And what a journey this up, down, mobility roller coaster business is. When Jack and I were discussing the adventure, I saw visions of a starched white blouse, covered by flattering tweed suit and practical 2″ patent leather shoes tucked under a swivel upholstered chair. Sitting at my roll-top desk I speak with the media, vendors and customers on my private office French-Style telephone.
It all began in the cold cellar. Our enthusiasm kept us warm. My desk was one half of a 4′ x 8′ plywood sheet supported by paint splattered saw horses. The remaining half was covered with cardboard boxes which JP dubbed “file cabinets” and a wide assortment of tools, washers, nuts, rolls of wires and junk. The office haute couture was sweat shirt, jeans and Keds for squishing those roly-poly bugs on the concrete floor.
It’s 37 years later. This byte banger has come up in the world: exactly 12 wooden steps to the kitchen. A Mac sits on my kitchen table next to the small floppy disc file cabinet, a printer, piles of to-do paperwork, some tools and junk. We go out to eat now. Into the front room, get out our TV trays and try balancing our meal on 2 wobbly fiberglass, tin legged trays.
As I pull my flannel shirt closed for warmth, I think of those days downstairs, when an order came in on my black dial up wall phone. Having spent all our savings on supplies to build the first PI product, attachable kits for bikes and trikes, there was nothing left for advertising them. We knew we had a much needed product. It gave mobility to those unable to pedal. Maybe a more important benefit, older or disabled people could cycle again. But no one knew of this spiffy product.
Back we go to the library to learn about advertising. We had brown bagged it at Cornell University to see if our patent was doable. Delightedly, we found it was the first electric attachable kit for adult trikes. It was quite an achievement but never put a penny in our pocket.
Mil-note: if you have interest in the unique, ask me later about the interesting patents I came across when I was supposed to be researching our design.
Sorry for all these digressions, but on this historic day, I keep running into the front room where Mr. Barack Hussein Obama is getting ready to become our 44th President. One of us has an engraved invitation to his inauguration. Not telling who.
The advertising books weren’t that helpful. Statistics filled their pages with % of profits to be spent on advertising etc., but one little book lured this novice down the path of freebie advertising. I mailed 20 press releases to then prominent magazines. They were poorly written, no pictures and rather boring. Having no letterheads at that time, they landed on the Editor’s desk mistyped on lined school paper. What a schmuck.
And now forgive me but President Obama is about to speak and this curious American wants to hear his speech. I’ll be back to continue my inaugural blog. (Originally published January, 2009)