Interview with Aircut Inventor Norm Yerke

by Tara

Norm Yerke Inventor AircutMy thanks to Norm Yerke, inventor of the Aircut for taking the time to answer some questions about his invention. The Aircut is an easy to use home hair cutting system which collects hair clippings rather than scattering them via means of a vacuum.

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, your background and how you got started inventing?

Norm: I am from Waukesha, Wisconsin, I grew up in a very small town Cobb, Wisconsin, went to college for 1 ½ years, spent 6 years in Army…3 active…3 inactive….was in Corporate world first 19 years of my business career…started running companies when I was 26 years old….in the 80’s grew a pre engineered manufacturing company from $8 million in sales to $100 million and sold the company in 1989…..since 1985 have purchased/sold/started about 20 different companies.

Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about the Aircut, what it does, and how you came up with the idea?

Norm: I used the Flowbee for many years, started on the AirCut in August of 2008, brought it to market in September of 2009…..have not been to a barber in 20 years…..

Tara: What were the first steps you took after having your idea?

Norm: I ran an ad on www.craigslist.com for a mechanical engineer who wanted to earn “sweat equity” received about 30 resumes’ selected an engineer, told him if he gave me a working model, I would give him 10% of the company….he did….I did

Tara: Did you try and patent your idea straight away or did you develop it first? How did you go about getting protection for your idea?

Norm: Started patent process after I was into the AirCut for about 1 year….I trusted the people I was working with including a manufacturer in China

Tara: Did you get presentation drawing sheets produced or make a prototype for the Aircut?

Norme: I had a prototype made cost $25,000…..a second one made for $900

Tara: How did you go about promoting your idea, did you contact possible companies with the idea of licensing the Aircut or did you want to maintain control and manufacture and sell it yourself?

Norm: I maintain complete control throughout the process, I started the website in September of 2009, I only sell the AirCut on the internet

Tara: How long has it taken from your initial idea to taking it to market?

Norm: About 1 year

Tara: Where can your product be purchased from?

Norm: Only on the internet

Tara: What are your future hopes and plans for Aircut?

Norm: Continue to grow company on the internet

Tara: If you had to do it all again is there anything you would do differently?

Norm: The first prototype was too expensive…. I should have “shopped” it around more

Tara: What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?

Norm: Have a burning desire to bring it to market….this is very hard to do with any product….the AirCut is so unique, there is nothing like it in the marketplace, the reason it is so successful…

Tara: Do you have more ideas you hope to bring to market in the future?

Norm: I am currently working on a TV show that ties TV and internet together in a way that has never been done before….

Tara: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Norm: I always pray a lot for my companies/ideas….particularly to St. Joseph who is a great intercessor….that’s why he is called the “worker” here on earth

If you enjoyed this inventor interview you can read more here.

Are you an inventor with an interesting story to share, then please get in touch via the contact form or email tara (at) ideasuploaded (dot) com

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Russ December 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Tara- I currently work for Norm promoting the AirCut and I wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk to Norm and to post your interview. I hope that inventors with a new product coming to market can learn something from Norm’s thoughts, and feel free to contact me if you would like to guest post on our blog. Thanks!

~Russ, Marketing Manager, AirCut

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Tara1 December 29, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Thanks Russ I appreciate your and Norms time to help.

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C.K. Leming December 31, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Hi Tara,

I joined your blog not long ago, and happened to stop by today. Great interview with Norm about his AirCut cutting system. I’m a hairstylist, and in fact, I have a unique hair idea at ww.geniuscrowds.com, which is in the prototyping and testing phase right now. (The Hair Squeegie). So it was serendipitous that I decided to revisit your blog this afternoon.

Congrats to Norm, and I hope he has continued success. My nephew is going to college, and he is living on a shoe-string with 2 other guys in an apartment. They would never think of it on their own, but if the 3 of them went in together to buy the AirCut, it would be the cost of about 2 haircuts for each of them (in my salon.) Unfortunately, I don’t imagine they’d think that far ahead. ;)

As a hairstylist, I can think of a couple of improvements upon the AirCut’s design that would eliminate the choppy *dip, dip, dip* action of the AirCut, as it isn’t cutting the hair evenly. But on men with short hair, it wouldn’t be all that noticeable. I didn’t see any straight edge razor attachments in the video for blocking off sideburns & the design line along the neck area. But again, I doubt the average “kitchen beautician” would realize it’s limitations. It’s interesting that the AirCut employs the exact techniques of its predecessor, The Flow-Bee Home Haircutting system. Although you had to hook this up to a vacuuam sweeper. And Norm has compacted his design to the size of small blow dryer. This would only work on men’s hair, and I think they pretty much sold it to their target customer in their video as such. There were no women in the ad. The “hopper” of the AirCut would immediately become clogged within minutes with lots more hair. But this would work well for 2 to 4 week trims on buzz cuts or very close-cropped hair.

