Hi, my name is Mark...
I'm the inventor of the Budwrap, a silicone wristband that holds earphones. I'm just an average guy who was lucky enough to pursue my idea (starting in my kitchen with some oven-baked clay as a prototype). I hope you find some interest in my story below, and hey...you might even find some inspiration to follow your own dream, whatever that may be!
I'm a graphic designer and digital media teacher in Texas. I've poured my blood, sweat and tears into every step of the Budwrap product development…boy have I learned a lot. My hope is that other inventors and entrepreneurs-at-heart will find inspiration in my humble beginnings on a limited budget. My belief is that anyone can come up with a simple invention if they truly think outside of the box.
I guess you can say that I’m the stereotypical inventor who always tore that random gadget apart so I could figure out how the silly thing worked. I’ve always loved art, thinking creatively, and finding odd ways to make money. My mind is never satisfied with the idea that everything’s already been thought of…there’s always a new idea right around the corner just waiting to be discovered.
The idea of the Budwrap came after several weeks of realizing I needed to come up with something simple, but brilliant of course, in order to make money. In the past, I always had elaborate ideas for creating wealth but most of my thinking involved too much time, money, and risk to even think about taking first steps. So, instead of buying a retail building and making it into a winter wonderland for Texans to enjoy (during the middle of summer), I needed to tone it down a bit. My thinking needed to be more realistic.
“Just a simple product, not too expensive to manufacture and easy to ship to someone’s doorstep,” were my thoughts. If only I could dedicate my mind to this concept and think about it hard enough I could come up with an awesome idea! My mind was racing throughout the night and the next day just trying to think of something - anything - that could solve a common problem and make life a little bit easier. Then one morning at the beginning of the school day (my first year as a high school teacher), I walked from my car to the front of the school and saw many students wearing two popular things…earbuds and silicone bracelets. Bingo! The idea hit me like a swift slap across the face as if the idea was staring me down the entire time -- "I can re-invent the silicone bracelet to manage earbud cords!" And that very morning the Budwrap was born!
Thousands of people claim to have the next million dollar idea, right? But most people don't act upon their "flash of genius" and just let the idea linger in their head. Then you see one of those pitchmen on TV spouting everything off about YOUR idea..."but wait, there's more." I was bound and determined to never let this happen with the Budwrap, so I vowed to pursue this idea to the very end. And thankfully, that's exactly what I've been able to do. From prototyping and design, talking with intellectual property lawyers, filing for patents and trademarks, dealing with manufacturers and ramping up for production, to designing my own logo/packaging/website - it’s been quite an unforgettable journey. And it's worth every minute of it! Even if I don't make a dime from my idea, it's still worth the education and satisfaction of knowing that I've followed my dream.
Update: the Budwrap project was successful on Kickstarter.com and I'm in the marketing and distribution phase of my little business.
Like most inventors, I didn't know where to get started so I made a few sketches hoping to make sense of my jumbled thoughts. Then I made my first prototype out of sculptor’s clay and baked it in the oven to harden it. I've probably had at least 15 more prototypes since then. I used Google Sketchup, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe Photoshop to create my first design renderings. Then I found a very reliable Solidworks designer (I found the designer on Craigslist) to design my first 3D model of the Budwrap. It took hours and hours of trial and error and working with my Solidworks guy before I finally came up with something that was suitable for manufacturing. I thought, “Okay, the hard part is over and now I just need to get it manufactured.” Hah!
There are hundreds of thousands of manufacturers for millions of different products and they are all manufactured in a totally different way. I knew my product needed to be injection molded, but I didn’t know how to start or who to contact. After many, many quotes from manufacturers across the country and abroad, I finally settled on a plastics and rubber manufacturer that met the quality and standards that I needed. And since I didn’t know anything about the manufacturing process I had to learn the lingo alon in order to communicate exactly what I needed. It’s taken me over three long years of design, redesign, two failed molds, and thousands of dollars to finally come up with a final design that works. Almost ready for mass production!
Update: I've now mass produced over 5,000 Budwraps and are available for purchase here on the site. Just click the red button in the top, right corner of the screen. I'm currently working on developing retail partners and other distribution channels...slowly but surely.
It's been a wonderful and challenging experience transforming the Budwrap - a simple idea in my head - into a tangible creation that's on the verge of being available for thousands to enjoy. But I’m still just another guy with an idea hoping to find success. I hope you can pursue your idea and find success too! Good luck!
Feel free to drop me a note below.