Meet Sam and Jennifer Shipp—inventors, entrepreneurs.
After obtaining his MBA from Idaho State University a few years ago, Sam moved to the Valley so the newly-married couple could be close to Jennifer’s family. But he soon found that even with an MBA, the salaries in the Valley were not what he needed to raise a family.
So he did what most people never do. He started his own business.
Although it doesn’t sound like a very lofty profession for someone with a post graduate degree, Sam did have bigger goals in mind. His idea has grown into a successful business, servicing clients with names like H-E-B, T-Mobile, McAllen Convention Center, Chili’s, Applebee’s, Barnes & Noble and more.
He has expanded the services of his business – called Brilliant Elegance – to include janitorial and maid services and other home services such as duct and gutter cleaning. He also performs parking lot striping for large and small companies.
While all that may sound like enough to keep anybody busy, Sam and Jennifer have many more ideas they intend to nurture as part of their business enterprise.
Enter the “Knife Glider,” their latest invention.
The saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” In this case “fear” became the mother of the Shipps’ invention.
Jennifer explains, “I was cooking in the kitchen one day, and I nicked myself with a knife. I really have a fear of putting my finger on the blade to remove food.”
That’s when the light bulb of imagination and creativity came on for the couple. How many other people have experienced the same thing – cutting themselves in the kitchen while preparing a meal?
Unlike most people who think they have a good idea for an invention, but never do anything about it, the Shipps started working on the concept. That was back in 2010 – and today they have developed a prototype of the Knife Glider to solve all of Jennifer’s issues with knives in the kitchen, and what they feel are the same concerns for millions of others, too.
Now that they’ve come this far, they are seeking out resources to get their new product to market. They have been in contact with the cable shopping network QVC and know what they have to do to go into negotiations with them to get this product to market.
“QVC told us that if we can get them 7,000 to 10,000 units, ‘we can start negotiations to put you on the air,’” said Sam Shipp. That was two weeks ago.
Just 10 days ago, the Shipps were awarded a $10,000 grant from the Ruby Red Ventures Program sponsored by Mission Economic Development Corporation, a program designed to foster entrepreneurial ventures and job creation. With another $10,000, the couple will have enough capital to get the product manufactured and to market, says Shipp.
To raise that $10,000, this entrepreneurial couple is using a crowd funding tool that has been growing in popularity on the Web – Indiegogo.com. The couple is hoping that the local community and the Valley will get behind them and help with their fundraising effort so they can get this product to market.
“It’s a great patent pending product that can help thousands of people avoid common kitchen accidents every year, and we’ve made all the contacts needed to get The Knife Glider to market,” says Sam Shipp on the Website. “This is where we need your help. We need to raise $10,000 for design, product development, marketing and production. The path is lined out in front of us; we just need the funds to make it happen.”
The goal of the Indiegogo.com fundraising campaign for The Knife Glider is $10,000, but if they fall short of their goal, all the donors get their money back and the Shipps get nothing, according to the Website’s rules. They have raised just a little more than $3,000 so far, and the Sept. 8 deadline for contributions is closing in fast.
There are perks for those who donate to the fundraising campaign, such as a free Knife Glider kit when the product goes into production. And the perks keep improving with larger donations.
“If we make goal we pretty much will have enough funds where we can confidently take it all the way to market. I’ve planned out all the finances and expenses,” said Sam. “If we’re able to raise the $20,000 that we need we will probably be able to get our inventory just after the end of the year, or soon thereafter.”
When asked what happens if they don’t meet their fundraising goal, Sam said, “If we don’t make our goal – and this has kind of been the story from the beginning, both with my window cleaning business and The Knife Glider – we’ll make it happen one way or another. And with the grant that we received, we can at least make our prototypes.” These would be professionally designed and produced prototypes to replace the ones Sam made at home out of Plexiglas from Home Depot.
For more information about The Knife Glider, do a Web search for “knife glider” and the top results will be the Indiegogo campaign and the Shipp’s Website www.knifeglider.com. You can also find them on Facebook. You might just “like” what you see.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.