted it made here. And I did it all in Colorado. Since I'm a name.
I was fortunate enough to find everything to be done
here. And I kept it local. I kept it with people that, were very helpful to me.
People that were, hard workers, honest, always willing to take an extra minute and talk to me.
Just being very helpful.
So I liked giving them the business.