Don’t Stop Believin’
A Perpetual Dreamer’s Never-Ending Quest To Reinvent The Wheel
I’ve spent the entirety of my life dreaming about building a better mousetrap. Trying to reinvent the wheel. Hoping that I’d stumble upon that one brilliant idea that would go down in history as the greatest thing since sliced bread.
Edison said: “There’s a way to do it better. Find it.” Oh, I’ve tried! And though my lightbulb moments have been many, in 56 years of dreaming and drawing and, you know what would be a great idea-ing, I’ve invented absolutely… nothing. But every single time I see a new product that makes life easier or is a better mousetrap, I say: “Why didn’t I think of that?!?” And if I have thought of it, inevitably, it’s already been invented.
Here are some of my potential winners that never saw the light of day:
THE HOOK-TO-YOUR-BELT DOG LEASH: For hands-free dog walking! Comes in multiple leash models, too!
DOGGIE MEAL REPLACEMENT BARS: For those days when you’re super lazy or busy and don’t have time to feed your dog a proper meal.
EYEGLASS ARM COVERS: To slip on when you’re getting your hair colored, and want to read a magazine but don’t want to get your glasses goopy with hair dye.
TATTOO SLEEVES: Want cool tattoos, but don’t want to commit? Slip this transparent sleeve over your arm and...Voila! Instant tattoos!
I said they were ideas. I never said they were good ideas. Okay… maybe the Hook-To-Your-Belt Dog Leash. That could have been a big seller!
Like Da Vinci before me, I have a whole book full of dreams. He was the first person to conceptualize the modern day helicopter. I invented origami birthday cards with fortunes inside of them. Other than that, we are kindred souls.
My ultimate goal is to invent a successful product, make a cool quarter million in my first year, then pack up my product samples and skip down the yellow brick road to invention Oz — Shark Tank. I’ve got my pitch ready to present to the Shark Tank panel. (Mark Cuban, if you’re reading this, I’m talking to you!)
Shark Tank is the holy grail for inventors. It’s the place where products on the way up can find an injection of rocket fuel and shoot straight to the moon (or at least a super prominent end-cap in Bed, Bath & Beyond).
Take the Scrub Daddy sponge. A simple porous, smiley face scrubber, Scrub Daddy inventor Aaron Krause convinced Shark Tank’s Lori Grenier — the “Queen of QVC” — to invest $200,000 in his version of the better mousetrap. If you thought the sponge is a “been there, done that,” sort of item, think again. The Scrub Daddy sponge became one of the most successful products in the history of Shark Tank. Through 2017, over 19 million units were sold, topping $50 million in sales. Yes, you heard that right. $50 million in sales. No wonder the sponge is smiling.
Enter the Squatty Potty. Could be one of the best product names in history. And in Shark Tank history, it’s a winner! Within 24 hours of being featured on the show, the company sold more than $1 million in product. Shark Tank’s Grenier invested $500,000 toward the invention and, two years later, the Squatty Potty topped $30 million in sales! So many puns here to be had, but I’ll spare you the potty humor. I’m getting a bit flushed just thinking about it.
A few years ago, my husband lost his wedding ring. That went over well. He felt so horrible about it (i.e. I made him feel so horrible about it) that he went out and rented a metal detector to try to find it. He had been working in the yard the day before, so was sure that it had fallen on the ground somehow. If you haven’t rented a metal detector before, I highly recommend you do. This is one fun machine. We found coins, old toys from the family who lived in our house 30-some years prior, so many soda pop tops - but what we didn’t find was the wedding ring. Mama was not a happy camper. Cut to a couple of months later when my husband dropped a french fry in between the seat of his car and the console next to it. He reached in for the fry and pulled out the lost ring. It was a dang miracle. Not only did he get a french fry, but he got several more years of marriage out of the deal, too.
I bring this up, because shortly thereafter, this product was featured on Shark Tank: The Drop Stop Seat Gap Filler. A foam roll that fits between the seat and console of your car, or in the “carmuda triangle” as the inventor calls it. This invention stops coins and lipstick and straws and cheese curls and… wedding rings… from falling in the gap between your car seat. As one of the most popular items ever to be sold on Shark Tank, it sold over $24 million in product. For a foam roll. Think about that, and seriously start thinking about your next invention.
So in the words of Journey’s, “Don’t Stop Believin,” you, too, can be a millionaire by simply finding that one problem that needs a solution in life.
By: Lisa Goich