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Engineering Entrepreneurs Podcast - Million Dollar Collar - Episode 51 - iTunes

Engineering Entrepreneurs Podcast - Million Dollar Collar - Episode 51 - iTunes

The Million Dollar Collar Invention- Rob Kessler - EP51 on  The Engineering Entrepreneur Podcast

Scott Tarsey: Hello everybody, welcome back to the Engineering Entrepreneur Podcast. This is episode 51, this is your host Scott Tarsey. I also run CAD- design help.com. Before we get started, please sign up for my email list on the website. When you sign up we will send you a free PDF of the top four mistakes inventors make. Also, if you enjoy these we ask for a review on iTunes.  Also on 3D print the future please check it out. We have three episodes, we show different inventors and talk about 3D printing and show how things get made.

Okay, so our guest this week is Rob Kessler. He's the inventor and co-founder of Million Dollar Collar which is a simple solution to fix the sinking, wrinkling, and folding of the placket which is the inside of the shirt where the buttons are of a casually worn dress shirt. So Rob thanks for coming on the show. The best place to start is let's get the story. Every inventor there was some problem. I'm sure there was a problem that you were having because that's where most people get their ideas. Let's here the story of how you started the process of this.

Rob Kessler: It really originated at my wedding. I've really never been a tie guy anyways so when I got married in Jamaica I knew I wasn't going to be wearing a tie. I had my pants rolled up, my feet in the sand. We wanted to have a real casual wedding because that's who we are. I had a brand new freshly pressed shirt. We're down in Jamaica, I woke out of my hotel room out to the beach waiting for my bride. Before she even got there my shirt was crumbling into a sloppy mess. There's a difference between casual and sloppy and it just drove me crazy. We had a photographer there, we were looking at pictures right away and I was really aggravated that the biggest day of my life my shirt just looked terrible. It just didn't represent who I was.

As soon as we came home from that wedding I literally found a cardboard box in the house I cut it open and cut it to fit. I cut open a dress shirt and I shoved the cardboard down into the placket which is the part of the shirt with the buttons and the holes. It's right down the front of the shirt, it's right in the middle, to me it's the focal part of the shirt. My new bride instantly saw what I've been complaining about for years. From that piece of cardboard I just went around the house and looked for every piece of plastic, I could find. I was cutting up milk cartons and mini blinds and flexible cutting boards and zip ties. Really anything I could find around the house to prove the concept and see it was the right start, the right area I was working on. I found pretty quickly that it was.

Scott: That's interesting because right off the bat... I watched your video and how you install it and how it works because I wanted to know it better before the call. That's pretty amazing to me that the basic concept of how the final product works, I think is what you created the very first time it sounds like?

Rob: To me, the front of the shirt, the placket is what is crumbling and folding. Every other solution that was out there was some kind of collar stay. Whether it was the magnetic collar stays or extendable color stays or whatever it was it was all focused on the collar. To me, that wasn't the problem. The collar had been fixed in the 1800s when collar stays were invented. I looked to go down to the part that was crumbling and looked sloppy. I took the idea of a collar stay and that's what I ended up with. The concept didn't change much, but the material, the testing, took 3 years to figure that out. That was definitely complicated

Scott: Yeah we're going to talk about those three years a lot but... the one question that I was going to ask before, the first thing I would do is Google it first and see if I can but something that exists instead of spending a lot of time to create something.  I'm assuming you did that and everything you found maybe you didn't purchase it and try it but you just looked at it and knew it wouldn't work for what the problem was for you, right?

Rob: Oh totally. I did tons of research. Obviously, the easiest thing is to buy something that is already out there. The more I dug, the more I realized it just wasn't out there. Nothing focused on the placket, everything was on the collar.

Scott: It's interesting that you have this product. There is this other guy, local guy, we're both a member of the same entrepreneur group. I don't know if you heard of this it's called the perky collar? It's more of a collar invention, yours sounds more of a placket invention but you call it the Million Dollar Collar.  Why did you call it the Million Dollar Collar since you said yourself it solves... a different problem.

