Tara; Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, your background and how you first started inventing? (ie. was Ninadog your first invention)
Eduardo: Right now we are based in Memphis, TN (USA). I’ve always been creative, but have somehow not pursued those interests until I met my business partner. At that point we formed our Idea Factory and made it a point to turn our ideas into reality, have fun and even make a profit and quit our “daytime jobs”. The Ninadog Hydration System is our second developed invention and we have a list of 20 or so more ideas and products to develop.
Tara: Please could you explain what the NinaDog is, and how you came up with the idea?
Eduardo: The NinaDog is a Portable Hydration System for pets. The system can be attached to a leash, backpack or clipped on the waist for ease of transport. This system eliminates the need to carry a separate water bowl or sharing the owner’s drink with the pet, you can dispense water to your pet without unpacking or even stopping your activity.
The Ninadog HS consists of a water reservoir, an outer case with multiple mounting options and a water delivery tube. The water reservoir and tube are made of safe FDA (BPA free) materials for you pet’s safety.
One hot summer day, back in 2010, my business partner was proudly walking his brand new English bulldog puppy, Nina. In the searing Memphis heat, he noticed Nina constantly panting and trying to make her way to a nearby pond to take a drink of water. Not wanting his new (and spoiled) puppy to drink out of the dirty pond, he, in a stroke of genius, filled an empty (and clean) doggie waste-bag with clean water from his bottle and tied it to the leash. He poked a hole in the corner of the bag and dispensed water to Nina when and where she needed it. After each drink, he tied a knot on the corner of the bag and continued his leisurely stroll. A few revisions to the design and the NinaDog™ Portable Pet Hydration System was born.
Tara: What were the first steps you took after having your idea?
Eduardo: The first thing we did was to have a “brainstorming” session to get our arms around the concept. I then bought a neoprene laptop case, camping shower, thread and needles and built a mock-up prototype of what we had in mind. Concurrently we contacted our IP lawyers to draft and file a provisional patent, as well as register the trademark NinaDog
Tara: Did you create drawings or prototypes for the NinaDog? How did you go about it, did you hand make the prototypes?
Eduardo: Yes, as above, I hand made our first prototype by cutting up a laptop sleeve and sewing it into a case, then the camping shower was cut up until I had something that resembled the bladder (water reservoir), attached a tube and valve to it; and that was it…it was not a working prototype, but it was a great way to relay the idea to our factory, as well as to our lawyer for IP protection. This in addition to drawings specifying the details, functionality and aesthetics were used to commission a factory to make prototypes for us. We had 3 prototypes made by the factory until we finalized the design, colors and functionality of the Ninadog.
Tara: Did you try and patent or protect your idea straight away or did you develop it first? How did you go about getting protection for your idea?
Eduardo: As soon as we defined the concept and did a preliminary patent search, we went to our IP team for immediate protection (provisional patent and trademark registration). In addition to this, we kept very good records of all the steps and dates of the invention.
Tara: Did you look into licensing NinaDog or was your intention to always manufacture and sell it yourself?
Eduardo: Our intent was to start a pet products company and grow the NinaDog brand, but we are always open to suitable licensing deals, especially in markets we cannot service.
Tara: Did you seek investment for NinaDog or did you fund development yourself?
Eduardo: We funded the development ourselves, a little bit out of every paycheck.
Tara: How long has it taken from your initial idea to taking it to market?
Eduardo: We managed to run into every possible obstacle and it was a great learning experience, so it took us 1 year. Looking back we could probably complete the development in under 6 months.
Tara: How are you going to promote NinaDog
Eduardo: We are using a multi-prong approach, developing a social networking presence (Facebook, Twitter and YouTube), a website and web-store. On the “ground” we attend dog competitions and shows, sponsor agility teams and donate our product to Search and Rescue K-9 units. In addition a % every NinaDog sold goes to support and promote responsible pet shelters, pet adoptions, spay and neuter campaigns and pet rescue efforts…and word of mouth, of course.
Tara: Is there anything you learned developing NinaDog that you would now do differently if you had to do it all again?
Eduardo: Many lessons were learned, we’re even thinking of writing a book on the story of Ninadog with all the obstacles, failures and wins, especially how NOT to invent something.
First, for us was to get a lawyer for our trademark registration, we tried to do it ourselves and ended up with a notice of trademark infringement. We had to change our name, this time we did it correctly and engaged our IP lawyer.
We also learned that any idea can be developed (if you can think it, you can do it) and that there is a market for almost everything.
Tara: What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?
Eduardo: Go for it, with passion…this way all obstacles will seem smaller and surmountable, and they will be.
Believe in you idea and others will believe with you.
Visualize your idea in the market and how well it will perform.
Have a “concept to market” plan with all the steps necessary and in the right order.
Tara: Where can NinaDog be purchased from and where can people connect with you?
Eduardo: Right now the NinaDog is available (worldwide) online at our Amazon webstore and also look for it at your local pet supply shop.
Are you an inventor with an interesting story to share? Please get in touch via the contact form or email tara (at) ideasuploaded (dot) com