What It's About
After experiencing frustrations when looking for mittens suitable for running, a woman in Maryland decides to manufacture her own.
Words of Wisdom
Much of the time, you don't need to worry about getting a patent for your idea. Susan's experience, however, is an exception. The mittens she made came from a simple design that she knew would be easy to copy, so getting a patent on it made a lot of sense.
After that, she just Googled “patent attorneys in Baltimore” and called one. Any reputable attorney will do an initial consult for free to see if your idea is worth pursuing.
Susan knitted the first prototypes of WhitePaws Running Mitts herself, trying a few different versions and experimenting with them during the cold Maryland winters.
To get them made, she started with a website called Maker's Row, where you can find all kinds of manufacturers, textile and fabric companies.
Notes from Chris
Do you need a patent for your idea? Most of the time, the answer is no—it’s far more important to focus on your idea itself. In Baltimore, Maryland, Susan Clayton has owned a hair salon for 22 years. She’s also dabbled in real estate, but she’s moving away from that to focus on a side hustle she’s very passionate about. Susan is an active runner, and when she ran in the colder months, she couldn’t find gloves or mittens that felt comfortable for running yet also kept her fingers warm. One day she saw a friend of hers running with socks on his hands, and she thought: I can do better. You know how this story goes, right? She couldn’t find what she wanted for herself, so she decided to make it—both for herself and for others. Getting a patent is not a short process by any means. It took three years, mostly in an extended waiting period, and cost several thousand dollars. Still, she emerged victorious, feeling confident about putting her product out without worrying that someone would steal it. For her, the investment and the long wait were both worth it. The first sale on her new website, RunMitt.com, was to her brother, but it was still exciting. The first pair she sold on the site to someone she didn't know, she was over the moon. Most of the sales in Maryland have been to friends or at expos, but the website gets sales from all over the country. This is her first season, and she’s done more than $10,000 in sales so far. MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- WhitePaws RunMitts: Check out Susan's RunMitts
- Maker's Row: The American company Susan used to find the manufacture for her RunMitts.
- Patent Process Overview: If you're considering patenting your idea, here's an overview on the patent application and maintenance processes associated with it
- Candy Heart Hustle Becomes Six-Figure Second Income: After being unable to find branded candy hearts for a client, a marketing executive decides to create her own
- UX Designer Creates "SimpleBra" to Help Women Feel More Comfortable: How a UI/UX designer scratched an entrepreneurial itch and used $15,000 of her savings to create a side hustle manufacturing bras for women looking for an alternative to the push-up bra
- Clothing Store Salesman Invents Baby Harness, Earns $100k Per Year: An innovative salesman creates a baby harness that benefits both parent and child, all the while creating a six-figure side income for himself
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