Saturday, May 29, 2010

Oooh Happy Happy Day!

The history of the R-ticulator Pop-

Many Many years ago- perhaps a decade ago. How old am I?

Okay way more than a decade ago...I was providing speech therapy for some children who were having a hard time saying their "r" sounds. They would say "wing" instead of "ring" or "witch" instead of "rich." Try explaining to a seven-year old that your tongue has be separated into 3 different parts and be in 3 different or maybe 4 different positions while saying 1 sound.

I thought "If only I could get into this child's mouth and put the tongue in the proper shape." I tried. Even though I was thinner back in the day, my hand was too big, and the child would gag, and the parent would wonder why they called me.

I tried all of our tricks of the trade to shape the tongue- dental floss, tongue depressors, etc. They were moderately successful- but- when a parent is paying per session- moderately kind of stinks.

So, with the encouragement of Sott, Jack-ee, Poppi, & the patience of Chandelier. I started to design a "tool" that I could just slip under the client's tongue- to shape things nice and neat for the "r".

I tried 2 zillion prototypes for years- some made of wax, some of chocolate, some of bubble gum, some of lollipop. I reshaped, restructured, ordered a million molds, bought a dehydrator to suck the moisture out (don't ask)...tested with other professionals, gave away a million samples. Cried and called Jack-ee- who reassured, cheered, and motivated. Called Poppi- who supported this endeavor in every sense of the word.

Contacted the patent attorney who was wonderful. Received my first reject letter for the patent office. Cried, prayed, and called in the supports. Wrote a letter of protest to the patent office. Received my patent & cried tears of joy.

Sold the pops as bubblegum. Sold too many pops- couldn't keep up of production. Tried to get the pops made in America- The American Manufacturers wanted an initial run order of 4 million (exaggerated) I contacted a importer. After blood, sweat, tears, and FDA approval- The shipment arrived from China. Poppi and I met the truck- and I cried...a little on the outside and a lot on the inside.

Hired and fired 2 website design and maintenance companies. Pestered my friend into allowing me to use her children for the website pics. Thanks for that!

Customers loved the product- sent in some suggestions for tweaking and asked for a plastic, washable, reusable tool. Found an American plastics company (VenTel). Toured the facility- Holy Smokes- what a beautiful, clean, organized, professional, well run facility. Gave them the Pops, the improvement ideas- The product was the culmination of everything I imagined. I celebrated and again was encouraged by my crewe.

Shared an office with Sott's Mattress place- We are funny like that.

Moved to Ireland- Placed project on hold. My faithful supporter and alley, Poppi, tip-toed to heaven and I grieved.

Returned home, prayed some more, and decided to manage my own website. Use the Pop every chance I can on my high school kids who are teased and can't say their "r" sound. Get that sheer sense of joy and relief every time the client says his/her first beautiful and accurate "r."

Ordered stock, received stock, and have begun the distribution process all over again.

Many thank yous to core crewe of God, Sott, Chandelier, Jack-EE, & Poppi. Your support, faith, encouragement, wisdom, and honesty has helped me more than I can express.


Anonymous said...

Congrats Tracy ... good to see someone is keeping ya inline !!

Thoughts from the Deep End said...

Yippie!!!! SOOOOOO glad to hear that things are back on track!!

xo Jackie
(a.k.a. Jack-ee)