Jason Garcia was kind enough to do a previous inventor interview with me about his first successful invention and so I was really keen to find out how his approach had changed with the experience he gained for his second novelty invention the MugCuff.
Tara: Your first invention the Chug Racer was taken on by Spencers gifts. Why did you decide to stay in the novelty gifts niche with your new idea?
Jason: To be honest…its fun. What’s greater than thinking up ideas that result in people having fun. I’d love to have success with a new kitchen gadget or come up with the next big As Seen On TV product, but until that day comes, I’ll gladly sharpen my product designing and inventing skills coming up with something that makes people smile.
Tara: How did you come up with the idea for MugCuff?
Jason: While researching another novelty idea I came across photos on Google Images of college students with 40oz beer bottles duct taped to their hands. I didn’t know it at the time, but they were playing a cult game called Edward 40 Hands where 40oz beer bottles are taped to your hand and can’t be removed till you finished them. The pictures depicted people trying to do everything from eating, to playing cards, to dancing…all with these bottles taped to their hands. I thought that the a product that keep your drink literally “at hand” would make for a fun and interesting time. Designs evolved from standard beer mug with a handcuff through the handle to the finished design where the handle is made up of one half of the handcuff.
Tara: What steps did you take after having your idea and did this vary to what you did with your first idea?
Jason: With MugCuffs vs. Chug Racer it was something that I knew I could prototype and test. The first thing I did was to set out to the Dollar Store where I was able to make a prototype for under $1.50 from a mug and a plastic pair of toy handcuffs. With little effort, a Dremel Tool and my glue gun, I was able to touch and feel my idea. Having the prototype allowed me to test it and gain feedback from trusted friends and family. The thing with the prototype was that people got it instantly, a sure sign of an effective product. It also allowed me to take pictures that I later sent to contacts I had established at Spencer Gifts.
Tara: Spencers Gifts have also taken on your MugCuff idea and brought it to Market, did you consider approaching any other companies too?
Jason: At the time, Spencer Gifts was the only company I knew in the novelties industry. They were a major player and I knew their reputation. I have since learned of other companies and manufacturers who deal in novelties and won’t hesitate to use them.
Tara: With your previous idea for the Chug Racer you received a design fee from Spencer’s gifts, did you do the same with the MugCuff or did you license the idea?
Jason: Although I was looking for a licensing deal this time, I wasn’t able to get one. Spencer Gifts normally deals with manufacturers or finished products. Taking on the risk and responsibility of an untested product doesn’t allow them much flexibility. I was glad to have the opportunity to bring my second product to market and glad for it to be done through such a successful and reputable company as Spencer Gifts.
Tara: Have you found since your first idea that you are more confident in selling in your ideas and negotiating a deal?
Jason: I continue to learn from one idea to the next. Some mistakes I made with Chug Racer, I’ve been able to correct with MugCuffs and other mistakes and successes have arised. Not only am I getting paid to do what I love, but I’m also getting a valuable education.
Tara: What are you future invention plans are you sticking with the novelty niche or looking at other areas too?
Jason: I go where my mind takes me. I have inventions and product designs in a variety of genre. I love inventions that solve problems and make the world and things we do in it easier and more enjoyable. Novelties will always hold a special place with me. Novelties and those who invent or design products for the industry don’t get the respect they deserve. Everyone thinks that novelties is an easy industry, but it is a fickle one. Its an industry that changes daily and what is hot today, is not tomorrow.
Tara: Where can people find out more about you and the MugCuff?
MugCuffs is currently available in Spencer Gifts in malls near you and for under ten dollars you can go in and support your fellow inventor. Who knows, with any luck they’ll sell out and have to make it available on their site http://www.spencersonline.com
UPDATE: MugCuff is now available online at Spencers Gifts