My thanks to Johnny Smith from www.hammerbumper.com for agreeing to be interviewed about his invention, the hammer bumper
The hammer bumper is a product which allows a hammer to be converted into a mallet quickly and easily, ideal for DIY enthusiast and tradesmen.
Tara: Please could you tell me a bit about you and your background (ie.where you are based, what you trained in, what you do now and if you have invented anything before)
Johnny: I am from Fairmount, IN. A carpenter by trade for the past 25 years. My first invention!
Tara: Please could young tell me how and why you came up with the idea for the hammer bumper?
Johnny: While on my job site working, I was looking around for something soft to use up against what I was about to use my hammer on, to avoid damaging it’s finished surface with my hammer. I have my tool belt on which has my hammer holder and pockets for nails, screws, other tools etc. I normally don’t bother carrying a rubber mallet around with me because I only have one place on my tool belt, and that’s for my hammer, so it hit me that I need something that will fit in the pocket of my tool belt that I can pull out, and use on my hammer when needed.
Tara: What were the first steps you took after having your idea?
Johnny: I went home and decided to make my own prototype to see how it will work. I used a foam cup and a 2 part urethane sealant mix that feels like rubber when it cures, I mixed the sealant, poured it in the cup, let it set for a couple days, peeled the cup off around it, drilled a hole part way through it just a little smaller then my hammer head, shaped it with my belt sander, and there it was, worked great! Then thought of the name Hammer Bumper for it on the same day.
Tara: Did you try and patent or protect your idea in any way?
Johnny: Yes! that was the first thing I did before showing or even talking about it to anyone.
Tara: Did you produce presentation drawing sheets or have a prototype made for your idea?
Johnny: Made it myself! It was fairly easy since it has no functional parts to it.
Tara: How did you go about promoting your idea and getting it to market?
Johnny: I took my prototypes to the Inpex Invention Trade Show to see what kind of response I would get from others, I got a great response, and even won a silver medal award. After the showing my Hammer Bumper I then took it to a few manufacturing company’s to get a price on what it would take to produce it, picked a manufacturing company, made some new prototypes for the purpose of making the molds. Took the new prototypes to a packaging company close to home to do the packaging and order fulfillment. Once the molds were complete and my first shipment of hammer bumpers were delivered and packaged I then started sending samples out to some online retail stores, took them around to some small retail stores in my home area, passed sample out at a couple of hardware shows, found a few Sales Rep’s that were interested in working with my Hammer Bumper, and this is pretty much where I am at.
Tara: How long did has it taken from your initial idea to your product being on the shelves?
Johnny: About two and a half years.
Tara: Where can your product be purchased and what are your future hopes for your invention?
Johnny: Purchase on the Hammer Bumper Website also I have posted other places to purchase on my website. I have been adding them as I go. My future hopes are to get my Hammer Bumper into some of the big hardware chains.
Tara: If you had to do it all again is there anything you would do differently?
Tara: What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?
Johnny: Patent search & protection first. Do a lot of researching on the internet, about licensing, inventing, getting your idea to the market. What to do! / What not to do! etc. Beware of those company’s who ask for money up front to help get your idea to the market.
Tara: Are you planning to extend your range with more new innovative ideas?
Johnny: Yes! I have a few others but I need to get one up and going first to finance the others.
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