Thanks for posting your interview – I enjoyed reading about another hair invention that is doing so well.

C.K. Leming

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Tara1 December 31, 2010 at 9:11 pm

Hi C.K Leming – congrats on your hair squeegie I hope it does really well I am looking forward to hearing about how your idea progresses, please keep me updated i would quite like to blog about it.
Hopefully Norm or Russ will see your suggestions too. Thanks again for taking the time to comment and have a great New Year :)

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C.K. Leming December 31, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Oh, Hi Tara~ I didn’t think you’d reply so quickly. :) Actually, I couldn’t help myself, and I used Russ’s link above to comment on the official AirCut blog. I’ll let you know if I receive a reply.

I think you’re a member at GC, and maybe that’s where I found your blog link. No, wait…..I think you may be one of my Facebook friends. Genius Crowds just shut down a lot of the threads today, as they are changing to an entirely new platform (with a fer-real discussion forum – yahoo!), tomorrow morning, January 1st. …..but you may be able to get to my Hair Squeegie submission page here:
http://www.geniuscrowds.com/topics/product/open/134

It might now still work. If you’d like me to email you the text & attach my drawings, I would be happy to do that for you. I would be honored to work on a blog article with you. The Hair Squeegie should be formally announced (one way or the other – depends on how the prototyping & testing phases go) by as soon as early next week, or at any time before the end of January. Who knows? There are 4 ideas in prototyping & testing right now, and as this will be their first products put into manufacturing & production, they probably want to get it exactly perfect.

Oh, my username at Genius Crowds is RapunzeL.

Happy New Year to you!

C.K. Leming (RapunzeL)

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Tara1 January 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

Hi Again :) CK Leming (Rapunzel)

I connected with you on Facebook after seeing you on Genius Crowds – I tried putting in my Volcano Toy idea in the open submissions. I also interviewed CK Kettler one of the founders of Genius Crowds on one of my podcasts and mentioned your squeegie. Your links still works and I would love to hear your story of how it progresses and blog about it – maybe we could do a question answers thing :) as it progresses to market (fingers crossed).

All the best

Tara

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C.K. Leming January 1, 2011 at 3:51 pm

Re-hi, Tara,

Absolutely, I would love to do that. I emailed CJ Kettler, to ask her if she could provide me with more information on the progress of the Hair Squeegie. When she gets back to me, I’ll contact you. Would you like me to do that by private message on Facebook? I don’t see a contact link here on your website. But you have my email addy.

I have to admit, I went to the AirCut website and watched their commercial, instead of watching Norm’s video above. Norm is much more “deft” with the AirCut than the actors in the commercial on the official AirCut website (from a hairstylist’s point of view) ;)

Oh, yes, of course, I remember your Volcano Toy! By the way, on January 11, we start a Babies & Preschoolers “call-out”. You should resubmit your idea. ;)

Can you tell me where your podcasts are archived, so I can hear your interview with CJ Kettler from Genius Crowds?

Hope to be getting together with you soon!

C. K.

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Tara1 January 1, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Hi C.K.

That would be great thanks – there is a contact menu on the top menu of my site but it’s tara (at) ideasuploaded (dot) com. The podcasts you can aso find through the top menu http://ideasuploaded.com/category/podcasts/ and more written inventor interviews can be found here http://ideasuploaded.com/inventor-interviews/ (I have more interviews on the way too, and more blog posts from me after the break). I think the volcano might be a bit old for preschoolers but thanks for the suggestion. Look forward to talking to you soon.
Best
Tara

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C.K. Leming January 2, 2011 at 6:12 am

Tara,

I tried to post a link to your blog and C.J.’s interview on Genius Crowds, but they must be in the midst of changing over the platform tonight. I will do that as soon as they get the new website loaded. I’m sure that almost all the Genius Crowds members would be most interested in this information. If you would like any more interview subjects, I’m sure that any one of them would be happy to oblige, when they get their products chosen for Genius Picks on January 11. Okay, I’m going to stop taking up all your bandwidth here. ;)

Have a great night,

C.K.

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Russ January 3, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Hello Tara and C.K.- C.K. I have replied to your comments on our blog, and thank you. While i grat you that you cannot take 3 or 4 inches of hair off at one pass with the AirCut, we’ve had great success with men’s and women’s haircuts as long as the hair is 4″ or less in length. Please feel free to email Norm at nyerke[at]aircut[dot]com with specific questions. Thank you! ~Russ

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C.K. Leming January 3, 2011 at 8:40 pm

Hi again, Russ. Yes, I read the reply on your blog…..thank you! Thanks also for Norm’s contact information. I’d like to keep up with him & the success of the AirCut. We hairstylists love a great time-saving product as much as the “kitchen beauticians” do! ;)

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