This is a video that I made in March 2014 for ABC who asked me to audition for Shark Tank.
I’m 60 something years old. Maybe someone who reads this might be encouraged to pursue their own dream like I did. It’s never too late to try.
In 2003, after 25 years, I left the world of hardware and software engineering to become a landlord over 13 apartments in Leominster, Massachusetts. I then started a handyman business to make up for all those unpaid rents : (
As a handyman, I often needed to use stud finders…which drove me crazy because none of them worked as advertised.
In February 2008, I put on my engineering hat and designed a crude but effective stud finder that was easy to use and actually worked. Unfortunately, my tenants were falling further and further behind in their rent payments. This left me with very little spare capital so I had no choice but to look for someone with the funding and experience to take my idea to market.
In January 2010, I was offered a licensing deal with Gorilla Glue. It would have paid me 2% of net sales. After several months of contract negotiations, I decided to walk away with the hope that something better was out there.
In September 2010, I ended up partnering with a local company with ties to China. I really thought that I had hit it big with this 25% licensing deal. But after 2 years of trying to get my invention manufactured overseas, it was obvious that these people didn’t know what they were doing. Not a clue.
Since they were literally butchering my invention, I wanted OUT. Unfortunately my contract with them stated that they owned all rights to my invention until I paid them back for their expenses.
There was no way I could afford to buy back MY rights.
Instead, I negotiated a deal where they bought out my 25% share for a fair price.
Now I was able to reinvent my invention on my own dime…
In December 2013, I started selling my renamed and improved invention, the StudPoP on Amazon.
As of early 2020, I’ve sold close to 80,000 units and have 850+ reviews with an average of 4.5 out of 5 star rating.
And I am manufacturing it in the USA.
As it should be.
The moral of this story is that necessity really is a mother and I am the proud mother of the StudPoP which has been featured on DIY’s “Cool Tools” and “I Want That!” TV shows. It has appeared in “This Old House” and “Men’s Journal” magazines. Mr. “ACE hardware”, Lou Manfredini loves StudPoPs and has featured both products on his syndicated radio and TV shows.
It is a featured product on The Grommet, Zulily, Touch of Modern, Home Depot and Amazon.
Sure. It took me almost six years to get from garage prototype to actually selling on Amazon. And yes. I wanted to give up several times.
But luckily, I didn’t quit.
Bottom line: If you have an idea for a better mousetrap, do some research to find out if there really is a market for it and make sure that no one else has already thought of it…
…then go for it. Don’t give up and GOOD LUCK!
Thanks for reading.
p.s. Patents cost a lot of $ and are often over rated.
A. Don’t be paranoid. Make sure you really need one. No matter how great YOU think that your idea is…unless you’ve developed a cure for cancer, tread slowly. A patent is only as good as YOUR ability to enforce it. $$$$$$$
B. If you think you need professional advice, find a lawyer that you trust because they’ve done work for someone that you trust.
C. Steer clear of invention promo hustlers on the internet no matter how sincere they appear.
D. NEVER pay anyone to evaluate your idea.
E. Come up with a great catchy name and trademark it.