In this inventor interview Carla Leming explains how she came up with the idea for her invention the Speed Bather
Carla: Name: Carla Leming, Invention: The Speed Bather, Website URL: www.PetEdge.com
Page on PetEdge website where the Speed Bather is for sale: http://www.petedge.com/product/Master-Grooming-Tools-Speed-Bather-Bathing-Tools/58807.uts
Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, your background experience and how you first started inventing?
Carla: I live in Mattoon, Illinois, a small town located in the central part of the state. I’m presently a hairstylist, but I’ve also dabbled in other lines of work, such as singing in a band, being a dance instructor and working as a graphic artist at a printing company. I seem to be drawn to jobs that give me a creative outlet. I’ve always noticed improvements or changes I’d like to make to product designs, but never had an outlet until crowdsourcing websites began to spring up online.
Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about your invention, what it is, and how you came up with the idea?
Carla: The Speed Bather is a dual-purpose dog bathing tool with flexible silicone fingers on one side for working shampoo deep into the fur when lathering. The opposite side of the tool has silicone “fins” to squeegee excess water down the drain before towel-drying. The idea for this dog bathing tool came to me when using multiple towels to dry off my long-aired dog after her bath. I knew there had to be a way to flush a good deal of this water down the drain, before I began toweling her off. A slick squeegee with a scalloped edge came to mind, and the Speed Bather was born – and much thanks be given to Genius Crowds for refining my original vision into a sleek quality product.
Tara: Did you create a roughy prototype or drawings to test out and present your ideas?
Carla: I didn’t make a prototype, but I did use my drawing program to make illustrations for the “Dog Squeegee”, as it was originally titled. When I began refining my idea, I added the silicone shampooing “fingers” to make the tool dual-purpose.
Tara: You submitted your idea to Genius Crowds and it won, please can you tell me a bit about it works?
Carla: At Genius Crowds, the panel of judges are constantly looking over new and old submissions for ideas that catch their interest. My dog bathing tool wasn’t selected for a contract until many months after it had been submitted to a Pets call-out round. All ideas are free to submit at GC, and the generous community members offer input and suggestions to help ideas along.
Tara: You submit a lot of ideas, have you got any tips for coming up with original ideas, what is your process?
Carla: I wish I could say I have a definitive creative process when it comes to product ideas, but I don’t. Mostly, my ideas are inspired by a problem I’d like to solve that I’ve recently been reminded of during my daily life. Sometimes my ideas are completely unique and others are just improvements on existing gadgets and devices used every day.
Tara: After your idea was chosen as as a winner, what was the process from this point, did you get involved with further design input?
Carla: After receiving email notification that Genius Crowds has selected your idea as a prototype contender, you will be emailed a copy of their contract to sign and return. I have two other contracts with Genius Crowds, and during the months after being selected, I’ve been kept in the loop on their progress, when there was news to be shared. With all three of my selected ideas, I’ve been asked to send new drawings or been contacted for more input on each of those chosen ideas.
Tara: What are the pros and cons of submitting ideas to sites like Genius Crowds rather than developing it or licensing it yourself.
Carla: For me, invention websites are ideal, because I am not much of a gambler. I would be extremely reluctant to financially back one of my ideas that could end up costing our life’s savings. I’m still amazed at the number of ideas I think are sure-fire winners, that have been passed over time and again. Obviously, the professionals on the judging panels know a lot more about the marketplace than I do.
Tara: What happens now, will you have a share of royalties in the product sales?
Carla: I will get a 25% share of the royalties paid to Genius Crowds. I’m looking forward to receiving my first check in the mail – no matter what the amount. It will be a thrill to know that my two years of submitting ideas will give me a return on my time invested.
Tara: What are your future invention plans and dreams?
Carla: My future plans are to take the time to learn at least one of the many 3D drawing programs I’ve bought or downloaded. I’ve been using a very old version of Microsoft Publisher for my illustrations, and I’d like to be able to submit more professional presentations of my ideas.
Tara: What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?
Carla: Don’t become married to an idea that doesn’t seem to get the attention you think it deserves. Use that creative energy to move onto other problems that need to be solved. One day, you’ll hit upon a solution that will resonate with the buying public!
Tara: Where can people find out more about you your invention?
Carla: The Speed Bather can be found here on the PetEdge website: https://www.petedge.com/product/Master-Grooming-Tools-Speed-Bather-Bathing-Tools/58807.uts
PetEdge is a wholesale company that sells to professional pet groomers and to independent pet supply stores all over the world.
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