Tara: Please could you tell me a bit about your background – is it in inventing/product design or a similar area?
Jason: I have little to no experience or background with inventing and product design other than a great imagination and the ability to look at the world and the things in it with an open mind.
Tara: Please could young tell me how and why you came up with the idea for Chug Racer the battery operated drinking game?
Jason: When I set out to invent, I prefer the ideas to come to me without direction, but in this case, Edison Nation (www.edisonnation.com) had partnered with Spencers Gifts and was searching for the next BIG light product. Edison Nation has always been a valuable source of information for inventors and a place for the community of inventors to come together. I knew a large portion of Spencer Gifts product line dealt with drinking products so I decided to find an idea that incorporated lights and drinking. As a former college student I remember the days of “chugging” beers and thought the competitive racing aspect would lead to a great game. Unfortunately…or fortunately as it turned out, Edison Nation decided that the game wasn’t right for the search.
Tara: What were the first steps you took after having your idea?
Jason: First step for any of my ideas is to make sure it isn’t already out there. I think this is a step that most inventors either overlook, or don’t spend enough time on. There’s no sense spending hours, days, and weeks on an idea that already exists. I personally find Google Images invaluable for this. Just type in a few key words and you’ll have access to hundreds of images that share those same key words. I find it quicker than a standard search engine search, because visually, you can move along and also gain inspiration from similar images. After a few searches using different key words and combination of key words, I use Google Patents. I will be the first to tell you that my patent searching skills are far from perfect, but it will give you the ability to see ideas/inventions that may not be available from any other search. Some people make the mistake of thinking because they haven’t seen it, it hasn’t been invented. There are probably thousands, if not millions of great ideas that have been patented, but may never see the light of day.
From there, I doodle and sketch how I envision it to look and go back to Google Images. I download and save any images containing aspects of what I envision my idea to look like. Having no experience with any graphical programs, I use MS Paint to crop, copy, and paste bits and pieces from different images to create an image. I then use MS Word to write a brief description.
Tara: Did you try and patent or protect your idea in any way?
Jason: I am from the school of Roger Brown. If you are not familiar with Roger (www.rogerbrown.net), he is a successful inventor who chooses the route of licensing. Where patenting can gain you security, it is costly. Roger has taught me ways to protect myself, without the cost of patents. Where this method doesn’t offer you as much security as a patent, it does allow you to pursue more ideas with less cost. My philosophy is the more ideas you can pitch, the more likely you are to have one a success.
Tara: Did you produce presentation drawing sheets or have a prototype made for your idea?
Jason: My skills for making presentation drawing sheets, or sell sheets is far from professional, but I think it improves with each one. I think a sell sheet is a great way of conveying your idea.
I LOVE prototyping. A prototype will gain you more knowledge about your idea than any drawing will. Prototypes often lead you back to adjusting the product design and perfecting the end product.
Tara: How did you go about promoting your idea and getting it to market?
Jason: As part of my agreement with Spencer Gifts, I received a Designer’s Fee and signed over all rights to Chug Racer to them. Being the first idea I had the opportunity to get to market, I felt it was the best route to go. The promoting and marketing was left up to the experts…Spencers.
Tara: How long did has it taken from your initial idea to your product being on the shelves?
Jason: Approximately a year and a half.
Tara: Where can your product be purchased and what are your future hopes for your product?
Jason: Currently Chug Racer is available at Spencer Gifts in malls across the country.
Tara: If you had to do it all again is there anything you would do differently?
Jason: Its hard to say. Sure there were mistakes made…lots of them, but maybe some of those mistakes are the reason I was able to get my product to market.
Tara: What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?
Jason: Have fun!! If you think you are going to come up with a million dollar idea, you’re likely to fail. There are little products out there that we need to survive. It is our nature to fall in love with our ideas and think everyone will want one, that’s not always the case. Also, I know a lot of inventors who don’t know when to let an idea die. They’ll spend money and time on an idea that shouldn’t ever see the light of day.
Tara: Are you working on more invention ideas, would you like to make this your full time career?
Jason: I’d love to be a full time inventor, but that’s unlikely to happen. I am constantly working on several ideas at once. I am currently working on another idea for Spencer Gifts and has gained some initial interest by their CEO and from one of their buyers.
All images © Jason Garcia, all rights reserved
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