Success is still within the reach of every American! No patent required.
Is it possible in this day and age to successfully bring a new product to market without the legal wrangling and costs of patents, patent searches, and patent attorneys? How many of you have experienced that "ah-ha" moment where the light goes off in your head, and you have just conceived a brilliant idea that is going to make you a millionaire.
Then reality slowly sets in and you admit that you don't have the financial resources to even muster a patent search, much less a patent. That brilliant invention is soon discarded into the idea junk yard of your brain, to rust away with similar product ideas.
To answer the question; yes it is possible to bring a product to market, and reap solid profits without going down the often prohibitive path of seeking a patent. Look no further than Robyn Collar and her Chinese inspired Babyhawk child carriers for the proof. Three years after launching her business in 2008, Babyhawk reached over $1 Million in sales. Robyn got her start with a sewing machine, some material, and a little internet research into baby carriers from the days of old.
Now enter Adam Elmakias and his original Lens Bracelets made from 100% silicone. A San Diego based professional photographer who works with local bands, Adam was searching for a photography related product he could use to network and grow his business. Adam considered T-shirts and camera straps among other ideas before ultimately deciding on silicone bracelets.
It was late 2009 when the big idea hit him; Bracelets that exactly resemble a portion of a camera lens barrel! Adam intended to use the bracelets as unique business cards that he could pass out, with his photography website displayed on the inside of each bracelet. The bracelets featured debossed designs, lens grip ridges, and coloring that replicated actual lenses.
He set about finding a company to produce the bracelets he wanted, and initially ordered 100 7" bracelets. The bracelets quickly found their way onto the wrists of fellow photographers, as well as a number of musicians and band members who wore them on stage. Demands for more bracelets came in and the Original Adam Elmakias Lens Bracelet business was off and running.
Adam did seek trademark protection, which is without question a simpler and more affordable form of protection than a patent. Secondly, Adam's new creation was probably not the type of invention that was patentable anyway. Adam has captured and demonstrated another form of protection known as "market share." By simply being the first to create bracelets designed to resemble camera lenses, and by growing his business faster and larger than the copycats that are sure to follow, Adam has secured his position as the leader in the market.
To date Adam's bracelets have been sold in over 150 countries, has over 107,000 Likes on Facebook, and is now carried by a handful of stores all over the world. I don't know if the Lens Bracelet has hit a million dollars in sales yet, but it appears to be well on its way.
In addition to the unique design of his bracelets, Adam credits much of his success to hard work, networking, and taking advantage of social media. He also states that "perceived image is a big factor." Adam took great care to design his website on Bigcartel.com to be clean and professional looking, so that any photography enthusiast would be comfortable making a purchase.
When I see a business like the Lens Bracelet I am reminded that the free enterprise system in America is still a powerful force for creating income and wealth. It is a force that when combined with creativity, hard work, and perhaps good timing, has the potential to dramatically change the financial picture for anyone who chooses to enter the arena and accept the challenge.