I was contacted by ReadeREST, the company founded by Rick Hopper and recently showcased on ABC’s Shark Tank. I’m a big fan of the show and when I was asked if they could do a quest post I said sure thing.
Inventor and Company
Rick Hopper owns ReadeREST. (Pronounced Reader Rest)
www.ReadeREST.com (We are also known as SpecSecure by ReadeREST. *SpecSecure was a more recognizable name in the international markets)
I grew up near Anaheim and now live in Fullerton, Calif. As a young boy, I loved tinkering around with things including tools or anything else I could get my hands on. My first invention, believe it or not, was a “wind sail” for my skate board. I used pvc pipe and a sheet to create a sail that could help me pick up speed or slow down while riding my skate board down hills. I’ve always considered myself pretty inventive. If there was a problem, I’d find a solution!
I worked at Home Depot for many years and as a carpenter on the side to support my family, but always had bigger dreams for myself. I started up a business from an idea I’d had about 12 years ago (Vinyl Trim for window companies) and was fortunate enough to sell the company and focus on my next project. The bigger picture; which was ReadeREST.
The day I turned 40, I started needing reading glasses. When I wasn’t wearing them, I’d hang them in my shirt collar and they would always, without fail, fall on the ground and get scratched. Even worse, sometimes they’d fall in the toilet! I’d try wearing them on my head and they’d pull my hair out. I wasn’t about to wear a “granny chain” so I needed something to keep them within arm’s reach, but also safe. I began bending paper clips into different shapes and attaching them with magnets to my shirt. It made the perfect hanger for my glasses. Everywhere I went, people would ask “Hey, What is that??” and more importantly “Where can I get one??” It didn’t take long to see that there was a huge demand for this product. With some fine tuning of the shape and design, ReadeREST was born. Like my company before, it began in my garage! I started making them for all my friends and family and eventually started selling them.
You saw there was a demand, so where did you go from there?
I bought better, stronger magnets, and designed a streamline shape that anyone could wear. If I got stuck, I just kept moving forward, gathering information from anyone I could. That’s the thing about being an entrepreneur, you might now know what the heck you’re doing, but you figure it out!
The first prototype was literally made out of paper clips. It seems silly to think back on that from where we are now, but that’s how the basic idea came about. The idea was so simple. It was just solving a problem I had with trying to keep my glasses safe and turned into something so much bigger.
You went from making them for friends and family to building a multimillion dollar business. How did you get the word out and get so much growth?
We really got our big break after I was selected to be featured on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank. I frankly had never heard of the show, but everyone told me I needed to apply to be on it! So, I went to the ABC website and submitted my idea. A few weeks later, I was selected. The episode aired in February of 2011 and that is really what launched us in a big way. Making a deal with Lori Greiner was the best thing we could have done. Another great avenue that has helped us is attending trade shows, such as, Gift Expos and Vision Expo. You can make priceless contacts at these events.
Words I live by: Ideas are worth a penny, but the action and plans that carry your idea to reality are worth millions. It’s not enough to just have a cool idea. You have to be willing to put in the time and energy to make your idea a reality. There are so many resources at your finger tips these days, there is no excuse to sit around with a brilliant idea. Go after it with all your heart and soul!
To learn more about ReadeREST:
●We have a website www.ReadeREST.com where you can see all of the different ReadeRESTS. It began with the simple stainless steel option and has evolved into other colors and shapes now!
●We have a fun facebook page called SpecSecure. www.Facebook.com/SpecSecure and a twitter account @SpecSecure
●There have been a few articles written about Rick and ReadeREST too.
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