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Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Tool helps workers accomplish tasks in record time

Jocelyn Hare, Restoration Tools’ chief operations officer, displays a newly developed tool proving to be a game changer for the disaster restoration industry.

“Necessity is the mother of invention”. This proverb has been the driving force for Restoration Tools, a company that is developing industry-changing tools for disaster restoration. While the team was doing its work as members of a disaster restoration franchise, the realized the need in their industry for more innovative tools which allowed workers to complete tasks faster and more safely.

Product Development

With more than 40 years of combined experience in the disaster restoration industry, Restoration Tools partners are familiar with what it takes to run a restoration company. Designing and producing a new product was a totally new ballgame.

Inventing and manufacturing a product always presents unforeseen challenges. Identifying challenges, creating new solutions and overcoming roadblocks is part of the process of product development. Restoration Tools has a lot of ideas, and the initial impulse was to try to develop them all at once. With the guidance of NIU EIGERlab’s Center for Product Development, they decided to tackle one invention at a time.

After settling on their first product, The Aerator, they soon realized they had a multitude of decisions to make. In order to achieve the best results, and not damage their new product, they realized it must be paired with a custom mallet for best results.

With more than one product element to be managed, the team decided to offer a custom carrying bag so the equipment would not be lost or left behind on the job site.

Another caveat to their current innovation underway is offering customer coloring for larger-sized clients such as franchise owners, to provide brand consistency for the company.

The Restoration Tools team discovered that product development is a complex challenge and that when starting a new entity, you may need more time and capital than you initially forecasted.

“We’ve now participated in our first trade show and advertised in our first trade magazine,” said Jocelyn Hare, chief operations officer. “People see the need [for The Aerator], and we’re elated to share that partnerships are forming. In addition, we have reconsidered our sales model to work alongside distributors who will not only assist with sales, but will enhances our marketing efforts.”

Accelerated Growth

The Aerator is a powerful tool because it allows a project that would have taken a technician an hour to complete, to be handled in just five minutes. As such a game changer for the disaster restoration business, it’s already in high-demand.

“From our test marketing, we knew the product had legs, but surprisingly, not to this level. Currently, we’re handling the assembly internally, but we anticipate the need to expand more quickly than we originally thought,” Hare said.

Being an owner of a restoration company for the last 14 years, the process of drilling holes has always been a headache. When you hire technicians, it is inevitable that at some point, they drill a hole above the baseboard, which creates extra work and lost revenue. Not only does The Aerator totally eliminate that issue, but it also saves so much time and effort with the process and cleanup itself.

– Bill K

A local business owner recently bought two Aerators and is planning to purchase another three this month, due to increased productivity and rave reviews from employees.

The Aerator is just the beginning for Restoration Tools. “Now that we have experience creating our first product, we plan to move on with additional inventions quickly. We anticipate starting the R&D phase of our next product in late 2019,” Hare said.

NIU EIGERlab embraces startups and supports entrepreneurs like the Restoration Tools team along the pathway toward success. Programming and services are in place at two NIU EIGERlab locations to assist startups and existing businesses—entrepreneurs in all phases. To learn more about how NIU EIGERlab can help you develop your idea or grow your business, visit www.EIGERlab.org or call 815.753.2192.

By: Sherry Pritz Enderle; NIU EIGERlab

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Restoration Tools: Game-Changing Products

Bringing a good idea to fruition can be overwhelming. But the process – and the results – are worth it.

“Being new to the invention game has kept us on the edge of the learning curve throughout the process,” said Charlie Hare, co-owner of Restoration Tools. Charlie, his daughter Jocelyn and third team member, Marcus Smith, have created the “Aerator”–a utilitarian tool which solves a multitude of issues in the restoration field including cleanliness, a safer work environment, and increased efficiency. 

When the team first brought their idea to Mike Cobert at NIU EIGERlab’s Center for Profit Development (C4PD), they had a long list of inventions they were interested in bringing to the market. Mike advised the team to hone in on one, learn the process, align themselves with the manufacturers, and move forward.

“Looking back, this was sage advice,” said Jocelyn Hare. “C4PD has assisted with the durability study, providing a comprehensive project management punch list, and an impressive list of invaluable connections–we are so far ahead of where we would have been with their assistance.”

In addition to working with the C4PD, the team has embraced regional entrepreneurial offerings such as NIU EIGERlab’s Innovation Tuesday Meetups, Thinker Ventures’ weekly 1M Cups, and a variety of Rockford Chamber events.

“By attending NIU EIGERlab’s Meetups, we’ve had an impressive number of our questions answered by both legal and financial experts,” said Jocelyn. In addition to gleaning valuable information, and meeting people who they can potentially partner with, they’ve also met entrepreneurs who are either steps ahead or behind in regards to formulating their businesses.The entrepreneurial network has been a strong source of support and encouragement.

“I can’t say enough about the importance of networking, and paying it forward,” shared Charlie. “Our team members are some of NIU EIGERlab’s biggest cheerleaders, and we use every opportunity to share information on this exceptional local asset.”

“It’s been a pleasure working with the Restoration Tools team, and we’re looking forward to an ongoing relationship as they commercialize their entire group of restoration-related tools,” Mike Cobert shared. “When entrepreneurs are involved in the day-to-day operations, streamlining, safety, and efficiency are often the results. This new line of tools will assist with improved working conditions and additional revenues. I believe Restoration’s revolutionary tools will change the restoration industry!”

NIU EIGERlab embraces startups and supports entrepreneurs like the Restoration Tools team along the pathway toward success. Programming and services are in place at two NIU EIGERlab locations to assist startups and existing businesses—entrepreneurs in all phases. To learn more about how NIU EIGERlab can help you develop your idea or grow your business, visit www.EIGERlab.org or call 815.753.2192.