Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, your background experience and how you first started inventing (ie. was the Cosmo Finger Guard your first invention)?
Hally Norton is based in Cedar Rapids, IA and has been a licensed professional cosmetologist for the last 24 years and is currently a master designer. This is her first invention. Hally does have a business partner behind the scenes who assisted with the business plan, filing the patent, glove material, manufacturing and marketing. However Hally is responsible for the design and shape the half palm, fingerless glove you see today known as The Original Cosmo Finger Guard.
Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about the Cosmo Finger Guard, what it is and how you came up with the idea?
The idea come from the fact that Hally had just cut her self to the point where she needed stitches. This was not the first time she had to make an Emergency Room visit. She has lost count of the actual number of times over the years she has received a cut. When I found out I asked what her if there is anything available to wear to prevent the cuts. And there isn’t anything on the market that is designed for a Cosmetologist in mind. Gloves are available gloves to protect there hands from chemicals but that is it. This is when I decided to make one ourselves. The original Cosmo Finger Guard is a two finger, half palm cut resistant glove designed to add a layer of protection to the fingers to reduce the risk of cuts.
Tara: What were the first steps you took after having your idea?
The first steps we took was to research available materials that are available today that are used for cut resistant applications for hands. Such as the materials used for cutting culinary, industrial applications and law enforcement cut resistant gloves. So finding the right fabric and yarn actually was not that difficult and was readily available. We just needed to find a manufacture who would be willing to work with us in a confidential manner to create samples and various designs to test. We ended up with about 6 different styles and shapes in the beginning which was back in October/November of 2010 and after a year of testing we finally decided on the two finger half Palm glove made (HMWPE) High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Fiber.
Tara: Did you try and patent or protect your idea straight away or did you develop it first?
Yes we decided to file a provisional patent right away to get the design on record. How did you go about getting protection for your idea?
In addition to filing the provisional patent we asked everyone we talked with to sign Non Disclosures in advance. This included the individual we received 3D drawings from, the manufacturer, the company we receive are materials from and our web design team. No one objected and everyone was OK with it and understood.
Tara: Did you get presentation drawing sheets produced or make a prototype of the Cosmo Finger Guard, how did you go about it?
Yes as I mentioned we had professional 3D renderings made, as well as dozens of samples and prototypes. Making contact with the right people was a combination of friends in the business world, co workers and a lot of time researching the Internet and making phone calls.
Tara: Did you look into licensing Cosmo Finger Guard or was it always your intention to manufacture and sell it yourself?
We started out and are currently selling the product ourselves online and business to business. However we realize it is in our interest to expand and have different sources of distribution. We are currently in talks with a few distributors who have shown interest in carrying our product and have a larger presence in the Hair Styling industry.
Tara: Did you fund the development of the product yourself or take on outside investment?
We currently are fundng this ourselves.
Tara: What have you found are the most successful ways of promoting the Cosmo Finger Guard?
Having a web site built by professional who understands online marketing and search engine optimization. We have also promoted Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. We started with phone calls to potential large clients and started shipping out samples to test and we are still in the middle of that sales process and promoting it. We have personally went out and visited the salons in our area and dropped samples and talked with salon stylists and owners. Email marketing is something we have been doing as well. targeting owners and corporate salons.
Tara: What were the most difficult elements of bringing your product to market?
I would have to say finding a manufacturer who had the right equipment to make a half palm two finger glove. Since this is a non traditional design. The second most difficult thing we experienced was getting the different sizes of gloves made to fit small and large hands and strong enough to withstand a nick or cut without taking away from the flexibility of finger movement. We needed it to still be somewhat thin and not big and bulky. then we needed to keep in mind we have to deal with germs. So we also needed an antimicrobial fiber and washable. We also decided to go with an ambidextrous style.
Tara: How long has it taken from your initial idea to taking it to market?
We started in October of 2010 and went to market at the end of August 2011.
Tara: Is there anything you learned developing the Cosmo Finger Guard that you would now do differently if you had to do it all again?
We honestly had very good support along the way and everyone was very helpful. So we were pretty lucky to be surrounded by the right people. We had to keep everything hush until we was ready.
Tara: What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?
If you feel you have a product or idea and have researched the market very well…we say go for it. However do not get in any hurry and take your time and test, test, test. Make sure you use Non Disclosures, get the patent filed and surround yourself with professionals who can answer your questions and have been there before.
Tara: Where can people connect with you and find out more about Cosmo Finger Guard?
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