Rob: Quite honestly, nobody knows what a placket is.

Scott: I didn't either, I didn't know before I Googled it. It was on your site I think.

Rob: It's literally maybe 5% of people know what a placket is. You have to be in that industry to know what it is.  We were going to call it perfect placket or something like that but not only do you have to explain the name you have to explain the product. With the idea of Million Dollar Collar, you want to look like a million dollars. That resonates right away and people still today even with my products still think I'm fixing the collar. It's a collar support, the reason the placket crumbles is that there's not enough reinforcement to hold up the weight of the collar.

Scott: I totally understand what you're saying.

Rob: That's why we went with Million Dollar Collar. It had a nice ring to it and it's something a little bit easier for people to connect with the problem.

Scott: Is it designed for both women and men? It seems like it's marketed towards men on your site.

Rob: We're really marketed towards men because at the end of the day 85-90% of dress shirts sold in the world are men's shirts. It does fit in women, we did a bunch in my wife's shirts and we have a lot of female clients. You have to kind of pick a target market and go after it.

Scott: Let's jump back into the development then. You told us in the very beginning you did the cardboard and then you were trying different materials. Where’d you go from there after you created your handmade prototype when you had your best version. What was your next step?

Rob: I went through all the plastics at my house and I went online and connected with a few plastics distributors and started ordering all their plastics. And I just tested shirt after shirt. I would wash it and dry it and that was fine and then I would send it to the dry cleaner and it was ruined. I have a pile of 100 shirts from different materials.

Scott: Because the plastic melted in the heat and ruined the shirt? The plastic sample they were sending you... I'm trying to imagine.  They're not going to have a mold made for your exact shape. So what were they sending you? A sheet of it and you would cut it out with scissors?

Rob: Yeah exactly. I didn't want anyone to know what I was doing. I'm looking at different millimeter thicknesses and different heat resistance. That was the thing, dry cleaning when they flash pressure shirt they hit 400 to 450 degrees. Any normal plastic on the market they're rated to 250 or 275 but 450 is way beyond that. I would just test and cross my fingers and hope that it would make it. It would end up melting to the shirt or fusing. It was one problem after another. I ended up partnering with a plastics company and then we developed what is now the material we use.

Scott: Did you ever consider that? I don't know how long ago this gave us the timeline? With 3D printing, all the patents ran out in 2009. Before that, it was tough to get 3D printing done. Only the two companies had the patents and it was expensive. After that, that was more of an option.

Rob: It never really dawned on me. I think just because the material is so thin I pretty much knew we would be die cutting this. I have sheets made and we die cut the design out. That really never crossed my mind to do 3D printing.

Scott: That's true. Since it's a constant cross-section die cutting or even like laser cutting it. It's probably faster to get like a 120 piece die and just stamp out 120 at a time. It's not a complicated enough of a shape really to justify that.  The material then is that like a proprietary material that was developed or is it something that was out there that is a higher temperature resistant?

Rob: No it's a proprietary blend. We worked really closely with a plastics company to get what we needed.  We needed to be thin, lightweight and rigid enough to hold up the weight of the collar. We were able to accomplish that through several different testing and combinations of materials. It's been pretty cool to have my own material and it's 100% made in America. It's been an interesting journey.

Scott: Than obviously temperature resistance up to 400 degrees?

Rob: 700° F. We want it to be way beyond. If you're trusting me with your $20 shirt your $200 shirt believe it or not there are $1000 shirts. I don't want to be the one to replace that. I wanted to make sure we were well beyond anything going wrong especially with the heat.

Scott: I want to go off on a slight tangent here because I'm really interested in this material. I am really surprised there's nothing out there, nothing that wasn't already proprietary that had these properties. I could see this material being used in a lot of other applications. I am assuming you own the patent or the formula to it?

Rob: Right.

Scott: Have you considered licensing that for other applications? There has to be a million things that could be used for.

Rob: Honestly my head is so into what I am doing and trying figure out that whole program. I haven't even considered. We're really focused on what we're doing and the one thing we're trying to figure out.

Scott: Okay. So did you fund this all yourself? Or did you make a partnership with the plastics company? I can imagine it was very expensive to develop this material. 

Rob: We were fortunate to pay for that as we went. I have a couple of investors. My father invested a little bit of money which was totally unsolicited which is a pretty good phone call to get. He was like, "I really like what you're doing with that could I buy in."

Scott: Not every father would be willing to do that.

Rob: Right. Then my business partner Steve, we've been in business together in other ventures. When I had my screen printing business him and I worked really closely together and we balanced each other out very well so that's how I ended up working with him on the project. He came in after I developed all the product and material itself. He helped build the company, the sales side. A lot of the social media you see, the graphic you see is all Steve's.

Scott: So basically you and Steve own the business then?

Rob: My Dad has 10% and Steve and I have the rest and of course my wife has half of what I have. 

Scott: When did you start this whole process I can't remember if you told me that?

Rob: This Sunday, in four days, is my 5 year wedding anniversary so about 5 years ago.

Scott: It took 3 years to develop of it. Was it mostly the material or how much in the changes of the shape did you do too? I am always interested in the CAD development. I'm sure there were CAD files made because you had to get the stamp made, you know that progression.

Rob: With all the material that would come in I would order... I had 10 or 15 shirts in my house so I would cut up different things. Sometimes I would use just a piece of cardboard or even a piece of paper just to use a template shape of what I wanted to see if it would fit from shirt to shirt to shirt. I would go cut that out on whatever material I was trying. I was doing both. I was testing shapes and material at the same time. I would think I would have a shape that would work, I'd try it on a shirt, I'd ruin that shirt and then maybe the next material that would come in I would tweak that design just a little bit. If I had all my time it wouldn't have taken 3 years. I would be the first to admit that. I was running my other company at the time. When I had a little bit of spare time that's when I would work on one of the designs or changing the materials or whatever testing what I was doing. I was trying to juggle.

Scott: I totally get that. That was your side hustle. I also think it's not a good idea to quit your full-time job until you have your side hustle up and running. Sounds like this is taking off now where this is what you're doing?

Rob: This is 100% of my time.  A little over two years ago my wife and I sold everything we had, including my screen printing business, our house, packed up our car and moved out to Los Angeles. To put ourselves in the right atmosphere with the right people. I have been at it full time since October 2015.

Scott: Awesome. So, the development of it did you do all testing yourself? Did you have other people? I would imagine you would want to get other peoples opinions and make sure it's not just what you thought worked but get a focus group together or something.

Rob: I did all the initial testing and my partner was my biggest ally and also my biggest critic. It took forever to convince him of what I was trying to do and trying to accomplish. I would get something close and one of the materials I thought I had figured out was a clear material but it wasn't heat resistant enough. So what would happen it would bake a little bit and ripple a bit. I would sit there and justify to myself oh this is okay it makes it look a bit more natural.  He'd come in and try it on and roll his eyes and give me the hardest time.

It was really between the two of us and maybe 10-15 really close friends that I would talk about and show them and give them samples and upgrade their shirts. I ruined plenty of my friend shirts as well. It was a pretty tight-knit group. I didn't want to expose too much. I definitely got opinions of what worked and what didn't. I thought I had a much shorter version that I liked. I thought I could save material and get more out with a shorter version but it ended up giving a 70's collar look. So, we extended it and it goes past that third button. That's why it's the length that it is.

Scott: I could see two versions. I could see some people wanting that look. You could have that as an alternative option. Hey, do you want the 70's look then get the version B?

Rob: Yeah, that's an option. Once the shirt is lying down it's laying. If you look at a Tommy Bahama shirt or something like that, that's that style and it just lays flat so it's not supporting the weight of the collar. It really hasn't been a concern. One of the areas we are looking to move into is polos and golf shirts because there are as many or more of those sold a year than dress shirts. Shortening up the stay that we have to fit into a polo shirt is the next step.

Scott: Let's talk about the launch of it then in the final production. So you say you're stamping them out. The plastic itself is produced in a flat sheet and you have a stamp machine that stamps out many per minute or per hour.  Did you do a Kickstarter or how did you launch it out? Just create a website or start telling people at trade shows? Just give us the story.

Rob: Throughout this entire process our company has pivoted three or four different times. Initially, we were going to make our own dress shirt around the technology and build the company around this technology. We had launched a Kickstarter, it was probably three years ago this summer now that we were going to sell our own shirt. We ended up raising about $16,000 of our $40,000 goal.

Scott: So you didn't hit it so you don't get to keep the money if you don't hit it? 

Rob: Right we didn't hit the goal and it was such a blessing in disguise. When you're going through it you're saying I have to hit it, this is what I want to do. Unequivocally, the feedback we got from everybody that was involved in that Kickstarter campaign said A why can't I upgrade shirts I already own, and B why are you trying to compete with the tens of thousands of dress shirts that are already out there. So we really took that feedback to heart. We appreciate everyone that gave us a shot and were willing to invest without even trying on a shirt or knowing the quality or any of that we were going to come out with it.

We took that and revamped and went and made what we call our aftermarket which we ended up moving on. The beauty now on is that $40,000 for the shirts was only two thousands shirts, two different colors, in two different cuts. It really wasn't that much inventory. That would take up most of up apartment right now. Today I can fit $20,000 worth of inventory in a shoe box. From a financial standpoint ...

Scott: It's so much more than that because you'd be limiting yourself so much. People are so particular in the brand of the shirt, the color, the fit. You can't possibly stock, it would be a nightmare to try to stock all the different versions to be available to the whole market. You'd be so limited but by making it work on any shirt it opens up the entire market. Literally, anyone with any shirt no matter how old or new whatever can get it. It's better to be open to that many more people.

Rob: Exactly, you know what shirts you like, that fit, you have longer arms or a shorter torso or whatever it is. People eventually get to a shirt that they love and that's the one that they're going to buy. Getting them to move off that is going to be very challenging. The aftermarket concept is the right way to go with that. Then that created a whole new set of problems. This thing needs to be sewn into the dress shirt, an alteration needs to be done. That adds the step to the process which is really challenging.

Scott: Yeah, when we started touching on this because I did see the video that you did. The first thing is to be clear and for my own knowledge, once you install it, it's there forever? There's no reason to ever take it out is there?

Rob:It's a permanently installed internal placket reinforcement.

Scott:  I see you're using installers, to me I'm a do it yourself guy. I watched that and I said this is super easy. I bought a $15 sewing machine off of craigslist a couple of years ago because I worked on a couple of own soft goods prototypes. It's a selfie glove, I thought it would be a big hit. Basically, it's a glove that holds your phone to the front or the back of your hand. I use it on my mountain bike all the time, when I'm running, I set the thing up on my arms because I couldn't see the songs. I was making prototypes using that. But even if I didn't have that I could have sewn that little thing by hand it was so easy. I'm guessing, from testing, people weren't willing to do it or too afraid to try? Is that when you came up with this installer program?

Rob:Most people aren't sewers, men or women for that matter, it's a dying art form. I have had a lot of guys that have reached back out and said, "Dude I bought a sewing machine this is so easy I don't know why anybody wouldn't do it."  I'm the same way if I can't afford to pay somebody, I have to figure out how to do it myself. I've remodeled my whole house and a commercial building. I've just learned how to do stuff. I'm the same way.

We're building this installers network to make it a one-stop shopping experience. Honestly, our first four or five thousand customers we literally would send them product... we had no installer network, we had no map, every order comes with the 3 step instructions and sometimes people would go to 3, 4, 5 dry cleaners before someone would even attempt it. We slowly built this network up and now there are over 600 locations on our map in the US as of the last couple of days. It's shifting and our focus is moving towards just going right for those dry cleaners, those installers and having them offer to their customers so it's a one-stop shop. Yeah, it was a real challenge.

Scott: It's a really good distribution channel in my opinion because first of all people are going there already, you could set up some point of sale material that shows how it works. Give all that to the dry cleaner and give him the first 20 or 30 samples for free just to get it in there and once people start seeing it they're like oh this makes sense. They are going to want to rebuy from you or buy the first time because they can make a cut too or charge for the small amount of work it is to put it in there. It's a win-win for you and the dry cleaner. That's way more people knowing about it and then you have that distribution channel too. They're going to buy directly from you. The dry cleaners are going to buy from you to sell to their customers.

Rob: Yeah exactly. Ten million shirts a day go through dry cleaners in North America. 10,000,000 shirts. So, if somebody is willing to pay as much or more for cleaning a shirt then they did for buying it than they're our customer. So, working with the dry cleaners has always been my focus on where to take this.

Scott: Locally you can drive around and go to them and you can go to them and that's fine. But how do you get it so you can blow this thing up and do it in the whole country and get every dry cleaner? How could you contact somebody do you just call them up or send them an email? You could use google maps in my area, Charlotte and find 100 places that do dry cleaning. How do you reach out or make that connection and how successful have you been at doing that?

Rob: So, a couple of things. One we are in the largest distributor of dry cleaning and tailoring products in North America.  So, we got picked up by them very early on in this process through an article that was in our hometown paper and they're in New York so I don't know how they found us in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. That was a huge win. That gave us access and we started doing flyers within their shipments to their customers. We followed that up with doing dry cleaning trade shows. We went to the biggest one which is clean show in July of last year. Our little 10 X 10, the smallest cheapest booth we could get was overflowed for four days. Dickies had a double booth down the aisle from us and they came over more than once and were like what are you guys doing? Why do you have so many people over here? That's how we got to a lot of great cleaners and now we're doing a lot of advertising in industry-specific dry clean magazine and trade magazines. We're doing smaller regional shows. Getting in front of people is a little bit more expensive way to go but we're getting in front of them. We're on the phone all day long. We talk to 10 to 15 dry cleaners a day.

Scott: So that's your focus. You're not even trying to go after the individual people as much anymore. Maybe leave your Google Adwords or your website for that. Really go after the dry cleaners is the way to really do it?

Rob: Exactly. That's where we're shifting our focus. In the first two years, we sold 130,000 sets to people in 90 countries through our website. The very, very hard way. You buy from our website, we mail you the product, you have to go find a place to get it installed. Our focus in the last 6 months has shifted to the dry cleaners and now it's really picking up steam so the end user may buy from our website if they don't have an installer in their area but the shift is to get it into as many dry cleaners as we can.

Scott: Have you also thought about maybe some brands, Polo Ralph Lauren or someone selling it with the shirts because they are already buying that brand. You get the network set up now to the point where people they can just follow some easy instructions. The dry cleaner... all they have to do is top on their way home for 5 minutes for the dry cleaner to do it for them. That's just another channel have you thought about that?

Rob: Oh absolutely, ironically when my wife and I were moving to LA we took ten days to drive cross country because we wanted to just enjoy the trip. On that drive, we got the word that our patent was approved. January my partner and I flew to New York and had meetings with all the big brands. Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Perry Ellis.

Scott: That's going to be tough to do?

Rob: My partner is an outsides sales guy he knows how to work his way in and he did excellently.

Scott: That's impressive.

Rob: The problem at this stage right now with them is they can make a shirt for so little that my product for me to make even a little bit of money would add too much cost to the bottom line so we're trying to... We stepped back from that approach...

Scott: Not to interrupt but that would be installing it in the process?

