132
9 min 6 sec

Hair Salon Owner Designs Mittens for Cold Runners

An avid runner has a difficult time finding gloves or mittens that feel comfortable enough for running while also keep her fingers warm in the winter. She decides to make her own and pursues a patent for her idea.
Design Manufacturing Patents Product

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What It's About

After experiencing frustrations when looking for mittens suitable for running, a woman in Maryland decides to manufacture her own.

Business Model
Manufacturing
Skills Required
Research & Design
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

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.

Fun Fact

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

Episode 132

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:

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Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"When I started the salon, I got some really great advice that was applicable when I started my side hustle. I asked a friend where was I going to get the money. He asked, 'Do you own any stocks?' and I said yes, and what he said next stuck with me: 'If you can invest in someone else's company, you can invest in yourself. Sell the stocks.'"
—Susan Clayton #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau