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    Readerest for Glasses

    According to eyecareAmerica.org, there are 3.4 million people in the U.S., age 40 and over, who are visually impaired, suggesting eye health and care as growing problems. For those millions of people with impaired vision who are confronted with larger concerns like scheduling eye exams and updating their eye care solutions, Rick Hopper, creator and founder of Readerest, has a solution to eliminate a smaller, but frequent annoyance experienced by everyday eyeglass wearers.

    Being an eyeglass wearer himself, Hopper explains, “Like most people I had a problem with my glasses, my reading glasses especially. I’d stick them in my shirt when I wasn’t using them, because I didn’t have a place to keep them. Then I’d bend over to pick something up and they would fall out and get scratched on the ground. Or, I’ll leave them lying around and then I can’t find them when I need them.” Inspired by this annoyance, Hopper developed an eyeglass holding solution, first produced from everyday household items: a paperclip, a washer and apoxy. Now, the Readerest sports a stainless steel design, strong enough to hold the weight of 50 pairs of glasses on most shirts and blouses.

    Hopper details the durability and strength of the product, explaining, “It’s a lightweight product, but it’s super powerful. The product works on sweatshirts, fleece, denim, and just about every type of clothing except for a thick motorcycle leather jacket.” Beside its wearing flexibility, the Readerest illustrates flexibility in its usage, as Hopper has known some customers to hang their Bluetooth earpiece, golfing tees, as well as fishing hooks and lures on the product, in order to keep them secure and at their side.

    Readerest’s simple design and expansive usage have created such a stir that Hopper has successfully marketed his product to hospital gift stores, salons, wineries and hardware stores, and gained some international attention in the U.K. Independent retailers are invited to visit the product website to review the growing fashion designs. Although the website lists retail prices, the Readerest is available at wholesale prices, in three different order levels of $250, $1,000 and $5,000.

     

    http://independentretailer.com/2011/06/01/forget-damaged-eyeglasses-rest-easy-with-readerest/

    The 15 biggest 'Shark Tank' success stories of all time

    Entrepreneurs who make it onto a "Shark Tank" episode have the opportunity to introduce their company to a viewing audience of 7 million potential customers.

    The companies that land a deal with one or more of the show's investors then have the chance to scale and, in some cases, become a nationally recognized brand.

    We looked through old episodes and asked the Sharks themselves about their most successful deals. Read on to learn about the biggest "Shark Tank" success stories so far.

    ReadeRest

    Rick Hopper essentially handed the reins of ReadeRest over to Greiner when he agreed to a $150,000 investment in exchange for 65% of the company in Season 3, but it turned his little one-man show into a huge success.

    The product, a magnetic clip that holds eyeglasses in place on a shirt, regularly sells out on QVC. Readerest says it's made $13 million in revenue in the three years following the "Shark Tank" appearance.

     

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-biggest-shark-tank-success-stories-2015-12

    What Are 'Shark Tank's Most Successful Products? 7 Businesses That Turned Out To Be Great Investments

    ReadeREST

    It's often the most innocuous of products that bring in the big bucks. I don't personally wear glasses that need to be taken on and off, so little did I know there was a gaping hole in the market just waiting for ReadeREST to fill. But if there's anyone I'd trust to recognize a product that people need (or at least think they need), it's Lori Greiner, "Queen of QVC." Greiner saw the small magnetic glasses holder as a product millions of people would see a use for, with tons of room for mark-up. And she was right! After an initial investment of $150,000 for 65 percent, she and QVC have helped bring inventor Rick Hopper's sales to over $8 million in the last two years, as he told CNBC.

    https://www.bustle.com/

    Interview with Inventor Rick Hopper Creator of ReadeREST for Reading Glasses Wearers

    I found this inventor interview really interesting as Rick Hopper from www.ReadeREST.com found out that his invention idea had already been patented. However he did not let this stop him pursuing the idea. Read Rick’s story to find out more below.

    Rick Hopper with his ReadeREST invention

    Tara: What is your name, invention name and website URL?

    Rick: Inventor Rick Hopper, Company: ReadeREST. (Pronounced Reader Rest) www.ReadeREST.com (We are also known as SpecSecure by ReadeREST. *SpecSecure was a more recognizable name in the international market)

    Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about where you are based, your background experience how you first started inventing?

    Rick: 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.

    Tara: Please could you tell me a little bit about your invention, what it is, and how you came up with the idea?

    Rick: 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.

    Tara: What were the first steps you took after having your idea?

    Rick: (Somewhat discussed above) 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!

    Tara: Did you get presentation drawing sheets produced or make a prototype of your invention, how did you go about this?

    Rick: 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.

    Tara: Did you try and patent or protect your idea in any way and how did you go about it?

    Rick: I immediately, after seeing people’s reaction to it, searched for a utility patent to protect this cool idea. To my surprise, it already existed! I found out it belonged to an older gentleman who had passed away. His wife lived in Northern Calif. So I took a road trip and purchased the patent from her.

    Tara:  Did you always intend manufacturing your invention yourself or did you look into licensing the idea?

    Rick: I definitely wanted a Made In America product and if I could keep up with the demand, I wanted to manufacture it here, myself. We now have a warehouse in Brea, Calif. We make and assemble each one by hand and to tell you the truth, you can’t make them cheaper in China! We have a fluid system down that is efficient and employs hard working Americans, which is great. Our “blinged” version that is embedded with Swarovski crystals are all assembled by hand as well!

    Tara: How did you go about finding a suitable manufacturer for your invention and did you self fund this?

    Rick: The money I made off the sale of my other business was all I needed. Like any successful venture, there are many players on the team. Surrounding yourself with the right people is key. I was able to find a local metal guy that created my stainless steel front clips and back plates. I experimented with all sizes and strengths of magnets, found the most powerful adhesive available, and got to work assembling them!

    Tara:  What have you found are the best ways of promoting your invention?

    Rick: 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.

    Tara: What were the most difficult elements of bringing your invention to market?

    Rick: If you have the right product, at the right time, at the right price, there is nothing difficult about it. Don’t get me wrong, it takes a LOT of work getting your product to retail, but with an invention that is a clear winner, people will see its potential and believe in it 100%.

    Tara: How long has it taken from your initial idea to taking it to market?

    Rick: 2 years of constant follow through and long days!

    Tara: Is there anything you learned developing your invention that you would now do differently if you had to do it all again?

    Rick: I believe you learn new things all along the way. You’ll make mistakes and learn from them as in any part of life. I don’t think I’d do anything differently.

    Tara: What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?

    Rick: 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!

    Tara: Where can people find out more about your invention

    Rick: 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!

    www.ideasuploaded.com/

    ReadeREST After Shark Tank

    Before Shark Tank – ReadeREST and Rick Hopper

    While Rick Hopper didn’t get a pre-show segment on Shark Tank, he filled in the gaps in an August 2015 interview with Startup Dallas. Like many other entrepreneurs, he had humble beginnings. Rick tells stories of annual trips to replace the previous year’s worn out pair of sneakers, working with his hands, and never getting a college degree. However, his creative spirit was greater than his hardship. From a young age, he constructed monoliths with Lincoln Logs and ERECTOR sets. Carrying this into adulthood, he began working in window paneling and spent his time-off building furniture for his young family. After a window business’ rocky end in the late 2000s, ReadeREST was Rick’s second attempt to take his creativity to market.

    Blessed with perfect vision for most of his life, as he got older, Rick didn’t like dealing with the hassle of reading glasses. His solution was the first iteration of ReadeREST, a glasses holder combining a bent paper clip and a few magnets. The product worked perfectly for what it was: he never lost or dropped his glasses again. They even stayed secure when he took a fall on an electric skateboard and broke his shoulder. His little invention slowly became a real product and business. Friends began asking where they could buy the ReadeREST, and Rick took this as his opportunity. He traveled across the west coast and attended trade shows to find his market. The paper clip became stainless steel. The piece of scrap metal used as a back piece became a powerful neodymium magnet. Rick was still making them by hand when his friends begged him to look into Shark Tank. It took nine months of pleading before he decided to take the plunge.

    During Shark Tank

    Rick stumbled into the Shark Tank – literally. He took a fall on the edge of the carpet. What Kevin O’Leary called “bad theatre,” Rick called showmanship. Not to be defeated, he hopped onto his feet and launched his pitch. Rick was seeking one hundred fifty thousand dollars in exchange for fifteen percent of his company, a one million dollar valuation. According to Rick, ReadeREST solves problems for the everyday consumer, like dropping glasses in the toilet, stretching out collars, and ugly “granny chains.” He didn’t intend to sell it until some friends expressed interest, after which he sold sixty-five thousand dollars of product in test markets. Unfortunately, he ran out of inventory and needed an investment from the sharks to take ReadeREST into mass production.

    Saving arguments about the valuation for later, the sharks asked if he had a patent, followed by some brief confusion. Although Rick did develop the ReadeREST around 2007, his patent search turned up an independent invention of a similar product in 2002. Luckily, it had never taken off, and the original patent holder was willing to sell it for five thousand dollars. With this patent and the trademark on ReadeREST, the sharks seemed content on intellectual property concerns. Along with sales, having a proprietary and differentiated product is one of the keys to success in the tank.

    As he is known to do, Daymond put Rick on the spot. Instead of focusing on his high potential sales that were prevented by the production bottleneck, he compared Rick’s valuation of ReadeREST to the cost of the patent itself. One million against five thousand. “Do you see anything wrong with that?” Rick countered with the idea that high volume of distribution on store shelves would mean six million dollars a year in profits, a real money maker for any shark willing to bite. In short, he wanted a strategic partner. To Daymond, this was too much risk. He balked at the combination of an optimistic valuation, the work involved, and the networking headaches. “So now you want us to give you the money, work, and then pass off our connections.” Rick was left stammering, and Daymond was out.

    Lori took things in another direction. She’s been around the block as a businesswoman with her own show on the home shopping network QVC, and she didn’t see Rick as a natural salesman. “I create things. I’ve been designing little things since I was thirteen years-old,” he agrees. “So you really need someone who will come in and take over and make this work for you.” She made Rick an offer, although not the one he was hoping for. In exchange for her one hundred fifty thousand, she needed sixty-five percent of his company. To keep Daymond on board, Rick had offered greater equity, so he was willing to budge, but giving up a controlling interest in the company was hard for him to stomach. Still, what if she was just the partner he was looking for? They both agreed that TV was a better place for the product than store shelves.

    Without offers on the table from Mark, Kevin, or Robert, Lori was his only lead, but he attempted to counter at forty-nine percent equity. She immediately declined. Since no other sharks had expressed interest, he lacked negotiating power. “I’m a little gun-shy in giving up total controlling interest in the company without a complete buyout option, with royalties…” he offered. The sharks were dumbfounded at his sudden development of business skills and jokingly speculated that they were being hustled. Now that an offer was on the table, Robert spoke up. “At best, I saw this as a knick-knack that was sold as gas stations.” Unable to see the value that Lori did, he bowed out. Kevin also made a swift exit, calling a million dollar valuation for “a little piece of metal” insanity. Mark claimed that he was “processing” the deal, but Lori wouldn’t give him a chance, threatening to take her deal off the table if Rick waited for another offer. Tensions rose as Mark tried to jump in, claiming his own TV networks made him an asset.

    As usual, Mark concealed his intentions until the end to see how the deal would play out. He said he would help Rick, but when everyone expected an offer, Mark backed out, saying there were better options. Lori was truly his last chance. Rick launched into another round of “Would you consider?” with the only shark remaining, grasping for a few more points of equity, but to no avail. “Take it or leave it.” At his breaking point, Rick did admit that even thirty-five percent of what could be a ten million dollar company is exciting. After some provocation from all of the sharks, with a grimace, Rick finally accepted the deal.

    While Rick left the tank, everyone took stock. Mostly, they marveled at the ability of one person to take “a piece of metal with two magnets” and net such a large investment. Rick also seemed happy with the deal, saying “When Lori looked right into my eyes and said ‘I’m going to make you a millionaire,’ I believed her!” Although he wanted to keep more than thirty-five percent of the company, it seemed like a win. Still, it’s striking how the smallest negotiating tactics in the tank can make a difference of millions. Looking primarily for a controlling interest in the company, Lori would have been very likely to accept a counter-offer of sixty, fifty-five, or even fifty-one percent equity in the company, but by trying to low-ball her offer, Rick locked himself out of further negotiations. It’s regrettable, but it’s been established that he’s not a salesman. At least, now he can spend his time doing what he loves, building and inventing.

    After Shark Tank: ReadeREST in 2016

    Several episodes after ReadeREST’s original feature, the Shark Tank team was able to follow-up with Rick Hopper about his business. The update finds him behind the scenes of Lori’s QVC show, Clever and Unique Creations, where she’s ready to make her first pitch of the product. At the end of Rick’s Shark Tank episode, she had mentioned selling twenty million dollars in reading glasses on TV to date, so by bundling the ReadeREST with glasses, the product should practically sell itself. Her promise to make Rick a rich man looks like reality when he sells out of his first production run of five thousand units almost immediately. Needless to say, Rick is excited to see where things go from here.

    In fact, he’s stayed as active as any other entrepreneur who’s taken a deal on Shark Tank. Seven years after the investment, his website is still up and running, with products ranging from ten to fifty dollars. Along with the original designs, he’s come up with pink ReadeREST clips for breast cancer awareness and a design resembling a pair of sunglasses. There’s also been a re-branding effort to focus attention on the ReadeREST trademark. As Rick says in his Startup Dallas interview “All roads lead to ReadeREST.” In early development, Rick referred to the specific product as “SpecSecure,” but over time, he has started to simply call it ReadeREST or the BodyRack. His product was so popular for holding glasses that he decided to begin marketing it as a cord management tool, an earbud holder, and even a pen clip. Searching for the website of any of these products redirects to the main ReadeREST website.

    Despite his TV and online sales, as well as Lori’s concerns that his product would die on store shelves, he has had remarkable success with traditional retail distribution. As of August 2015, the product can be found in twenty-five hundred Walmart Vision Centers, as well as Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Staples, Ace Hardware, and a variety of other smaller locations. It looks like Rick’s dream of ReadeREST appearing in five thousand stores worldwide has come true. From his August interview, Rick clearly sees success as stemming from a mixture of business sense and luck. He’s posted blog content to his website that shows his intentions to pass along this success and expressed interest in writing a book about his experiences.

    The most impressive thing about Rick is his simultaneous ability to think big and keep himself in check. Countless entrepreneurs have approached the sharks with overambitious ideas like perpetual motion machines and full immersion virtual reality devices. One by one, they’ve been turned down, but Rick Hopper, with a piece of stainless steel and two magnets, has succeeded. ReadeREST has an attractive simplicity, but from the beginning, he recognized its potential and took every chance to grow the business as much as possible. Someday, his plans for a buyout by a large commercial producer of eye wear may materialize, and he’ll move on to his next invention. Until then, between Rick Hopper and Lori Greiner, ReadeREST is in good hands. Here’s to many more years of ReadeREST keeping our glasses out of the toilet.

    http://gazettereview.com/