The Life of an Inventor - a follow up

It's been a while since I've ruminated about The Life of an Inventor and small business owner - the joy, the ecstasy and yes, sometimes the PAIN of it all.  I realize it's been three years since we talked about the trials and tribulations of having an idea and the cost of taking it through invention, patent and launch. The last few weeks however have pushed us more than most so it was time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.  Continue reading

The life of an inventor

As Thomas Edison once said "Genius - 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration"

 We get complemented frequently for our very creative and innovative products. While this is always delightful to hear we are constantly reminded that the path to invention is not an easy one. It is often fraught with setbacks, expensive molds, patents (we have 3), trademarks (we have 4) lawyer fees, and worst of all products that don't work initially and send us back to the drawing board. We've spent many hours at work and over meals at home thrashing out ideas and perfecting them.

Most of the ideas spring from frustrations we have in our daily lives that stop us in our tracks and makes us think "hey, how come no one has ever invented this before?" We have a Steve Jobs quote on our idea board in the office "Simple is more difficult than complex" and we try to adhere to this dictum but sometimes the process just seems daunting and onerous. 

We're currently working on our latest invention. We gave it a surreptitious unveiling at the Housewares Show a few weeks ago to some of our best customers and were blown away by the response. Now we're frantically finishing up labeling, production, adding small tweaks, getting samples for key customers and deciding on colors and then the big decision - how much should we produce. More tough decisions lie ahead like where will we put inventory as we are bursting at the seams since the tote+able merger. We want to get it out to market as soon as possible but also need to make sure everything is done with the level of perfection we demand. 

Each time we launch a new product, and we've launched one per year since we started this in 2012, there are always new hurdles to jump but the excitement pushes us on. We're thankful for some terrific partners, customers and rep groups but most of all the group who show up to work here every day. They hear most of the ups and downs of invention and are some of our biggest cheerleaders, they're also some of the first to test the products. 

So the next time you see one of our products in a store or even better still actually use one of them, just take some time to think about the work that went into bringing it to market and cheer us on to keep going and to keep inventing! We love it and we hope you love our products as much as we do! We can't wait to share our latest and greatest with you. Stay tuned....

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Thanks for all the LOVE

Thanks for all the LOVE

Walt and I really didn’t want our third blog post to be about the terrible wildfires we’ve had here in beautiful wine country since Sunday night, October 8th but we’ve had so many of you asking after us and our area that it seemed the best way to share news.

First of all let us say that because of amazing firefighters we are all safe and miraculously have not had to evacuate from Windsor. Earlier in the week it was incredibly scary and it was hard to focus on anything other than safety and survival. When the fire near us started on Sunday night it was moving incredibly fast, fueled by a perfect storm with 50+mph winds. There was also low humidity and very dry brush, conditions ideal for massive destruction. At one stage the fire was moving 100 yards every 3 seconds.

By the middle of early Monday morning we were all watching the news around the clock trying to make the right decisions for our families. By Monday night we learned family members and dear friends had lost their homes - thousands had been displaced and Santa Rosa, the town three miles to the south of us, looked like a nuclear wasteland in parts. Latest reports say that 2800+ homes and 4,400 commercial spaces have been destroyed and reduced to ash just in Santa Rosa!

Photo Credit: Christopher Chung, Press Democrat

Video of devastation

The town of Windsor has been very smoky and we’ve been without gas, Wi-Fi and hot water at home for most of the week but that is minor compared to what our neighbors have suffered.

On the plus side our kids have been off school and eager to help us at CapaBunga during one of our busiest times of year. Reinforcements have swarmed into the area and we now have 8000 firefighters fighting 200,000 acres of fire in California. We have 747s dropping fire retardant and the winds have died down. The fire closest to us is 35K acres wide but is now 20% contained, that’s up from 10% yesterday. We still have 10+ fires in Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties but we're very hopeful they will be under control soon.

Our hearts go out to all those who have lost family members, homes or suffered because of these fires. It will take a long time to rebuild and restore this beautiful place to its former glory. Demand will be high for temporary homes and for builders. In the meantime we hope you’ll buy wine from our region and support those businesses that have been affected. If you would like to donate we’d recommend any of the following

Redwood Credit Union

Redwood Empire Food Bank

Sonoma Humane Society

Thanks so much for all your offers of help - it means a lot! 

Máire, Walt, Elizabeth, Lynette and Tracy

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Trade Show Season = Harvest Time

It’s harvest here in Wine Country. Tons of ripe clusters of luscious grapes hang brightly on the vines, begging to be crushed. That’s how we feel standing at NYNow, the last show of our season – crushed.

After weeks and weeks of showing our new items, we are grateful for all of the compliments, and of course orders, from new customers and long standing customers. It’s kind of like harvest. We’ve spent months and months nurturing the new products, bringing them to maturity. Now it’s time to bottle them up and send them out into the marketplace for Holiday gifts.


But unlike the grape harvest, we also have the Winter Trade Shows. That means that while we are shipping out Holiday orders, we are simultaneously growing a new crop of items for 2018. It’s the equivalent of operating a winery in California and Australia simultaneously!

We love what we do. And we love that we can do it in the heart of Wine Country. And don’t worry, once this show is over, there will be a few minutes to catch our breath and enjoy the fruits of our labor on some tasty wine.


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