A lot has been said about mom inventors who came up with ideas to solve problems that revolved around parenting, but there are plenty of hands-on dads who have come up with their own solutions to problems that involve their kids. Here are three examples of dad inventors who have done just that.
Pilot, Wes Warner, watched in frustration one day as his 4 year old son struggled to tie a latex party balloon. He tried tying it himself and realized that even he was having a hard time getting it tied. Then, in what seems like an obvious “ah ha” moment, he wondered if there wasn’t a way to self-seal the balloon so you didn’t have to tie it at all. That’s when he contacted his business partner and fellow pilot, Troy Stark to do a little brainstorming.
The first thing they wanted to find out was whether the idea already existed or not. They did some research and found out that other people had attempted to solve the same problem, but none of them were ever economically feasible. They wanted a solution that was both inexpensive and simple.
They found out that by being co-inventors they both came up with different solutions to the problem. After months of testing, they settled on a non-toxic adhesive that allows you to stretch out the balloon and simply squeeze to seal it.
The glooeys project became a family affair for Wes and his two sons, and Troy and his daughter. All of the kids were put to work testing prototypes and making You Tube videos. Their “work” usually involved a backyard BBQ or party.
“I’m thinking about the future for my daughter,” says Stark, ” Some day she’s going to take over the business”. The Warner family is also looking forward to their new entrepreneurial endeavor. “The boys have been a huge part of the prototype testing”, says Warner. “Without their help, we wouldn’t be this far.”
The glooeys patented technology will completely disrupt the balloon industry. Balloons of the future will all be self-sealing and the time, energy and frustration of tying balloon knots will be a thing of the past.
Dad and inventor Bryan Lifshitz knows that necessity is the father of invention. He and his 2 brother co-inventors have eight kids between them and have given more than their share of piggyback rides. But when those piggyback rides got longer and longer, they decided to come up with an alternative to help them out a little. That’s when the Piggyback Rider was born.
The Piggyback Rider is like a platform step that goes on a parent’s back and has the kid strapped in, so they can see over mom or dad’s shoulder. The parent is able to do this hands-free without having to hold the kid up.
The brothers spent over a year developing an ergonomic design that allows the parent to stand up straight without putting any strain on their back. And the device can hold up to 60 lbs.
Like all inventors who create something totally new and unique, there is a learning curve. The brothers started off by packaging the product in a large, multi-colored box, but eventually found a more cost-effective solution by putting it in a plastic bag with a zipper at the top and a hanger. Inside there is a full color insert with a QR code that takes the customer to a video that explains more about how the product works. This was a better way to interact with their customer and get them more involved with the product.
With any new invention you are introducing something innovative that’s never been done before. Therefore you have to spend time and money educating the customer about your product. According to Bryan, “You can either do that by spending an enormous amount of money on advertising or you can grow your brand organically by getting it into the hands of the right influencers who love and need your product. They will be the ones who will spread the word.”
The Piggyback Rider started off in brick and mortar stores, but has found more success online, even expanding into other countries.
When Brian Hooks and his daughter Lily were cleaning their porch one spring morning, they probably never imagined they would come up with a new invention that would be on Shark Tank. Lily had the job of cleaning candle wax off of the table and Brian had the job of patching up a hole in the screen. While Lily was having trouble getting the wax off the table, Brian was having trouble getting a patch to stay on the screen because the adhesive wasn’t strong enough to hold it.
So Lily suggested they combine the problems to come up with a solution. “Why not put some candle wax on the screen?” Lily said. And that’s how Screen Mend was started.
Their inventing method is actually something many inventors have used to come up with innovative, new ideas. Combining ideas to come up with something totally unique that never existed before.
It’s not the first business Brian had started. He started several Internet businesses out of necessity since his day job as a pilot was only paying 90% of the bills.
Brian suggests that up and coming inventors and entrepreneurs just keep coming up with ideas and keep trying to launch them. Some will work and some won’t. “You never know which one will launch a new career”, says Brian. He suggests that inventors at least get their products on Amazon and start testing them out to see what works.
You can find Screen Mend at Home Depot, Staples, Bed Bath and Beyond, and at many local hardware stores.