Rob: At manufacturing that would be in. We have customers that say no no I wish I could just buy a shirt with it in.  Trust me, me too. We just wanted to focus on the end user for the first two years. We wanted to build and prove that what we had was something that people want.  Now that we got that the focus on the dry cleaners now we move even more product. I think eventually those brands will come calling. It's just such a long sales cycle too. If I talk to them right now they are 18 months out from when that product would actually hit shelves.

Scott: And to let people now out there because I have a lot of background and experience in manufacturing. What I'm guessing, they have all of these machines, the shirt has been the same for 50 to 100 years. A dress shirt is a dress shirt, right? 50 years ago they set up these factories to make it exactly the same way every step is ironed out and it's always the same. So, adding one more step I don't think really increases the cost in the long run but in the short run, it's a major obstacle. Everyone is so used to the same process, the machines are all designed step 1 through 10  to do it a certain way. Now you have to add a machine in between step 7 and 8. I think if you were starting from square 1 that wouldn't be a big deal but I think because you're interrupting what's been the same for so long that's there real concern, the cost. It's going to be that hurdle of getting over this one extra step. Eventually, the efficiencies will increase but they're just worried about that. Is that a valid assumption?

Rob: It isn't really because so when they make the shirt they made it the same for 100 years. So they sew the whole body of the shirt and the collar band goes on with the collar last. So, what they would do is slide this into the placket and then sew the collar band on like they normally would. As far as the step goes it's not that big a deal. We talked to Macy's, we passed all their inspections, we passed all their testing. Getting it to production is not the problem. It's for me to sell them the product at even pennies would add so much to their bottom line that they're not willing to do it. They're not willing to add 10% cost for the product at this point.

Scott: Are they really producing shirts for 10 cents in total.

Rob: No, not 10 cents in total but if I try to get 20 cents which I'm not making any money at that's adding cost to the manufacturing.

Scott:I did not think that they were producing the stuff that cheap. I thought it would be $5 or $10  to make a shirt but it's got to be lower then that if they're worried about a quarter. It's got to be a 30% increase or something because the benefits are truly there. I think if a brand had it exclusive I could see them being able to charge more for it personally. Maybe they don't see it that way.

Rob: Yeah, you have the standard version and then you have the Million Dollar Collar version. The thing is they don't have to recreate anything. That was one of the beauties of doing the Kickstarter. We made pre-production samples so I know what it takes to make a shirt with Million Dollar Collar in them.  I know it's barely an extra step to do so production wise there is really no difference. As you said, it's a matter of getting there head around the fact that 90% of people will barely if ever wear a tie with their dress shirt. I have the only product on the market that is for 90% of the market and they still are leaning on neckties which are 10% of the market.

Scott: Nobody wears neckties anymore. I haven't worn one in forever. The thing is I get the cost increase and worrying about it. But they have to understand they can charge more, like a substantial bit more than a shirt that doesn't have it. It's a clear advantage and if people understand it when they buy it, it's a no-brainer. I guess they don't think that will be the case, right?

Rob:Which is why we focus so hard on getting as many consumers to purchase the product as possible. So we have those numbers to go back. When we had those meetings we literally had..... We were in months one or month two of sales. So it was all speculation. Now that we have those numbers we're going back and trying to reopen those conversations and push on, lean on that a little bit. This is where the market is going.

Scott: Yeah I get what you're saying. When you had the first meetings you didn't have that sales data in the proof but now you do. So getting those meetings again is an important thing. We're getting close on that half hour mark I do want to ask about the patent. You do have some suggestive questions from the website. How expensive is it?  I know a lot of this knowledge but maybe my audience doesn't. Tell us about the patent process in just a minute or two. How long it took and how expensive it was?

Rob: The patent was 2 1/2 years, it is insanely expensive. It was 4 times more expensive then our patent attorney thought it would be. The challenge with getting a patent is if your patent attorney is working for you he is going write the patent to cover as much as possible. The patent office wants it to cover as little as possible so it's this battle back and forth, of I want this much and you want this much. So we paid to expedite which I think was $3500. Which means they respond in 6 weeks instead of 6 months.  I think we went back and forth 4 times with getting the patent. It is just crazy.

