The design for PoopPac came about whilst I was watching a large number of people exercising their dogs on a beach one morning. I was struck by just how many people were holding their ‘used bag’ in one hand, and their coffee in the other – yuk! The more I paid attention the more I noticed all sorts of shenanigans with bags of poop; people standing around chatting, drinking their morning coffee and most with a bag of poop in their hand (and not always the other hand). I noticed abandoned packages, hidden packages, all sorts of things with these packages; it actually became quite amusing. However one thought kept coming to mind ‘you'd think there'd be something to put it in’. Well there wasn't (this was back in the summer of 2008), hence the idea was born.
During our life most of us have good ideas for an invention and some have great ideas, but bringing an idea through to fruition can be quite a daunting task. Having an idea is one thing, having an idea, with the possible tools to hand to bring the idea to fruition, can be quite another matter. In this area I have been incredibly lucky; I found the tools close to home and thus I my idea was viable and had the possibility of coming to life.
My concept for PoopPac was to design a case that was durable and light weight, but most importantly a case that had a rigid frame so that you could pop your package in it and be worry free of smell and accidents and of the ‘package’ touching other items… I had sketched out my idea (no I can not draw and you would laugh if you saw my original sketches...) but I had a starting point; I had the basic features my concept required. Next task was finding a CAD designer to put my basic sketch into some design software so that we could work on the design.
By chance, many years earlier, I had visited a company in Santa Barbara that specialized in making high quality, durable cases; primarily for the medical industry and government/military. The materials used by this company and their technique in forming would lend themselves very well to my concept. Were they still in business? Would they take me on as a client? As good fortune would have it the company where still in full swing and they agreed to work with me with finalizing my design and prototyping.
So my first word of encouragement to those of you with an idea is to explore who may already have the facilities and expertise to work with you on your prototype, and eventually manufacture for you. Many manufactures in the USA have existing capacity, experience and the skills you need. They maybe making something completely different currently but the fit maybe there to work with you too! It's a great starting place.
My next 'good fortune' was that I found a group called the Inventors Workshop International (IWI) and as luck would have it this international non-profit group is headquartered in Santa Barbara, and believe it or not, is located one block from the manufacturing company I mentioned! My background is IT and Sales; I am totally new to design, manufacturing and retail and I had never thought I would ever be inventing anything. IWI is a wonderful organization that supports people to fully explore their idea for a new concept, be it a physical product, intellectual property, or a non-profit... This organization was very instrumental in guiding me through the process of bring my idea to fruition and continues to support me through these early days of my new business. See IWI: http://www.inventorsworkshop.info/index.php I have worked with two other good organizations that support individuals wishing to start up their own business and they are SCORE and WEV
SCORE, Counselors to America's Small Businesses, is a nonprofit association dedicated to entrepreneur education and the formation, growth and success of small business nationwide. SCORE is a resource partner with the U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) http://sbscore.org/about_score.html
WEV: Womens Economic Ventures Women’s Economic Ventures (WEV, pronounced “weave”) is a local, non-profit organization dedicated to creating a just and equitable society through the economic empowerment of women. http://www.wevonline.org/
With the support of a local manufacturer willing to work with me on my prototype, and IWI, my idea now had wings...