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From Idea to Invention: David and Valerie Collins, Creators of the Sink Saddle

by Amie Rodgers

I don’t know about you, but I often feel that at this point, everything has been done before. Thanks to the internet in the palm of each of our hands, we can even google it to prove it. We are living in an age of reboots, re-imaginings, and constant rethinking and so it has become almost natural to be a bit jaded when someone tells you they have something new to offer.

“Are you sure there isn’t anything out there like this? Did you check online?”

This is the initial response that local residents David and Valerie Collins have become accustomed to when they introduce their new product, the Sink Saddle. After a few long hard years of patent research and completing the process, they can assure you that there isn’t anything like it available on the market. Cleverly simple, the Sink Saddle provides handy storage for cleaning utensils like dish wands and scrub brushes. It holds dish wands upright so they can dry (which helps eliminate bacteria) and soap doesn’t escape down your drain. Pretty nifty, huh?

Like many great ideas, the Sink Saddle was born out out of frustration at a situation. “Over the last ten years, we have bought and thrown away countless dish wands because there is no where to put it. I don’t like putting it in a cup or if you lay it in the sink, all the soap runs out. It is just grimy,” says Valerie during our recent interview, “About three years ago, I was getting ready to throw yet another dish wand out and told Dave that it was the last one because we were going through a bottle of soap a week. He told me to hang on a minute and went out into the garage. He fiddled around and came back with a bent piece of wire. He hung it over the faucet and said, ‘What do you think about
that?’”

And on that day, folks, dish washing history was made by Dave’s stroke of genius (and love of an uncluttered sink and the woman getting ready to throw out his dish wand). “It was pretty cavemanish really,” says Dave with a chuckle, “The wire wasn’t coated and it was just a piece of copper wire, but it worked. During our move to this house a couple years ago, I couldn’t find my… we hadn’t named it… dish wand holder thing. I really missed it. In our house, she is the chef and I am the cleaner. I like my sink organized and not all cluttered. I found myself searching for it. After about a month or so, we found it and I had to admit that it was really a handy dandy thing to have.”

“I suggested to Valerie that we should really think about getting it patented and out on the market. We had never seen anything like it and believe me, we looked. We hunted online with all the big cleaning brands like 3M and Scotchbrite and went through countless magazines. There are tons of other stuff like elaborate caddies that fit over the center of your sink (which not every sink is a double sink), but we couldn’t find anything this simple and clean,” says Dave, “I decided to make a prototype. I got the right gauge of wire and the plastic dip and made a few of them. I fiddled around with the length of it and how deep it should be. We got it down to the dimensions it is now based on being as universal as possible for all sinks and faucets. I gave a few to family members and we started really talking about it. With a prototype in hand, it was time to begin the patent process. I went on the U.S. Patent website and looked everywhere for something like this. It took days and days.”

To which Valerie adds, “We contacted a patent company (United Patent Research) and started investing money into patent research. At that point, we started looking for investors. We have a total of three couples that own approximately 18% of the company and Dave and I own the rest. Months of research and paperwork later, we received the letter from the patent office that we are Patent Pending. Of course, it could take upwards of another twelve months to get the official patent.”

When it came to getting their product made, Valerie and Dave went local at every chance. Rondi Vinnedge of Vinnedge Signworks created the eye catching packaging design, but with a lack of local manufacturing facilities, the couple struggled to find a manufacturer. “It took us about eight months to find a manufacturer. We couldn’t find anybody who could do an all in one: make it, dip it, package it and ship it,” notes Dave, “One day, Valerie was on the phone with one of her colleagues with Frontier from Clearwater, Florida. It just so happens that the Home Shopping Network was just a couple of blocks away. She suggested Investors’ Launchpad and she put us in touch with Rick, our manufacturer. It has worked out phenomenally. We got our first 10,000 units a couple of weeks ago. The Sink Saddle is available on our website at sinksaddle.net as well as on Walmart.com. We have gotten great reviews from Walmart.com and the Home Shopping Network is very interested in the product as well. As a delivery driver for Lowe’s, I spend all day bringing appliances into homes and I look at people’s sinks. Everybody has some kind of clutter that this product can help alleviate.”

Within two years, this little gadget has gone from Dave’s dish wand holder thingy to the newest thing on Walmart.com. Wow. As I contemplated the massive market this product appeals to (We’ve all got dishes) and just the sheer possibilities, I couldn’t help but ask the couple when I could expect to see a Facebook posting of them on their Bond Villian Yacht. At which they both cracked up and Valerie replied, “We are simple people and I don’t  expect that we will be quitting our jobs any time soon. And we love it here. We moved here from Kingman three years ago when I applied for my current position at Frontier. As soon as we visited, we knew this is where we wanted to live.”

To which Dave adds with a laugh, “As much as I enjoy working for Lowe’s, I have to admit I’m looking forward to the day that the Sink Saddle is the only product I deliver and I won’t be getting beat up by the much bigger household appliances anymore.”

For more information about the Sink Saddle, please visit sinksaddle.net (for free shipping) or check it out on Walmart.com. You can also drop an email to valerie@sinksaddle.net or call (928)

537-9000.