Scott: For the audience what he's talking about this is all true. Every time for most patent agents or attorney's everytime they write a letter it's a charge to you even when it comes back from the patent office. That's called an office action.  The office will review it, that's the office action they're going to say. Let's say he has 10 claims on the Million Dollar Collar, claims are fighting with them and you're incurring more costs. A lot of inventors do is cut their losses or go with whatever... Instead of getting one more claim on it. They'll just take what they can get after 3 or 4 more office actions because it's dragging it out and the cost is getting higher and you may never convince them at the end of the day.

Rob: Once you have the patent pending you can start rolling. When you get patent pending that means you're in the ballpark.

Scott: Right, at least one claim is already been allowed.

Rob: If you go and look at Silk Milk it says patent pending on that box. They're a couple of hundred million or a billion dollar company and they were patent pending until very recently. So, once you get that patent pending at least you have some protections. My advice on the patent side I didn't want to go cheap. I didn't want to go through this entire process and find out the guy that I hired didn't really know what he was doing, missed a major thing and then someone can come in the back door into my patent. My guy was $540 an hour and gave himself a $20 an hour raise during the process. That just meant every month there was at least a $1000 bill coming in. Every single month for 2 1/2 years I had at least a $1000 bill and I still get bills now because there's the ongoing once you have the patent.

Scott: Yeah you have to pay maintenance fees.

Rob: And we expanded to worldwide and so you're paying fees on top of all that. It's insanity so you definitely have to be all in if you're going to go that route.

Scott: Have you had any issues with infringement and having to sue people and take them to court?

Rob:Not yet, we haven't had any issues yet. Getting the patent we ran across a guy that was trying to say we were infringing. It cost me $1500 to get my attorney to tell him to just go away because he really didn't have anything to really claim. You get someone in there that finds out about your patent and starts pushing and runs your bills up even more. It's just a dirty, dirty game.

Scott: He probably didn't have any true claims but he was trying to run up a bill on you. I've seen it happen many, many times. You have some funny questions on your thing I wanted to ask you. Why do you hate ties so much?

Rob: I actually worked in the car business because I love cars. I love being in sales, helping them get into whatever product they want to buy but I hated putting that tie on. Every guy I looked at, every sales guy around that dealership. You just look like a knucklehead. You're putting this tie on to try to have an authority and it's not giving you any authority. Over the years it's really lost the stamina that it used to have.

Scott: Engineers back in the seventies they did but not for a long time. Me personally I went to a private school for middle school and high school and I had to wear a tie every day and I'm way over that. I felt like I was being choked too. Maybe it was way too tight or something but I never liked it. I'm with you there.

Okay, Rob I really enjoyed the conversation any last minute advice for inventors out there or anyone wanting to become an entrepreneur?

Rob: Commitment is the biggest thing. I deal with it for the last 3 years of really being at this full time it's just days you want to give up and throw in the towel and just bury your head in a pillow and go to bed. You just have to persevere through that. Know why you're doing it and remember why you started doing what you're doing and it's all worth it in the end. I love being an entrepreneur. This is my second company but I also had real estate that I started from nothing and grew that pretty well. That's like having your own business. I love it, the patent process and coming out with your own product just make sure you can do as much of your own research ahead of time before you start hiring people out and don't cut any corners. At the end of the day, it costs you a lot more in the end if you try to cut a corner, in the beginning, making your way.

Scott: If people want to contact you what's the best way?

Rob:Shoot me an email I'm happy to talk to anybody about business. I'm at rob@milliondollarcollar.com. You can find me at LinkedIn. I'm an open book, I'm happy to help anybody who is willing to put in the time and the effort.

Scott: Rob thanks so much, hope to keep in touch and we'll catch everyone next time on the Engineering Entrepreneur Podcast.

Rob: Thanks, Scott.


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