My thanks to Nancy Tedeschi from EyeEgo, inventor of Snap-it-Screw for taking the time to do an interview about her experience of bringing her invention idea to market. Nancy contacted me recently to let me know that she has some more great news that has just received an order from Walgreens with several more large retailers close to placing orders. Nancy has also said she would be happy giving advice to novice inventors if anyone wanted to get in touch with her.
Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, your background, and if the Snap-it Screw is your first invention idea?
Nancy: My name is Nancy Tedeschi and I am based out of East Wenatchee, Washington. My background is that I owned a title insurance company for 20 years in upstate NY. I moved to East Wenatchee in November of 2009 to join my sister who has lived there for 27 years. I have one son who just graduated from college. My invention actually came from another invention of mine. I will explain in the next question.
Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about the Snap-it Screw, and how you came up with the idea?
Nancy: Snapit is a screw that I invented to make it easy to repair you eyeglasses when them break. Here is the story.
My mother was doing volunteer work in a 3rd world country and she broke her glasses. She took her earring out of her ear and fixed here glasses. She had this beaded earring hanging from her glasses. People everywhere would stop her and ask her where she got it. After wearing it for about a year she came to me and said “you have to invent charms for eyeglasses.” So I started the process. I invented a washer that was double slotted that would fit over the little screw. One slot was round and the other was a slot. I invented a hook that fit in the slot and we made jewelry to hang on the hook and it fit in the slot. Everyone loved them but getting this washer on the screw and back in the glasses was next to impossible. So one day while doing this I thought why can’t I put a break away tab on the washer so I did this. Once I had the washer made it was easier to now hold the washer while dropping the screw into the washer and putting it back in the glasses. One day while doing this something click and I said well if I can put a break away tab on the washer why can’t I put one on the screw? So that is how snapit was born. I just received a notice of allowance from the patent office on my charms. It is true that necessity is the mother of invention.
Tara: What were the first steps you took after having your idea?
Nancy: I first had the screw drawn by a mechanical engineer to make sure it was possible.
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?
Nancy: I filed a provisional patent application and then went to work.
Tara: Did you get presentation drawing sheets produced or make a prototype for the Snap-it Screw?
Nancy: I called a screw manufacturer who was making eyeglass screws, set up a meeting to see if it was possible to make. He was a 5th generation manufacturer and had been producing eyeglass screws for his whole life and was very excited to see this screw. He said I invented a better mouse trap.
Tara: Did you look into licensing your Snap-it Screw or was your intention to always manufacture and sell it yourself?
Nancy: I did look into licensing and was originally going to do that. But once I realized what I had I decided to do the whole thing myself. It has been a learning experience that is hard to put into words. I have two manufacturers set up in China, a warehouse in Washington, a shipping company that brings them over to the US by sea.
Tara: How are you promoting the Snap-it Screw?
Nancy: I signed a distribution agreement with Optisource to bring the screw to the Optical industry in the US and Canada. They are selling the screws to the opticians only. I have since developed a consumer eyeglass repair kit that I am currently bringing to the the retail market. I have just hired a company to do an infomercial and I have been contacting buyers across the US. Visit my website at http://www.snapitscrew.com/ and you can see some press and video’s about it.
Tara: How long has it taken from your initial idea to taking it to market?
Nancy: I really started working on this part time in Jan. of 2008. I launched the screw to the optical industry in March of 2010 and have sold over two million screws so far. I am just breaking into the retail market.
Tara: Where can your product be purchased from?
Nancy: Right now you can purchase on my website http://www.snapitscrew.com/. It should be in Walgreens and at drugstore.com soon. Several other retailers have shown a lot of interest and I am talking with them now.
Tara: What are your future hopes and plans for the Snap-it Screw?
Nancy: I have 4 patents pending in the US on this screw as well as patents pending in the following countries. EPO, Canada, Australia, New Zealand,China, Japan, Phillipines, Korea, Russian, India, Mexico and Brazil.
I am going to bring it to the international market and I am currently looking for distributors in other countries.
Tara: Is there anything you learned developing the Snap-it screw that you would now do differently if you had to do it all again?
Nancy: So much. Be careful who you get advise from. There are a lot of companies out there that say they are out there to help you but they want to take advantage of you. The best advice I would give anyone is if they go to a company who says they want to help and ask for upfront money. RUN!!!!!!!
Tara: What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?
Nancy: This process is hard and emotional. You have to be in it for the long run. Don’t listen to other people, believe in yourself and your product. It is not an overnight process, be patient and don’t get discouraged.
Tara: Do you have more ideas you hope to bring to market in the future?
Nancy: Yes, my charms are next.
Tara: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Nancy: I have a passion for helping inventors and plan to devote my life to it after I have my repair kit on the market. I have seen so many people abuse inventor and I want to try and put an end to it.
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